How Donald Trump Could Defeat Hillary Clinton…

Back in February, workers at a Carrier manufacturing plant in Indianapolis were told that the factory, and their 1,400 jobs, were being moved to Mexico.

That story was front-and-center ahead of today's Indiana primary, and it shows how trade has become the big issue of the 2016 election.

On the left, Bernie Sanders took home two of his biggest wins in hard-hit rust belt regions like Michigan and Wisconsin by running on a platform that opposes the Transpacific Partnership and rightly points out that NAFTA, CAFTA, and Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China have helped destroy the middle class.

On the other side, Donald Trump has bucked the GOP party line on corporate managed trade deals and won over the blue-collar Republican base.

And like Sanders, Trump has brought in huge numbers of first-time voters and independents on a platform that is almost entirely focused on jobs and trade (even his racist immigrant language has a "jobs" subtext: "They're taking your jobs.").

His opponents have pointed to his stances on Planned Parenthood and transgender bathrooms as proof that Trump is too liberal to lead the Republican party, but he still continues to build support both from within the Republican party and from independents based on his trade/jobs stance.

If someone had told you a year ago that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee, you probably would have thought it was some kind of bad joke.

It seemed much more likely that the nominee would be Jeb Bush or Koch Brother-darling Scott Walker - even Ted Cruz seemed likely based on the fact that he could readily capture the evangelical voting block.

Those candidates made sense because they could use the Republican time-tested formula of mixing fear about terrorists and welfare queens with fervent lip-service to God and the Bible.

But Donald Trump has a new and improved formula to drive voters to the polls.

Trump has pretty much embarrassed himself every time he's tried to pander to evangelicals, from quoting "Two Corinthians" at Liberty University to saying off the cuff that women should be punished for seeking abortions.

But compared to the viral sound-bite slogans that his supporters can shout, like "BUILD THAT WALL!" and "AMERICA FIRST", nothing else he's said has really mattered.

That's because they're not just outrageous slogans that uninformed racists can rally behind, they're slogans that reflect the fact that a lot of Americans feel screwed by our corporate managed trade deals that have destroyed the middle class and sent our factories overseas.

Or as Donald Trump put it in a recent campaign stop in Indiana: "We can't continue to allow China to rape our country."

What Trump said is undoubtedly crude, but it's how a lot of Americans across large parts of the country honestly feel.

This is really dangerous for the Democrats in November, because Trump's position on trade is something that both the far-right and the progressive left actually agree on.

Because of that, Democrats are risking losing their advantage in urban places like Baltimore, Detroit and St. Louis, and they're risking losing even more in smaller cities across the Rust Belt and the old textile-factory South, where closed down factories have left a void that crime and drugs have filled.

The simple fact is, if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Trump may well walk away with the presidency, unless she seriously adjusts her position on trade.

Trump's already declared that he's going to start taking Bernie's messaging to run against Hillary Clinton, and Katrina Pierson recently explained to Steve Kornacki how a billionaire real-estate mogul who embodies the problem of money in politics could appeal to Bernie's supporters by appealing to trade issues.

Trump will easily be able to point out that Hillary's voting record on trade has been a disaster, and she's going to have to show that she's learned how corporate managed trade deals destroy the middle class and hurt the American worker.

And with that rhetoric, Trump may also be able to peel away independents and Democrats who supported Bernie and feel like the Democratic primary was rigged.

Trump's message is clear, even if the details are murky: we need to bring back American jobs by renegotiating all of our trade deals and putting "America First".

Hillary's message on trade is less clear, AND the details are murky: she says she opposes the TPP, but only because it's not "good enough", she supported NAFTA in 1998, and she opposed CAFTA in 2005, and then she supported the Panama Free Trade Agreement as Secretary of State.

It shouldn't be a bad thing that Hillary Clinton has a nuanced view on trade, but in this election of name-calling and viral soundbites, most nuance is completely lost.

Instead, nuance looks like indecisive pandering.

If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, she'll need a strong progressive running mate with a clear record on trade, someone like Sherrod Brown or Elizabeth Warren.

And she'll need to make it clear that a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean ending our disastrous trade agreements, bringing manufacturing back to America, and putting Americans back to work.


The Glenn Beck Review's picture
The Glenn Beck ... 8 years 7 weeks ago

Hillary is going to do what Wall St is paving her path to the White House with $100 bills to do: more "free-trade agreements" that will replace democratic self-government with corporate self-government. If you think, as Thom thinks, Clinton opposes the TPP, I have a bridge to nowhere I'll sell you.

Clinton is going to lose to Trump because revolutionaries, not Bernie's sheep, will either write him in or vote for the Green Party candidate. That's the Bernie or bust pledge movement.

illustrator5's picture
illustrator5 8 years 7 weeks ago

Tell me Trump doesn't take Wallstreet money and I have a bridge in Michigan to sell YOU!!

Like his financing of big bohemith sky scrapers were all self funded, plus his bankruptcy let's say four? Yeah he's talking the talk but he'll never walk the walk! Congress will make him more hated than Cruz!

illustrator5's picture
illustrator5 8 years 7 weeks ago

You're quoting tabloid news the examiner?? Hahaha!!

Theorbist's picture
Theorbist 8 years 7 weeks ago

As a Bernie supporter myself, I will struggle to vote for Hillary in November. However, is it unethical, or unprincipled, to vote for the lesser of two evils or (better stated) to vote for one candidate so that a greater evil does not prevail? 8 years 7 weeks ago

The trouble is, Hiarly won't change her tune on trade deals. Four years of her means four more years of disadvantageous trade deals. Trump is running to the left of Hilary on trade as well as on war policy. If he were not such a bozo, vulgarian, and racist, he'd have my vote.

bpentony's picture
bpentony 8 years 7 weeks ago

You mean Thom that Hillary will change her stance on trade AFTER Obama signs TTP and TTIP? Give me a break. The Democratic Party NO LONGER represents the economic interests of working people. The GOP never did and the D Party used to before Al From and Bill Clinton came along 25-30 years ago. And since then, we've had a Democratic Party dominated by corporate shills. And on top of that, the best candidate to come along since FDR that truly represents the workers (Bernie Sanders), the Democratic Party did everything they could to dismiss him and the progressive base. No more corporate Democrats!!

DonaNicole's picture
DonaNicole 8 years 7 weeks ago

Thom I have followed you for years, but this sounds very much like support for Trump. You were supporting also only Bernie and not Hillary. I think I am going to give you up, Thom.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 7 weeks ago

Trump easily wins with election fraud unless our friends at Anonymous intervene. The conservative/fascist machine will stop at nothing to maintain their control over the Judicial branch. Trump will quickly appoint a Fascist. Given that hacking digital voting machines is child's play, and Conservatives have already proven their ability to commit election fraud in the states like Florida and Ohio......Trump easily wins.

Bernie is the only one who can stop Trump!

dianhow 8 years 7 weeks ago

Writing in someone or going for Green Candidate will cause another Huge US disaster. Trumo is an arrogant bulling blow hard ! Trump may insult a world leader & cause WW 3 with his caustic termper. T RUMP speaks of 'making America Great .. but never says how ! Trump has not a clue how to do so. Running a corp is NOT training for leadership in gov't . Its takes rationality & compromise which Trump lacks . IF we elect another GOP President out of anger or disgust US will again live throught more war, war profiteering , death, maiming of our Veterans , unfair tax laws & pro wealth policies . GOP vows to end the FDA EPA even the parks system.. Creator of our Beautiful National parks ' There for decades to come to enjoy their serienity & beauty ! Our Economy, veterans, middle class, quality eduation, good paying jobs, womens rights, will suffer greatly .. Bush Cheney Greenspan GOP Newt Rove Tom Delay Sen Phil Gramm ( made 900 K on Enron scandal ) GOP shut down gov't , costing taxpayers billions . Years of anti middle class policies , lied into wars , wasting trillions, GOP deregulation, amnesty , privatizing, creating massive war debt, passing Huge un funded corp tax cuts, loopholes, subsides led US to 2008 global crash- TARP trillions bail out to Wall St crooked banks . WE must NOT skimp on higher eduaction/ college AN investment in US future economy. NOTE We are now living in the ' 2 nd Gilded Age' Reasonaable, rational caring folks must NOT allow that

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 8 years 7 weeks ago

Does anyone really believe Trump is against free trade...c'mon!

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 8 years 7 weeks ago

Trump should be confronted by his lie, telling people that the Chinese are taking our jobs, when exactly the opposite is true. The corporations are 'GIVING' China our jobs.

Of course the dummies within the U.S. can't think that far.

rknight01's picture
rknight01 8 years 7 weeks ago

Both parties are corporate owned and will do more of the same - cater to their corporate masters at our expense. Bernie was always meant to sheepdog dissatisfaction within the Dems and progressives back into the Dem party (lesser of two evil ploy). To loosely quote Jill Stein (who's running for president on the Green party ticket) "Voting for the lesser of two evils guantees the evil you were trying to avoid".

tamruss's picture
tamruss 8 years 7 weeks ago

I'm not hearing Thom's support of Trump DonaNicole. I hear him pointing out facts... that mass populous is tired enough of the corp crap to actually go for Trump because of what he's spews (not because he really can do what he says or even that he knows what he's talking about). Thom has always supported Bernie. What I hear is that IF Hillary gets the nomination which the word is (even though I am not giving up hope yet) she has, Trump might be able to win because of the talking points he makes. Just because she's a Democrat doesn't guarantee her being voted in. The danger here is that SCOTUS depends on a Dem getting in.

rknight01's picture
rknight01 8 years 7 weeks ago

Every disaster you mention dianhow will also be done under a Hillary presidency. It's way past time to start breaking the two corporate party stranglehold on this country...

dianne.w's picture
dianne.w 8 years 7 weeks ago

If Democrats & independents remain fractured as they are now... anti-Hillary (should she win the election), either voting Trump, Jill Stein, write-in Bernie if happens to be available in your state, stay home because you have a boo boo lip & are pissed off, in addition to being up against voter ID suppressions laws, Trump will be your next president. By Trump's own admission, his main tenet of the Art of the Deal, is to say what you need to say to get what you want at the moment. There is no commitment behind what he says. He is taking his supporters for the proverbial ride.

Kilosqrd's picture
Kilosqrd 8 years 6 weeks ago

I believe Trump will win in Nov. We are one terrorist attack or a significant economic downturn away from a guaranteed Trump victory.

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