Friday, May 22, 2015

The U.S. Conference of Mayors Endorsed TPP

Ron Brownstein brings up a group of people we haven't heard much from when it comes to the discussion about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Back in 2012, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (which is dominated by Democrats) passed a resolution endorsing TPP at their annual meeting. And recently their president, Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, CA, and vice-president, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, MD, sent a letter to Senate leaders urging them to pass trade promotion authority (TPA - or so-called "fast track").

You might wonder why Democratic mayors would disagree so strongly with their counterparts in Congress. Here is Brownstein's answer to that:
New data released May 13 by the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program helps explain the mayors' tilt toward trade...Brookings found that fully 86 percent of U.S. exports now originate from urban areas. Moreover, exports drove more than one-quarter of all metro area economic growth from 2009-2014. "This has metro leaders and elected officials placing an increasing focus on exports as a way to grow and maintain their regional economies," said Bruce Katz, the Metropolitan Policy Program's codirector, in an email. In their letter to Senate leaders, Johnson and Rawlings-Blake indicated the conference's own forecast projects that exports will account for one-third of metro areas' economic growth in coming years...

Democrats now control the mayor's office in 18 of the 20 cities that anchor the metro areas that Brookings found derive the most jobs from exports. (The only exceptions are Republicans Kevin Faulconer in San Diego and Tomas Regalado in Miami.)
Brownstein goes on to point out the shift in public opinion on trade.
The unexpected result is that a series of recent surveys have found that Democratic partisans now express more support for free trade than rank-and-file Republicans—inverting the historic party stereotypes. In last month's national NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, a 43 percent to 26 percent plurality of Democrats said that free trade has done more to help than hurt the United States, while Republicans narrowly split in the opposite direction (33 percent said it helped, 36 percent said it hurt)...

The change also reflects the Democrats' diminishing electoral reliance on blue-collar whites generally dubious of free trade and their increasing dependence on both the college-educated whites and minorities who are more open to it.
All of this suggests that the views about trade in the general public are much more complex than how they are typically stereotyped in the media - as well as the current battles over TPP in Congress.


  1. I'm always so impressed with these gems you find for us. Thanks.

  2. Fascinating - even though I dislike Johnson, this is very interesting and helpful.

    I suspect that the president would get a lot better traction is we called TPP what it IS - FAIR trade, not FREE trade. It appears to have a lot of excellent regulation involved to protect the big three: labor, environment, national sovereignty. With those provisions in place, it's what progressives have long demanded. It would bear a deeper look once it is fully public before all the breast-beating takes place again.