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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 6/1/19

If Democrats Want to Beat Trump, They Better Not Nominate a "Free Trade" Candidate

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From Common Dreams

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If the Democrats promote pro-corporate trade policies in 2020, get ready for four more years of Donald Trump gloating at us all from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden
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"[Americans'] patriotism would certainly prefer its [tariffs'] continuance and application to the great purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper to add to the constitutional enumeration of federal powers." President Thomas Jefferson, 1806 State of the Union message to Congress

How could Democrats guarantee a second Trump term? Come out in favor of so-called "free trade."

When Walter Mondale was nominated by the Democratic Party to take on Ronald Reagan in 1984, he uttered, in his acceptance speech, a single line that did more than anything else that year to lose him the election.

He said, "Mr. Reagan will raise taxes and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did."

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The Republicans turned it into a campaign ad, and it played over and again, dragging Mondale so far down that he lost every state in the country except his home state of Minnesota.

What Mondale said was true, and Reagan did raise taxes on working people -- eleven times -- but that was still the moment when Mondale signed his own political death warrant. Americans had been bitten badly in the previous decade by inflation and the Reagan Recession, and were in no mood to give more of their hard-earned money to the government or anybody else.

In 2020, trade will be as potent an issue as taxes were in 1984.

This election cycle, it's starting to look like Democrats are about to make the same mistake of not defending the paychecks of working people. Only this time, the Democratic quote will be, "Trump won't succeed in bringing home your jobs, but neither will I because I support all of the trade agreements that took your jobs in the first place."

Instead, the Democratic Party must return to its pre-1992 progressive/protectionist/union roots and steal this issue right out of Trump's mouth, saying that he's not protecting American workers' jobs well enough or fast enough. They should run hard in 2020 on the Progressive Caucus's long-held position that we use protectionist policies, including tariffs, to end our trade deficits and bring back home our jobs.

The disastrous trade deficits we've been running since the Reagan era are damaging to the future of America for a variety of reasons, from national security to where the profits from American companies end up, to the flattening of American working wages and benefits.

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Trump pointed this out in 2016, and, as Egberto Willies points out at DailyKos, it's a large part of why he's in the White House right now.

This was not how the founders intended it. And it's not how working Americans want it.

Yes, tariffs will initially raise the price of foreign-manufactured goods. And that will make it viable for American manufacturers to start up new factories. As more manufacturing jobs come to the United States, wages will rise. American workers know this.

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Thom Hartmann Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)
 
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5 people are discussing this page, with 7 comments


Dennis Kaiser

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I'm beginning to think the Democrat leaders do not want to beat Trump. It's much easier for them to simply sit back, collect their bribes from Wall Street, the Oil industry, the MIC, the insurance industry, et.al. and point fingers and criticize than it would be to produce something of value to our nation and its citizens.

Submitted on Saturday, Jun 1, 2019 at 11:56:42 PM

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Brenda Schouten-Beckett

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Reply to Dennis Kaiser:   New Content

Yes, everything you said plus the demonstration of the complete lack of integrity in the DNC in 2016 already ensured a second term for Orange Mussolini.

Submitted on Sunday, Jun 2, 2019 at 1:14:46 PM

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CK Coney

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My steelworker father was so upset about job loss that he got conned somehow into voting for union-buster Raygun. And my parents had been lifelong Dems. Go figure! I say..."Fair trade or NO trade!" Is there a bumpersticker or button for that?

Submitted on Sunday, Jun 2, 2019 at 5:13:52 PM

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shad williams

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This is a waste of our time. How long must we belly ache about how poorly we are mistreated by the ruling class, their government and all of its moving tentacles? How long must we complain that they are actually killing us, infecting our food, infusing it with chemicals, killing the environment, spilling industrial waste every 7 seconds, secretly polluting our air on weekendnights, keeping themselves out of our focus while we blindly sign on to republican and democratic division and voting bullshit? We cannot win playing their game. We need a new game. It could be called taking out the trash.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 3, 2019 at 1:22:47 PM

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Maxwell

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One thing the Democrats should be howling about incessantly, if they want to win, is that due to the "national security" loophole Trump is essentially levying a tax on Americans by fiat instead of through the legislature. Imagine if Obama had tried to do that. The GOP would have demanded his impeachment immediately.

Of course Trump is only too happy to let his low information voters believe tariffs are paid by the country against whom they are imposed but the fact remain that regardless of who ultimately bears the cost, the importer of foreign goods into the US pays them up front.

The economics of international trade is more complicated than a simple model like free trade takes away American jobs. An honest politician would explain the up side and down side of various policy proposals. But when was the last time anyone saw one of those? One of the down sides of more restrictive trade policies that nobody talks about is less cheap crap from China to buy with your higher paying job. We of a progressive bent may laud not subsidizing lousy working conditions and environmental policies in other countries, but if Joe Sixpack understood he will ultimately end up paying more for manufactured goods he may have second thoughts.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 3, 2019 at 2:22:28 PM

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CK Coney

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okay...let's not use slurs like "Joe Sixpack". I am a progressive and quite radical and I like beer. Especially Mexican beer...stock up before June 10!

As for American shopping habits, any progressive who prefers Walmart is colluding with a corporate enemy. Check their labels and I challenge you to find American made goods. I will not go there for anything. And when I do need to buy stuff I check the labels. Recently bought planters at Home Depot with "Made in USA" stamped on the bottom. (I guess the Chinese could be stamping things that way, but I want to believe. Now, MAGA hats, those are still made in China. Good old 45...making China great again and again!)

.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 3, 2019 at 5:57:06 PM

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Maxwell

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Reply to CK Coney:   New Content

Yeah, sorry about that. The only reason I used it is that I recently read it right here on OEN somewhere. Should've gone straight for the MAGAite slur.

I prefer Guinness myself but that will go through upheaval for other reasons, after they have their hard Brexit. I will be stocking up on Tequila.

By shopping at Walmart one is subsidizing crappy working conditions not only abroad but here at home too. Home Depot often buys names from companies like Anderson windows to slap on items of dubious manufacture. But I don't think they could get away with labeling something made in USA if it weren't.

No need to make China great again, they will rule the world, sooner than later.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 3, 2019 at 6:47:31 PM

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