Take it from a guy who’s been prescient before about Democratic complacency towards foreign threats:
This will not age well. https://t.co/IJ8vkPJ5SV
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 1, 2019
Which way will this cut in the midwest, where Biden’s supposed to be the biggest threat to Trump? On the one hand, businesses there are sinking under the weight of Trump’s trade war with Beijing. If Biden promises relief by normalizing relations, that may sound good to beleaguered entrepreneurs and employees. It’d also jibe with his broader “restoration” theme: He’s going to Make America 2015 Again, up to and including trade relationships.
But Bernie’s going to jump on him for it. Sanders opposed TPP when the Obama administration was pushing it, fearing that free trade with the far east without protections for American workers will lead to further deindustrialization. His platform on China sounds Trumpy in places:
On Monday, the senator called for Trump and all of his Democratic competitors to pledge to renegotiate U.S. trade deals and label China a currency manipulator — the latter a step the president has not taken despite promises to do so. He also pushed for an executive order to bar federal contracts to companies that outsource jobs, the repeal of a provision in the GOP tax law that critics say promotes outsourcing and a promise not to appoint a trade representative who worked on Wall Street…
Sanders in particular has targeted Trump because his trade views overlap with the president’s. He opposed ratifying the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993 as a House member and voted against giving President Barack Obama the authority to expedite the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal in 2015. Trump eventually withdrew U.S. support for the agreement.
Sanders will go into the Rust Belt promising to stand up to China on behalf of American workers. Biden will go in there saying … “C’mon, man,” I guess.
Biden has some family exposure on China too, which Team Bernie will no doubt make hay of. Between his record of supporting NAFTA and TPP and this weirdly sanguine comment about China’s rising economic power, Sanders is going to hit him hard. It’s strange that Biden would leave himself exposed on a rare subject that draws agreement from right and left.