TPP Opposition: Make Them Do It And Hold Them To It

Dave Johnson

Elites take “globalization” as a given because “trade” deals have pushed sovereignty off the table and locked governments out of decision-making over things like stopping offshoring of jobs and protecting domestic industries. They smirk knowingly and wink and nod when politicians respond to citizen complaints about the disastrous effect this is having on populations, regions and economies. They assume the politicians are just saying what they need to say to get votes and will rejoin them after they get that pesky election out of the way.

But times are changing. The public has caught on. “Brexit,” the rise of Donald Trump and other reactions to globalization are forcing politicians to come down on the side of the people instead of the corporations.

For example, it turns out that the latest deal to push national governments aside so corporations can do what they want to do, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is a very big deal at the Democratic convention, with the entire convention chanting “No TPP, No TPP.” And it has become a very big deal in national politics, too, with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders having made it a centerpiece of their presidential campaigns in the Republican and Democratic parties.

Clinton Opposed To TPP

Hillary Clinton has responded to the pressure, saying repeatedly that she is opposed to TPP and opposed to a vote on TPP in the “lame duck” session after the election.

Appearing on stage with Bernie Sanders as he endorsed her for president, Clinton restated her opposition to TPP, saying, “[W]e’re going to say no to attacks on working families and no to bad trade deals and unfair trade practices, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

McAuliffe Says Clinton Will Shift “Once The Election’s Over”

Virginia governor, long-time Clinton friend and insider Terry McAuliffe, said in public that he thinks Hillary Clinton will shift to being a globalist once the election is out of the way.

Politico’s Morning Trade has the story.

“Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it but going forward we got to build a global economy.”

Pressed on whether Clinton would turn around and support the trade deal she opposed during the heat of the primary fight against Bernie Sanders, McAuliffe said: “Yes. Listen, she was in support of it. There were specific things in it she wants fixed.”

Trump Jumps On It

Donald Trump immediately jumped on McAuliffe’s comments, saying it shows that Clinton will “betray” TPP opponents. The odious Washington Times covers this story, in “Donald Trump: ‘Just like I have warned,’ Hillary Clinton will ‘betray you’ on TPP“:

Donald Trump seized on Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s comments that Hillary Clinton will flip and support the Trans-Pacific Partnership almost as quickly as Mrs. Clinton’s team disavowed them, pointing out that he’s warned in the past of her looming betrayal on the issue.

“As I have been saying, Crooked Hillary will approve the job killing TPP after the election, despite her statements to the contrary: top adv.,” Mr. Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Mr. Trump had also shared a Politico story — in which Mr. McAuliffe predicted Mrs. Clinton would support some version of the trade deal after the election — in a tweet Tuesday night: “Just like I have warned from the beginning, Crooked Hillary Clinton will betray you on the TPP.”

Podesta: It’s Not Going to Happen

Clinton campaign chair John Podesta immediately tweeted in response to Trump’s comments that Clinton opposes TPP and opposes a vote after the election in the “lame duck” session.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Podesta went further. WSJ reports in “Hillary Clinton Committed to ‘New Approach’ on Trade Deal, Not Tweaks, Aide Podesta Says,” that Podesta responded that this is not what will happen.

John Podesta said that Mrs. Clinton and her newly minted running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, have been clear about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

“They’re against it before the election and against it after the election,” he said at a lunch sponsored by The Wall Street Journal. He said he met with House Democrats, who overwhelmingly oppose the pact, on Monday and reiterated that position. “So they know, they well know what our position is.”

Asked if Mrs. Clinton would seek to renegotiate particular aspects of the agreement but keep the overall structure, he said no.

“We need a new approach to trade,” he said. “We’re not about renegotiation. We’re not kind of interested in that. We’re interested in a new approach.”

But Podesta hedged on whether Clinton will actively oppose a “lame duck” vote on TPP after the election.

Asked whether Mrs. Clinton would seek to block a lame-duck vote, Mr. Podesta, a former Obama adviser, said: “What the president chooses to do, whether he thinks that that’s an effective strategy, is up to him, but that is not our strategy.”

Kaine Opposed Now

Bowing to political reality Clinton’s vice presidential pick Tim Kaine changed from support for TPP to opposition. Politico reported:

Kaine spokeswoman Amy Dudley said Saturday that the Virginia Democrat shared his negative views on the trade deal with Clinton this week, confirming a report by The Washington Post. “He agreed with her judgment that it fell short” when it came to protecting wages and national security, a Clinton aide reportedly told the newspaper.

Pelosi Opposed As Well

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi came out clearly in opposition to TPP. The Huffington Post has the story, in “Nancy Pelosi Declares Opposition To Obama’s Trade Deal“:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has come out in opposition to the massive Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal as it’s currently written, putting her on the same page as newly minted vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) made the declaration in a letter late last week to several groups that protested outside her offices in San Francisco and delivered her more than 200,000 petition signatures opposing the TPP.

“Please be assured that I will oppose the TPP as it is currently written or any deal that attempts to separate commerce from the environment and will work to ensure our nation’s trade policies include increased transparency, more consultation, and stronger protections to create jobs, strengthen human rights and protect the environment,” Pelosi wrote in messages sent to the Citizens Trade Campaign, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others involved in the campaign.

Elites Have Been Forced To Change And Mean It

Clinton, Kaine, Pelosi, the Democratic Party platform, the entire convention. Pretty much all of the Democratic party now opposes TPP.

One more example: Gene Sperling, a longtime Clinton economic advisor as well as a top aide to President Obama, said at a convention event that TPP is “in the rearview mirror” now. The Los Angeles Times has the story, headlined “Advisors scramble to stop speculation that Hillary Clinton might go back on her word on TPP“:

The TPP, as the massive trade pact is known, is “in the rearview mirror, now,” said Gene Sperling, the longtime Clinton economic advisor who also served as a top aide to Obama.

“There’s no evidence” that “any version” of the TPP would meet the test that Clinton has set during the campaign — whether it would clearly improve the jobs picture in the U.S., Sperling said at a briefing sponsored by the Atlantic magazine.

Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter whether Clinton, Kaine and others oppose TPP and globalization in their hearts. What matters is what they will do. They are more and more on the record, even it if is only that they want to win. This puts more and more pressure on them not to support TPP vote after the election.

What matters is that we keep the pressure on and don’t let up. We have to force Obama and Congress away from voting on TPP in the unaccountable “lame duck” session of Congress. It’s up to us to make them do it and hold them to it. That is how politics and democracy are supposed to work. We must continue to make it clear to every politician in both parties that support for TPP is toxic, and that a betrayal on it would be devastatingly costly. Because that’s how it’s done.

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