“I’ve long been a believer in the ‘look at the solution, not the problem’ theory. In this case, the solution is clear: We will have to leave borders behind and go for global unity when it comes to financial stability.”
Let’s stop a moment to take note of what we’re watching, because it truly is something incredible. And no, I’m not talking about the transformation of Donald Trump from a champion of “global unity” who just three years ago urged us “to leave borders behind” to his latest incarnation as anti-trade warrior and wall builder. We already know that Trump believes in nothing except what he believes will gain him personal benefit — this latest example merely confirms his utter cynicism.
No, what’s incredible is what has happened to the Republican Party, both nationally and here in Georgia. It has long been the party of big business, the party that for decades dismissed those put out of work by a globalizing economy as lazy, incompetent “takers” unwilling to compete in the modern marketplace. Anybody who brought up the plight of those left behind by globalization was accused by the GOP of practicing “the politics of envy,” of wanting to turn the social safety net into a hammock. Remember, this is the party that slashed long-term unemployment insurance in the midst of a deep recession and that has fought just about every pro-worker piece of legislation ever proposed.
Yet today, that party has handed its presidential nomination to a candidate who has cast Wall Street and the global corporate elite as villains, who wants to abandon trade agreements with Mexico and China and indeed the whole world, who wants to impose high tariffs — and tariffs are taxes — on just about everything that we import into this country. Rather than try to adjust the system to help those harmed by it, Trump proposes to trash it altogether in an orgy of protectionism.
And where would that leave Georgia? Gov. Nathan Deal has championed free trade as key to Georgia’s future, noting that the efficient movement of goods is the state’s single largest job generator. His top economic development priority has been the deepening of the Port of Savannah so it can accept ever-bigger container ships from Asia, and when the port project won final federal approval, he called it “one of the most historic days in the history of our great state.”
U.S. Sen. David Perdue made his business career and fortune by overseas outsourcing and told voters just two years ago that he was proud of having done so. A former member of the Georgia Ports Authority, he too has fought hard to expand Georgia’s ports, promising that it would have “a dramatic economic impact not only on Georgia, but the entire country.” Like Deal, he has been highly critical when the Obama administration did not fund the port project to the degree that he thought necessary.
Yet today, Perdue is a strong supporter of Trump, whose trade policies would gut the warehousing and logistics industry in metro Atlanta, turn the busy ports of Savannah and Brunswick into sleepy backwaters and endanger many of the 350,000 jobs attributed to those port operations. Deal has likewise co-hosted an Atlanta fundraiser for Trump. Because while the trade policies of their party’s nominee threaten the state’s economic future and are absolutely antithetical to their own expressed principles, loyalty to party takes precedence.