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Democrats Increasingly Turning to Trade Theme
Jesse Richman, 10/15/2010

A recent analysis by Democracy Corps highlights the growing importance of trade as a major political issue favoring the Democratic Party in the 2010 midterm elections.  The recommended attack:

"(REPUBLICAN HOUSE CANDIDATE) has pledged to support free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea that will bleed American jobs and tax breaks for companies that export American jobs. As a result, that campaign has received massive financial and advertising support from big business groups that get support from foreign corporations and that champion outsourcing as good for consumers and oppose any buy-American rules. That’s a bad deal for America."

Democracy Corps lists this as one of the two most potent attack lines for Democrats to use against Republican candidates, alonside charges that the Republican candidate will support massive cuts in medicare and social security.  Democracy Corps notes that:

"An equal 47 percent said they found serious doubts based on the fact that a Republican candidate pledged support for free trade agreements that would outsource jobs.  This attack relates to the recent revelation that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce solicited funds from foreign corporations to help support their campaign advertising.  Senior citizens, non-college voters and those living in large metro areas were most moved by this attack."

The entire analysis is interesting.  It is heartening that trade is becoming a larger part of the election debate.  Perhaps this will push the parties to shift from their traditional stances of (1) advocate unilateral disarmament and celebrate the trade deficit in the face of mercantilism (Republican) and (2) talk about trade but do nothing real to address the problem (Democrat).  Or perhaps this will be a passing fad, a quick campaign tactic, with no lasting effects on public policy.  Clearly trade is now more salient than before, even if most of the polls that ask about the "most important problem" do not include it.  Hopefully heightened public attention can lead to real actions aimed at balancing trade.

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