Let me finish with this trade battle.
You’d have gotten the idea, listening to the talk on television, that Democrats are against trade – that their thinking and attitudes are strictly in line with Bernie Sanders or Sherrod Brown. You’d have gotten the idea that shutting down the border and making and selling stuff to ourselves would have been a better way to go since the days of President Kennedy.
I’ll give you an example of a country that lives and operates like that: Cuba!!!
The fact is, the Democratic voters of this country – the voters, not the people who act on television like they speak for voters – are far more inclined to back free trade with the rest of the world. 43% say trade has “helped” the United States; 26% say it has hurt us.
The great irony – again, if you’ve been listening to the debate on TV – is that the Republicans are big boosters of free trade. Again, the fact runs counter. 33% of Republicans say free trade has “helped” the United States; 36% say it has hurt.
Perhaps this explains the relative quiet of so many on the usually vocal right to push the President’s trade policy.
In any case, today the U.S. Senate voted to move forward with the trade debate, with more than a dozen Democrats voting with the majority. We will see how it goes.
The reality, we’ve learned, is that there are pluses and minuses to the U.S. joining the world in trade. That means we have to look at the trade deal as it emerges, have to judge it, have to debate it, and respect the other side of the argument, and avoid the bullying and intimidation that kills honest and open discussion.
We must stop pretending that progressives are anti-trade because the hard evidence is that they are not.