WASHINGTON – As vulgar and repulsive as he is, businessman Donald Trump has successfully hit on an issue that has helped capture the attention and support of the middle class, voters who are predominantly white and male. It’s known as foreign trade.
The steady loss of American manufacturing jobs and the shipping of factories to Mexico and the Far East is a problem the political establishments, meaning both major parties, and some major national media establishments have kept buried under the radar on behalf of Wall Street.
The print segment of this group includes the Washington Post, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among the last remaining national print media.
The last presidential candidate who made loss of manufacturing jobs the prime issue was Texan Ross Perot in 1992. Because of campaign flubs and indecision, he failed to win any electoral college votes but still captured more than 19 million popular votes, and helped elect Bill Clinton president.
Trump, all through his campaign, has loudly denounced the Clinton era’s massive trade deals.
“China, Japan and Mexico have stolen our jobs,” he declared.
But CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the rest of the globalist media downplayed the manufacturing issue until the last two weeks, when the nomination of Trump at the Republican convention appeared inevitable.
Now, a new narrative about Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton has unfolded. Democratic lobbyist Paul Begala blurted it out at the end of an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Clinton, Begala claimed, “was against NAFTA.” Unchallenged by Blitzer, Begala said it just before last Tuesday’s primaries, which Clinton swept.
NAFTA, the free-trade deal with Mexico and Canada, was enacted in 1993 with the dedicated support of President Clinton, a segment of pliant congressional Democrats and the Republicans.
This columnist covered the whole NAFTA debate and never heard a peep out of the president’s wife. At the time, she was overwhelmed with trying to pass a health care bill, not trade legislation.
With a group of congressional Republicans and Democrats in tow, President Clinton then brought us into the World Trade Organization, and in 2000 dropped most import taxes against China and other Far East nations.
As it happens, the president, his wife and his daughter created a post-presidential career out of building globalist relationships.
Now, with his own White House days ending, President Obama wants to pass the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. Why?
Trump calls it “insanity.” The labor movement, some Democrats, including Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York and Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo, and even Republican Rep. Chris Collins of Clarence are opposed to the TPP.
Once hopeful that the treaty would be the “gold standard” of trade deals, Clinton flipped and announced she has deep reservations about it. This came long after Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Clinton’s Democratic primary rival, blasted the TPP.
Dutifully, Obama’s Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, formerly of Amherst, appeared on CNN on Friday to praise the remarkable “grit and determination of the American worker.” (Where have we heard that before?) Essentially, Perez downplayed the notion that America is losing factory jobs as a result of trade deals.
Perez cited SolarCity, under construction in Buffalo, as an example of the manufacturing “renaissance” underway because of Obama’s policies.
Meanwhile, that “great sucking sound” from Mexico that Perot spoke of 24 years ago continues unabated. Carrier air conditioning is moving there, along with a factory making Oreo cookies. Add those moves to the steady exodus of automobile and high-tech companies to south of the border.