In the campaign of 2016, Bernie Sanders offered a progressive critique of our economic/political system that resonated with a broad swath of the electorate. He articulated things that many of us had been thinking for a long time, and did it in a way that cut through the white noise of political discourse.
He did a lot of things right. There’s one thing he got wrong — well, let’s say he got it partly right — and as it turned out, that one thing may have made a crucial difference for Donald Trump.
Bernie’s analysis of trade and domestic job losses focused mainly on one element: international trade agreements.
He’s about one-fourth right. We’ll get to the other three-fourths in a bit.
His simplified message proved very powerful in his fight for the Democratic nomination, and was a core argument in his case against Hillary Clinton. But afterward, it became a potent weapon in the Trump arsenal. One could argue it won him the election, since his extremely narrow victories in Rust Belt states were due to economic anxiety focused on those evil trade deals.
In early December, I’ll be joining the staff of Seven Days as political columnist. I’ll be writing Web content for the first month; after the New Year, I’ll take on “Fair Game,” the paper’s weekly political column.
Rest assured, I did not depose Paul Heintz in a palace coup. In fact, they approached me, because Paul wants to be a full-time editor and reporter. (He’ll tell you more himself in this week’s column.) In fact, my hiring is one of several additions to the news staff at Seven Days. They’re building quite an operation, and I’m glad to be part of it. Check out Paul’s column online or in today’s print edition for more.
The bad news: once I join the 7D staff I won’t be writing The Vermont Political Observer anymore. They want my full energy and attention. Plus, it’d be weird to do political commentary in two places at once.
And they want me to do pretty much what I do now. They appreciate my voice and my writing skill.