The 2020 Presidential Election promises to be one of the most contested elections in US history. According to The New York Times, 25 candidates (23 Democrats and 2 Republicans) are already running for the highest elected office in the United States. If you’re curious about the other Republican candidate in addition to Donald Trump that is running, it’s none other than libertarian Bill Weld – about as opposite to Trump a candidate can get in terms of trade policy.
This may prove more harmful to the Democrat cause within the historic blue-collar base which has been the largest beneficiary of low unemployment and Trump’s approach to trade.
From a quantitative perspective, the actual numbers speak to Trump’s comparative success in recent quarters and the impact of his controversial trade policies on the overall economy. From October 2018 to March 2019, the ISM PMI numbers were among their highest based on a 6-month average in recent decades, signifying expansion of the manufacturing economy. In addition, unemployment has dipped below 4%.
If there are economic hawks in the Democratic candidate base that seek to debate President Trump on putting the economy and manufacturing sector first, they are not making their voices heard. The closest the Democrats have gotten on economic policy appears to center on increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour (which as economists know carries risk to the negative in terms of overall employment).
Rather, Democrats continue to play the social agenda card. For example, NBC news reports that Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, wanted “to coax the small city’s approximately 4,500 undocumented immigrants out of the shadows to help them access services, Buttigieg toyed with the idea of some type of municipal identification card for those who couldn’t obtain driver’s licenses or other government ID’s.”
In working with a nonprofit group based in South Bend, the Mayor created a “Community Resident Card program in which the IDs would be paid for, created and distributed by the group — a private organization — not the city.” The partner in the program suggests that “It’s a great way to provide benefits to people without the strings and risks attached to a traditional municipal ID card.”
A feel-good program? Perhaps, depending on your views on immigration.
Candidate Trump appeared as a tough pill to swallow for mainstream Republicans. President Trump’s behavior has left much to be desired. However, based on his economic performance and audacity to place trade at the front and center of international negotiations, he has created a plank that will still garner Republican and party support. When it comes to our vote and countless others, we believe that candidates that stick to core economic issues centered on growth, unemployment and trade will do better than those whose planks speak more to creative work arounds to allowing illegal immigrants to access public services.
We can’t help but feel that hearing additional Democratic and even Republican voices in these debates on issues that impact all Surplus Record readers would be a welcome addition to the campaign. So far, the Democratic economic voices have been drowned out by those with social policy agendas. This is a shame, as experienced candidates such as Joe Biden and others have much to add to the economic policy debate around worker education, infrastructure and trade, among other topics, a discussion and discourse the entire country would benefit from having.