Sunday, September 1, 2019

Does O'Rourke Have The Trade Strategy For Dems Against Trump?

I have been posting here periodically on how it seems that the Dems do not seem to have a strong or well-defined position about Trump's trade wars that seems politically effective or even coherent.  The few candidates who have made noised about essentially returning to Obama's policy, e.g. Hickenlooper, have done so poorly they are dropping out or at least not in the 10 making the next debate stage.

We then have those who think what is called for is being "tougher than Trump on trade," with Bernie Sanders literally saying that.  Warren has a more nuanced version of that, but which amounts to calling for renegotiating essentially all US trade agreements to make them more labor and environmentally friendly.  Maybe on the eve of Labor Day I should jump up and  down for that, but, frankly, it looks about as wise as Cory Booker joining Trump in calling for the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal to be renegotiated, in other words, not so wise although it make look good as a campaign slogan.

Most of the others seem to be avoiding the topic, apparently aware that different groups in the Dem party have quite different views about this.  It is not an easy issue, although increasingly it looks like one where Trump is becoming increasingly unpopular, with this likely to gt very serious if the economy more seriously slows down with Trump's trade wars getting a lot of the blame.

Which brings us to Beto O'Rourke's new position, something different anyway.  I think he is not going to get the nomination, despite having been the flavor of the month when he first joined the race.  Indeed, he is one of those like Hickenlooper who should drop out and run for Senate in his state, although Julian Castro might also make a good Texas Senate candidate given that Beto has already done it, and Castro seems even less likely to get the nomination than Beto, being the last of the 10 to make it to that next debate stage.

Anyway, what about his trade policy position?  He seems to be trying to sort of running down a middle.  He wants to remove the tariffs on China, but at the same time he wants to still use other policy tools to stick it to China over security and intellectual property and so on.  This is where he gets a bit vague, which makes me think maybe there is not much there there as used to get said  about Oakland.  This may not be much better than Hillary's attempt to straddle by mostly following Obama's poliies except for withdrawing from TPP as Trump supported and did.  But at least he seems to recognize that tryhing to play the game of fighting a rougher and tougher trade war than Trump is doing will probably not be a wise  way to go politically or policywise in the end. 

In any case, the Dems have some ways to go on figuring out how to deal with this issue, and they may never get a proper handle on it.

Barkley Rosser


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