Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) sent a strong message to Hillary Clinton that she should stand with Democrats and liberals against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In a statement, Sanders said:
For decades, corporate America has been pushing disastrous trade agreements on the American people. The result: millions of jobs lost through outsourcing, lower wages and the collapse of our middle class.
My strong hope is that Secretary Clinton and all candidates, Republicans and Democrats, will make it clear that the Trans-Pacific Partnership should be rejected and that we must develop trade policies that benefit working families, not just Wall Street and multi-national corporations.
Democrats and liberals have good reason to skeptical of the TPP. The business community has praised the deal, and multinational corporations are pushing hard for the agreement. Congressional Republicans, who are by nature unfriendly to the concerns of workers, are pushing to give President Obama fast track authority.
Hillary Clinton’s support or opposition to the agreement will define her candidacy in many respects for Democratic voters, which is the reason the Clinton campaign is voicing skepticism about trade deals in general.
Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill told The New York Times, “Hillary Clinton believes that any new trade measure has to pass two tests. First, it should put us in a position to protect American workers, raise wages and create more good jobs at home. Second, it must also strengthen our national security. We should be willing to walk away from any outcome that falls short of these tests. The goal is greater prosperity and security for American families, not trade for trade’s sake.”
Until the full agreement is made public everyone, including Hillary Clinton, should be skeptical. President Obama sincerely believes that he can protect workers and boost the economy with the TPP. The problem is that Bill Clinton and Al Gore made many of these same promises during the NAFTA debate.
A good rule of thumb is that if corporations and Republicans support it, the agreement is probably a bad deal for working people. Democrats are waiting to see where Hillary Clinton will come down on the issue, but her campaign’s caution and skepticism is a good sign for Sanders and the left.