The Michigan primary results on Tuesday signal a quantum shift in GOP voter attitudes on “free trade” policies that have served corporate crony agendas leaving the American people behind.
That’s not just analysis, it is fact based upon a just released Americans for Limited Government survey conducted by independent pollster Patrick Caddell. The stunning results of the Caddell study showed that GOP voters reject the global trade agenda at an even higher rate than Democrat voters, throwing conventional wisdom on its ear.
The ramifications for President Obama’s ill-conceived Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could not be more ominous. When asked in an informed question about whether the TPP should be passed in a lame duck Congress, Republican voters oppose it by a 66 to 15 margin, far outstripping Democrat or Independent opposition.
This represents a quantum shift in anticipated political party attitudes on an issue where Republican members of Congress could be counted upon to salute in almost lock-step in favor of any legislation labeled “free trade.”
The conversion point for Republican voters comes from a strong sense that the system is rigged against them in favor of the corporate cronies who manipulate the law to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else.
Caddell found that GOP voters view the results of the free trade agreements over the past two decades serve as the primary indictment against any new agreement with a 59 percent saying that previous deals were “more of a benefit to other countries”, and a startlingly low 4 percent agreeing that free trade deals have been “more of a benefit to the U.S.” and only 14 percent who said they were “equally beneficial to all.”
The economic facts over the past two decades bear out GOP voters dismissal of the notion that trade deals help the United States. The year 2000 was the last year that the U.S. economy grew at 4 percent or above, and not coincidentally, the same year the U.S. granted China permanent normal trade relations.
What makes the current skepticism even more acute is the fact that the U.S. economy has not even grown at a 3 percent level since 2005, and the past ten years have had the worst level of GDP growth since the Great Depression as labor participation among working age adults has collapsed.
When asked in an informed question about whether Congress should pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a lame duck session as has been proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, GOP voters answer with a resounding no, opposing passage of the deal by a 66 to 15 percent margin.
Republican power brokers, consultants and elites have been confounded by the utter rejection of every presidential candidate who has chosen to take on their mantle in this election season with Marco Rubio’s last place finishes in both Michigan and Mississippi providing the latest evidence. Caddell finds that GOP voters flat out don’t trust their leaders to look out for the national or their own individual interests with 85 percent agreeing with the statement that, “political leaders are more interested in protecting their power and privilege than doing what is right for the American people.”
This stark wake-up call for GOP leadership is devastating, but it is survivable if they are willing to take stands that demonstrate that they are fighting to restore America.
In this regard, the GOP Senate’s decision to stand firm against allowing President Obama to fundamentally change the make-up of the Supreme Court rather than relying upon a vote of the people to make that decision is a great first step.
Every Republican candidate for President and Congress, should forcefully reject the notion of passing Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership with a particular disdain for bringing it up in a lame duck when many of their colleagues will be looking for their next jobs rather than looking out for the interests of the American people.
By rejecting the status quo trade agenda of the D.C. elites, Congress will show the independence that their political base is looking for, reconnecting by taking a stand against those who are pulling the strings with no regard for the plight of Americans or America itself.
It is no secret that Republican voters are in outright revolt, they are tired of their prosperity being traded away and their children’s futures being diminished as our nation’s wealth gets transferred around the world to benefit corporate cronies with the pull to gain favor, and nation’s that don’t like us very much.
They have caught on to the big lie that these trade agreements benefit them or America, and now it is time for GOP leaders to follow them and reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the latest in a long line of bad trade deals.