February 17, 2015


Dems will splinter on trade deals (Juan Williams - 02/16/15, The Hill)

Votes on potentially large U.S. trade deals hold the potential for a storm that will scatter the band of brothers and sisters known as Senate Democrats.

The same votes also threaten to alienate them from Obama for his last two years.

The cloud will become a self-destructive storm for the Democrats if their left wing faction, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), joins with right-wing Republicans. [...]

The popular Sen. Warren is framing her concern over the proposed trade pacts by pointing to past deals that she contends pushed "America's middle class in a deep hole," while boosting big business and Wall Street investors.

On the other hand, Senate Democrats can find motivation for supporting the president by looking at a June Pew poll. It found 59 percent of Americans backing free trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

More motivation comes from history. President Clinton won approval of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) from a Republican Congress. In 2002, it was a Republican majority that again gave "fast track" power on trade deals to the Bush White House. Congressional Democrats have to be concerned about being left behind one more time on this critical issue.

In this go-around, Democrats on Capitol Hill risk looking less like faithful defenders of the working class than bystanders to the changing reality of global trade.

Posted by at February 17, 2015 3:38 PM

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