Both parties have abandoned free trade

Whoever gets elected president will oppose free trade.  In fact, both parties are rivaling each other in condemning trade agreements such as NAFTA (which forms a common market with Canada and Mexico) and the not-yet-ratified TPP (which eases trade with Australia and Asian countries other than China).

Such a turnabout is astonishing, since Republicans have long championed free markets and Democrats have come around to agree with them.  Credit, or blame, for this new stance goes to the popularity of Donald Trump, who has roused the masses against American industries moving factories and jobs overseas and American products being driven out by cheaper imports.

I can see the appeal of a self-contained national economy, but getting there would seem to involve some dangerous tradeoffs.  If we erect trade barriers such as high tariffs and our trading partners retaliate, won’t that be economically disastrous?  American companies will suddenly lose a major part of their markets.  Prices for consumers will skyrocket.  After awhile, maybe new companies would take up the slack, but, in the short term at least, wouldn’t this cause recession and even more unemployment?

This is not my field, so I am open to instruction. [Read more…]

As Republicans veer left, Democrats veer right

At the Republican convention, Donald Trump and company invoked what have traditionally been Democratic themes:  quoting dubious statistics about how women earn less than men do; opposing free trade; wanting to regulate capitalism; claiming workers are oppressed; cheering gay rights; promising no more war, etc.

The Democratic convention has done the reverse, invoking what are usually Republican themes:  support for the military; character; “USA” cheers; aggressive foreign policy; “faith, family, & values” rhetoric (to use a Tim Kaine phrase).

Read what William Saletan says about this at Slate, excerpted and linked after the jump.

Are the parties just trying to reach out to the disaffected members of the other side?  Is this just the old tactic of playing to your base in the primaries, then going to the center in the general election?  Or does it represent a shift for both parties, heralding some ideological changes on both sides? [Read more…]

The plight of religious traditionalists

Rachel Lu has written an important essay for National Review on the plight of religious traditionalists.  Donald Trump, she observes, has no interest in religious liberty issues or “fake culture war” causes that traditionalists care about.  And Republicans planning a post-Trump party are going the way of “fiscally conservative but socially liberal.”  And progressives, of course, can’t stand conservative religion.  So both political parties want to disassociate themselves from religious traditionalists.

And yet, she says, despite the efforts to marginalize religious conservatives, they have some cards to play. [Read more…]

Sanders voters for Trump?

Many supporters of Bernie Sanders do not like Hillary Clinton and are vowing that they will never vote for her.  The more affluent of his supporters could always vote with the Green Party, though most will settle for Clinton after all.  But what about the white working class voters who are victims of the current economy and who have been giving Sanders his big wins in industrial rust belt states?

They may well have common cause with Donald Trump, who also does well with this demographic and who advocates some of Sanders’ policies.  Might some of those disaffected blue collar Democrats vote for Trump?  And might that turn some Blue states Red and give Trump the victory?  Charles Krauthammer thinks it’s a possibility. [Read more…]

Updating the Constitution?

According to a recent poll, 41% of Democrats believe that the Constitution should be “updated.”  The study did not go into details about what they think should be changed.  The Second Amendment, probably.  I wonder what else they would change.  This compares to 28% of the general public and  20% of Republicans.

Do you think this is an eroding of allegiance to our fundamental national law?  Or a prudent openness to revision?  If the latter, what changes do you think are in order? [Read more…]

Democrats too are voting with their middle fingers

Just as grassroots Republicans are voting for Donald Trump as a defiant protest against their own establishment, grassroots Democrats are voting for Bernie Sanders for much the same reasons.

Read the fiery anti-Clinton, anti-liberal establishment rhetoric of Camille Paglia, quoted and linked after the jump.  Note especially her devastating critique of how the Democratic party has become “the playground of white, upper-middle-class professionals with elite-school degrees and me-first values,” “liberal poseurs,” whose “projection of victimhood on those outside their privileged circle” is condescending and patronizing. [Read more…]


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