Trump is Right On One Thing...It's the Trade Stupid!

After one month on the campaign trail - Donald Trump is still leading the Republican field according to recent polls.

The media has spent most of the last month fanning the flames around Trump’s inflammatory statements about immigration. And this weekend he conquered the headlines by saying that he likes “people who weren’t captured” while talking about John McCain’s service record.

What the media is missing - but the American middle class is hearing loud and clear - is Trump’s message on trade.

The fact that Trump is leading the Republican field shouldn’t come as a surprise; at least not to any one old enough to recall Ross Perot’s run for president in 1992.

Ross Perot is a billionaire who ran a campaign on the idea that his savvy in business would give him the necessary chops to run the country and to grow the economy. Sound familiar?

It should. Because it’s the Donald’s MO too. And that’s no laughing matter. Ross Perot won 20% of the vote in the 1992 election by running as a single-issue third party candidate.

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that Trump, an outsider billionaire with no political experience and a campaign based more on insults than policy, is leading the Republican polls.

It’s not just name recognition. And it’s not just novelty. It’s the fact that he’s talking about TRADE. He calls our leaders “stupid,” and our trade policies “insane.” And his message rings loud and clear.

At least to anyone who lived through the last 35 years of disastrous so-called “free trade” policies carried out by Reagan, Clinton, two generations of Bushes, and Barack Obama.

To give you an idea of how damaging our trade policies have been: Senator Bernie Sanders talks about the fact that our trade policies have contributed to the loss of more than 60,000 American factories over just the last FIFTEEN years.

Before Reagan took office, we were the world’s largest importer of raw materials and the world’s largest exporter of finished, manufactured goods.

We were the world’s largest creditor, and through the Export-Import Bank we even managed to loan money to other countries so that they could afford to buy our American made goods.

We were running a trade surplus. And we had been running one for most of the 200 years prior, dating back to George Washington’s presidency. And then Reagan took office and led America into an era of fevered “free-trade.” One that continued through the next five administrations through to today.

We signed onto the World Trade Organization. We negotiated NAFTA and CAFTA, and opened up Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. And now Obama is continuing the trend with the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

And the thing is, the effects of these deals aren’t subtle.

When we lose 60,000 factories over 15 years - those are 60,000 factories that communities are based around and where people work. Those are factories that provide communities with a sense of stability and workers with a sense of pride. And when those factories leave, families struggle to make ends meet and communities shatter.

Americans know that those factories didn’t close because the corporations were bankrupt. They closed because it was suddenly cheaper to move overseas thanks to our insane trade policies.

Most of the candidates won’t acknowledge this because they might lose their corporate backers. And the media won’t cover it on their own. Because the media companies and their advertisers are making out like bandits on these corporate-friendly trade deals, particularly TV networks associated with movie companies who want worldwide copyright protection for their monopolies.

Which why you’ve heard more about Trump’s anti-immigrant positions and his disrespect towards John McCain than you have about his rants on trade.

It even seems like Trump's non-racist supporters see the issue of immigration as an issue of American jobs, more than anything else.

According to ThinkProgress - one Iowa supporter explained his unwavering support for Trump: “Where I come from, the area, we have a lot of illegals […] They work on a lot of hog farms. So I’ve got my feelings there. I don’t think he’s that completely off-key.”

So even when it’s about immigrants, for many of Trump’s supporters, it’s about jobs.

Another supporter explained: “The country is so far in debt, we’re losing so many jobs to foreign countries. I just think we need a businessman to run the country like a business.”

Time for a businessman to run the country like a business? That sounds like Perot’s platform in 1992 - and the message still resonates. Because Americans know: “It’s the Trade, Stupid!”

So even though the media won’t cover it, the polls are showing something very clear. In both primaries, the only candidates who have called out America’s failed trade policies are surging in the polls and turning out huge numbers at the rallies.

Average middle class Americans want a president who will end the 40-year era of insane so-called "free-trade" deals. Americans want a president who will bring our jobs back home, who will work towards eliminating our $19 billion trade deficit, and who will finally begin to restore the American middle class. And we're right to want it.


mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 45 weeks ago

I'm paying attention to test Thom's hypothesis about Trump being there to set the election up for Walker. So far, I've heard Trump attack Perry, Graham and Bush, but no one else. However, he really only needs to attack those nominees above Walker in the polls for Thom to be right. Currently, only Trump himself and Bush are ahead, but Perry and Graham are so low that it doesn't make any sense for Trump to attack them even as a diversion. It would make more sense to hit Rubio and Paul, just in case they find a way to rise in the polls.

cccccttttt 7 years 45 weeks ago

Hope Bernie and Trump make it to the finals.

Refresing to hear some honest talk rather than the

focus group filtered xxxx we must usually endure.


RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 7 years 45 weeks ago

The same trade policies that displaced countless farmers and other workers from various professions in Mexico, Central, and South America forcing them to cross our borders to seek virtual slave labor employment in this country just to survive. Many Americans are facing this same problem but where do displaced American workers go when your country is at the top of the economic ladder on this continent ? Yet Trump joins with other Right Wingers in a call to close the borders thus slamming the door in our Southern Neighbor's faces ! Apparently many on the Right in this country are still in full denial of the depth that our reputation has sunk to on the world stage ! When you find yourself in a hole, the rational action would be to stop digging !

Willie W's picture
Willie W 7 years 45 weeks ago

Didn't like Trump last time around, but I like him this time. The Republican candidates are trying to demonize him by focusing on one questionable or off color remark he said, trying to disqualify all the other truths he brought up that they don't like hearing. Trump is like a political whistle blower and no one can touch him. It's funny to watch them try.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 45 weeks ago

I guess we have further proof that there is no such thing as a free lunch - Free-Trade is costing us a lot...way too much.

liz banker 7 years 45 weeks ago

Hope "The Donald" wins the Republican nomination.

Now imagine, the coronation of Hillary, since even self-proclaimed Progressives have given up (or will by Febrary 2016) before the Democrats have had a chance to their six debates. Who knows if Hillary will attend ALL six if not more, debates. Maybe she will skip out on them like she did the 2014 and 2015 Netroot Conferences. Why aren't those so-called Progressives pressuring her on her absence there, like they were on her vague position over the Trans-Pacific Partnership????

First it was MSNBC and now without shame or apologizing, the New York Times is in the tank and WANTS that coronation of Hillary Clinton. At least the New York Times seems to think they have excuses for being her "cheer-leader" since she was their Senator and currently lives there -- what ever happened to objective journalism and substance????

What's MSNBC's b.s. excuse?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 45 weeks ago

Mathboy -- Maybe the only directive given to the Trump is do not pick on Walker. Since his head political advisor is from the Koch camp, it seems it would make sense.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 45 weeks ago

liz B -- Bernie wants public financing. That move would take several billion from the networks. Does MSNBC need any other reason?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 45 weeks ago

Trump can bloviate all he wants, even if it fractionally makes sense, to Fox news viewers that is.....doesn't matter, he still can't be trusted beyond the self-serving, egomaniac, ugly american that he is. Banksters have loaned him multi millions, BFD.....still doesn't make him qualified to lead anybody but his sorry self.

Senator Sanders on the other hand has a proven track record, can be trusted, and is anything but self- serving....we're lucky to have such a statesman constantly working for economic and social justice for all.

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 7 years 45 weeks ago

No one younger than I am wants to believe me when I say that Ronald Reagan WRECKED California's economy when he was governor. He was terrible then, and even worse when he was President. Those who want to bow to the memory of him are smoking something (or just IGNORANT!) I've never been able to buy... stupidity.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 45 weeks ago

Donald Trump is right about trade. Good for him! I mean that sincerely; I never would have guessed his position on trade.

That said, Trump’s elevation in the polls is as clear a symptom as any to highlight the level of triteness we have reached, as a nation and as a culture.

This guy is nothing but a blow-dried, cartoonish caricature of privilege and entitlement; a narcissistic, pompous, bigoted, spoiled brat whose greatest accomplishment in life is the millions of dollars he inherited from his daddy. His followers are mental midgets, caught up in the mass hypnosis of corporate media. All are just chompin’ at the bit to cast their votes for Donald Trump, the real estate magnate who made it big on Daddy’s money, who’s never so much as served on a school board! Swell. Just who we need to be picking the next three or four Supreme Court justices!!

How about Donald Duck for president! Or better yet, Bozo the Clown!!

Fucking pathetic. If this wasn’t so damn scary, I’d be rolling on the floor laughing.

I often think that if I had the money, I’d get the hell out of this shit hole. But I don’t. Therefore I’m stuck here, in the United Mistake of America. All my hopes are on Bernie, because he’s the only real statesman out there running for president. He’s the ONLY candidate who won’t take money from the fossil fuel oilgarchs to fund his campaign. He’s the only candidate with the balls to call out the obstructionists, the bullies, the robber barons and assorted douchebags occupying most seats in Congress these days. And if we manage to get Bernie elected, we’d better vote those toxic clowns out so that he’ll have a Congress he can work with; otherwise we’re just wasting our time, and his.

If Bernie doesn’t win this election, I fear for my sanity. And that’s no joke.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 45 weeks ago

AIW -- If you didn't lose your sanity during the dubya reign, your sanity should be ready for anything.

Anyone can say our trade policies are bad. I want the details of the replacement plan. Bernie is the only one that has provided an action plan i.e.. get out of all the trade agreements. I hope Bernie latches onto the Buffet trade plan (cap and trade for trade; i.e.. imports must equal exports).

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 45 weeks ago

Right on, Chuck. Bernie's the man with the plan.

Dubya's reign was pretty crazy-making. I think Scott Walker would be even worse, if a worse presidency is even possible. But like ole Ma used to say: "There's always a bottom below!"

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