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.

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