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.