By all accounts, this election was Hillary Clinton’s to lose. Although James Comey’s decision to violate the Hatch Act and try to swing the election certainly didn’t help Clinton, the real reason she lost was her inability to gauge the public mood and adapt to it.
Her support of NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership angered voters who were seeing their jobs shipped overseas. Although Clinton solidly won all three presidential debates, the best criticisms that Trump landed in those performances were regarding trade.
Clinton’s pledge to not add a penny to the national debt, although austerity has been a disaster for the working class, also showed how tone deaf her campaign was.
The Democratic Party will need to start listening to leaders like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both popular, charismatic figures with a much better grasp of what really matters to the American people, if they want to regain the offices they have lost.
President-elect Trump officially announced that the U.S. will quit TPP his first day in office.
This is a huge victory for America’s workers. It’s not just because this free trade agreement likely would have increased downward pressure on wages, further reduced manufacturing jobs, and increased trade deficits.
This is a victory because TPP’s death shows the power of working class and middle class votes.
Hundreds of millions were spent by big businesses to lobby for TPP. President Obama made TPP his number one legislative priority in his last term.
None of these forces were powerful enough to overcome the will of the American people. When it became clear that no one wanted another trade deal like NAFTA, even Hillary Clinton, long a neoliberal supporter of free trade, rescinded her support. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump also understood that they could not be viable presidential candidates if they supported trade deals that took away American jobs.
The death of TPP is only the beginning. U.S. politicians are starting to realize that they have to address the needs of the 99% if they want to keep or gain office.