Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
Suitably, a nearly-shuttered old aluminum plant in the former steel town of Monessen, Pennsylvania served as the perfect backdrop for Donald Trump’s Tuesday speech on how globalization and unfair trade have gutted America’s manufacturing base.
Coming from the presumptive nominee of a party that typically wouldn’t know a bad trade deal if it hit them between the eyes, Trump’s sharply clear message and take-no-prisoners, America first approach was both refreshing and historic.
“Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization — moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas,” Trump said. “Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very wealthy. I used to be one of them. Hate to say it, but I used to be one of them … but it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache.”
Trade is an issue that Trump has been remarkably consistent on, having warned against NAFTA before it was even ratified, as well as one that resonates with ordinary American workers while sharply differentiating Trump from Clinton and other beltway elites who seem hellbent on sending as many jobs as possible overseas.
“America became the world’s dominant economy by becoming the world’s dominant producer. The wealth this created was shared broadly, creating the biggest middle class the world had ever known. But then America changed its policy from promoting development in America, to promoting development in other nations. We allowed foreign countries to subsidize their goods, devalue their currencies, violate their agreements, and cheat in every way imaginable. Trillions of our dollars and millions of our jobs flowed overseas as a result.”
The speech, appropriately sloganed “How To Make America Wealthy Again,” offered a clear alternative to the “failed trade policies” of the past – 1.) re-negotiating and even withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 2.) rejecting the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), 3.) the pursuit of bilateral trade agreements instead of multi-national deals like NAFTA and TPP, 4.) the appointment of “better trade negotiators,” and 5.) punishing countries, like China, that violate trade rules.
Trump had particular ire for China, which he accuses of currency manipulation. In the speech, he called for bringing China before the World Trade Organization as well as tariffs on Chinese imports.
Meanwhile, Clinton and other politicians have “watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into depression-level unemployment.” Trump harshly criticized Clinton for supporting TPP and China’s admission to the WTO.
Probably driven by both Trump and Sanders supporters who have hit her where it hurts on the issue, Clinton now says she is against “bad trade deals” and even pledged to appoint a “trade prosecutor” to go after “unfair trade practices like when China dumps cheap steel in our markets or uses weak rules of origin to undercut our car makers.”
Trump accuses Clinton of only taking the position “when she saw my stance,” and predicted she would do an about-face and support TPP if she’s elected. “Her whole career, she has betrayed the American worker.”
For his part, Trump would use only American steel and aluminum on various projects desperately needed to rebuild our aging infrastructure, and employ only American workers.
Trade and globalization are the issues that could very well propel Trump to victory in states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, states that haven’t voted Republican in years. If he has a chance at all, he has to keep pressing this issue to blue-collar workers who have been negatively affected by current policies.
For what it’s worth, former Republican Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who attended the speech and has endorsed Trump, predicted that “a lot of Democrats” in these depressed areas will respond to Trump’s message. Clinton, after all, “is a globalist,” said Santorum.
Watch the speech below:
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