I don’t do this often, but this article raises some points I feel compelled to comment on.
The Democrats’ Rightward Tilt on the Economy Hurt Them
After for decades supporting trade policies that gave the middle finger to the working class, increasing numbers of the working class decided to give a middle finger to the Democrats:
Union leaders in Ohio and elsewhere watched in frustration during the 2016 election as significant portions of their workforce ignored union endorsements of Democrat Hillary Clinton and voted for Trump instead. Jack Hefner, president of United Steelworkers Local 2 in Akron, estimated around a third of his membership voted for Trump despite the leadership’s support for Clinton.
“Labor’s been beating the drum that these trade deals are bad, so here comes Trump saying the same thing, which made it really hard for us,” Hefner said. “He stole our playbook.”
Given how close the election was, the conclusion is therefore even more damning: The Democrats’ rightward tilt probably cost them the election.
Trump’s Tariffs are a Disaster
That’s because Trump overall is a disaster. He has no real concept of empathy, no ability to put himself in another’s shoes. It’s all about his ego, all the time.
That makes him highly likely to do things, particularly delicate ones, in ways that merely serve to needlessly provoke and inflame others. Things like rapid changes in trade policies that will serve to provoke harmful trade wars.
Prior Administrations’ Free Trade Policies Are Not Much Better
None of the above is to say that Free Trade has been good for society overall. It clearly has not. The rich have gotten richer, while those on the bottom have seen their incomes stagnate or backslide. This has been the case during administrations run by both parties.
A retreat from free trade was needed, but not the one that Trump is giving us. The most likely outcome of what we’re getting is a trade war that will do far more harm than good.
Trade wars are a bad thing and very easy to lose. In fact, the most common outcome of a trade war is for all sides to end up worse off than if there had been no trade war at all.