The rise of the Donald has come as a surprise to many in the politics game, including a large swath of Democrats hoping to see one of their own in the White House in 2017. Many Democrats can’t seem to decide whether a Trump nomination improves or hurts their chances, but lawmakers on the left generally speak with one voice in decrying his candidacy.
The funny thing is that candidate Trump says some things that make him sound a little left of center on the campaign trail. Sure, he voices some controversial thoughts on an immigration overhaul, but he often strikes a more moderate chord when talking about issues like infrastructure spending, taxes and potential military action in the Middle East, Russia and China.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Democrats are going to be stumping for Trump anytime soon. It turns out just about the only issue some are ready to back him on so far is his opposition to the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Many Democrats share Trump’s concern that currency manipulation protections are weak in the 12-nation deal, which could cost Americans jobs.
“I agree with Donald Trump: I’m tired of seeing Mexican plants be built and American jobs be lost,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) told reporters in early February. “So, I will stand with Donald Trump and talk about currency manipulation--any place, any time--to educate the American people. But I won’t talk about anything else with Donald Trump.”
One of the most common forms of manipulation comes when a country purposefully devalues its currency by buying up U.S. dollars and flooding the market with its own currency reserves. This is a particular concern in the auto industry, where observers say countries such as China and Japan help their car makers undercut U.S. manufacturers on prices stateside and make exported vehicles pricier abroad.
Unlikely Pair Shares Similar Message
Trump has called the TPP a “horrible deal.” The sprawling trade agreement was wrapped up by negotiators late last year and Congress could take it up in the coming months. Although China isn’t a party to the agreement, he said the deal doesn’t do nearly enough to stop Japan from keeping its currency artificially low.
“If you look at the way they take advantage of us, it’s through currency manipulation,” Trump said during a January Republican debate performance. “Currency manipulation is the single great weapon.”
Compare that to what Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a staunch TPP critic and thought leader on the left, said of the trade agreement during a Capitol Hill press briefing earlier this month. “One devaluation has the power to devastate so many families,” DeLauro said. “Just think about what will happen when we enter a trade agreement with known currency manipulators.”
Given Trump’s recent stance on right-to-work, the TPP issue is probably the only one on which he and DeLauro will find themselves on the same side.
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