Does any of this “Trump said X years ago!” oppo matter at all? It’s another feather in the cap for BuzzFeed, which has been running rings around the supposedly professional oppo divisions of GOP campaigns in uncovering damaging old Trump soundbites, but I can’t think of any evidence offhand that it matters to voters. If you can accept that Trump has evolved from being “very pro-choice” in middle age to pro-life now, you can surely accept that he’s had a change of heart about jobs over the past 10 years and is now a true blue protectionist.
You don’t even need to look for old soundbites to see how pointless this line of attack is. Since the campaign began, he’s said that wages are too high and has argued on live TV that he needs to hire foreign workers for seasonal work at his country club because those are the near-mythical jobs Americans just won’t do. It’s also come out that some of the suits he hawks in his clothing line are made in Mexico. How much has any of it mattered? If you’re not prepared to hammer stuff like that constantly in attack ads, it’s not going to penetrate among voters. This smells like another fart in the wind:
We hear terrible things about outsourcing jobs—how sending work outside of our companies is contributing to the demise of American businesses. But in this instance I have to take the unpopular stance that it is not always a terrible thing.
I understand that outsourcing means that employees lose jobs. Because work is often outsourced to other countries, it means Americans lose jobs. In other cases, nonunion employees get the work. Losing jobs is never a good thing, but we have to look at the bigger picture.
Last year, Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Lawrence R. Klein, the founder of Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, co-authored a study that showed how global outsourcing actually creates more jobs and increases wages, at least for IT workers. The study found that outsourcing helped companies be more competitive and more productive. That means they make more money, which means they funnel more into the economy, thereby, creating more jobs.
I know that doesn’t make it any easier for people whose jobs have been outsourced overseas, but if a company’s only means of survival is by farming jobs outside its walls, then sometimes it’s a necessary step. The other option might be to close its doors for good.
That’s a perfectly sensible argument but pure poison to his current incarnation as an angry populist, in which slapping a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods somehow doesn’t mean lost jobs and much more expensive goods for blue-collar workers. It was clear from last night’s speech which path he’ll follow in the general election — economic populism, strong form, all the way to November — but what he’ll do as president is anyone’s guess. Remember, Trump isn’t just a pol who’s “evolved” on an unusually broad array of issues over time, he’s someone who boasts even now at how easy it is for him to be flexible as circumstances demand — not just rhetorically but in terms of his willingness to make deals with Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, something he talks about openly. Would President Trump remain a stalwart opponent of outsourcing in all cases? Would he accept some outsourcing if a key faction in Congress demanded it as part of negotiations? Would he relax his opposition to it entirely as the business lobby started leaning on him and his allies in Congress? Who the hell knows? Let’s roll the dice and find out.
Off-topic but since we’re talking about Trump mysteries, here’s another one I can’t figure out: Why isn’t he spending more on attack ads and why aren’t his fans pressuring him to do so? We all know how strong Trump’s advantage is over the rest of the field in terms of media coverage, which is as valuable as many millions of dollars of ad buys, but that doesn’t answer the question of why he shouldn’t do interviews and ads. Imagine what might have happened in Iowa or in Texas last night if Trump had carved out $20 million from his mountain of money to bombard Cruz with attacks on his supposed support for legalization of illegals, his role in the 2013 shutdown, and so forth. Trump is highly likely to be the Republican nominee; if he was spending his own money right now on top of everything else, he might already have it wrapped up. And if he’s not spending it now, what reason is there to think he’s going to turn around and drop a billion dollars in the general election to stop Hillary? Former Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler sees a major problem:
Looming Disaster: GOP donors will not give to a "Trump RNC". Even Donald can't fund the GOP and a general election campaign.
— Rick Tyler (@rickwtyler) March 2, 2016
Trump will get plenty of small donations from Republicans during the general election campaign and he could, if he likes, accepting public funding as his party’s nominee, but imagine if he keeps his checkbook in his pocket and ends up losing 51/49 to Hillary. Why didn’t he spend $500 million of his own money to make America great again, his fans will ask? What’ll the answer be?
By the way, during his presser last night he said in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fashion that he won’t reconsider his pledge to deport all of America’s illegals “at this moment.” Two years from now, when Chuck Schumer’s dangling money for his wall in front of him as part of a grand bargain, who knows. Here’s yet another new ad from the Our Principles Super PAC, which is emerging as the leading attack dog among anti-Trump GOP donors.