How Progressives Can Position on NAFTA Renegotiation

Trade stands out from every other policy issue because Donald Trump’s unhappiness with the status quo is shared by virtually all progressive advocacy groups and nearly all Democratic Members of Congress. It is urgent for progressives to engage on trade because Trump has triggered the renegotiation of NAFTA, because he wins high marks in this poll on handling trade and advocating for American workers, and because the Democrats’ silence on trade contributed mightily to Trump’s victory in the Rustbelt states and to Democrats’ ongoing disadvantage in handling the economy in public polling. Progressives must communicate they are fighting for American jobs, for raising incomes and wages and for putting the interests of American workers before corporations who shaped NAFTA and are now using it to accelerate job outsourcing, which our research showed is viewed by voters as the greatest threat to America’s living standards. Fighting for the right major changes to NAFTA is broadly popular among Trump voters as well as the college educated and diverse Clinton voters who are more conflicted about trade.

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