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« The Tenth Mainstream Melee -- Our New Democratic Overlords. | WILLisms.com | Quotational Therapy: Part 112 -- Pelosi & Fairness. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 376 -- Democrats & Protectionism.

Our New Congress Is Decidedly More Isolationist-

Just after the election, Simon J. Evenett and Michael Meier of Switzerland's University of St. Gallen examined the new Congress and found that it is far more protectionist than before (.pdf):


Not a single seat switched from anti-trade to free-trade. Many switched from free-trade to anti-trade. Opposition to free trade agreements may have even been a deciding factor in helping "socially conservative" Democrats get over the hump in many tight races.

Indeed, we live in changing times. We have a changing economy. If there was a single domestic theme that drove voters to the polls in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio and Indiana, it was the notion that American jobs are not secure. Union members came out in droves to vote for a higher minimum wage and more trade barriers. Even some evangelicals finally found some acceptable Democrats, because these Democrat candidates mostly spoke their language on God, guns, and gays.

Ironically, the national "vote for change" may have actually been a somewhat localized fear of change in dozen or two blue collar House districts away from the coasts.

While this phenomenon really only explains a portion of Republican losses, it is one of only two major non-structural domestic themes raised successfully in this election by Democrats.

The other theme that Democrats used to win over independents, raised exclusively outside the blue collar belt that voted on trade/jobs/wage issues (in scattered affluent suburbs), was that Republicans have gone too far in imposing values on the rest of the country (in other words, stem cell research, as in Missouri).

*** [Click "Read More" below to see the structural reasons for GOP losses.]

But, let's get back to the Democrats' protectionism, one of the few actual issues Democrats actually advanced on the domestic front.

As Thomas Friedman might put it, Democrats have chosen the "scapegoat" response to global challenges, eschewing the "Sputnik" response:

• Democrats raised trade-related matters far more often than Republicans.

• All of the new Democratic Senators had bad things to say about trade reform.

• The free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the Bush Administration were prominent targets of Democrats' ire, with half of Democrats making the CAFTA agreement an election issue.

Just because some of these new Democrats are pro-life, pro-gun, or anti-gay marriage doesn't mean they are "moderate." In looking at some of the new candidates, we have an infusion of 1930s-style economic isolationists and socialists into the 110th Congress. These Democrats, called "moderate" because they hunt and go to church, have chosen the head-in-sand left-wing response on some of the great economic issues of our time, entitlements and trade.

So, to the small 'l' libertarians out there who did not vote for Republicans because you were upset about excess spending and/or too much moralism coming from the Republican Congress, congratulations.

Your votes, or lack thereof, actually made the difference in key races, perhaps moreso than votes for Ralph Nader made the difference in 2000.

You libertarian protest voters successfully sent your message.

Your votes, or lack thereof, empowered the worst sort of anti-libertarian members Congress, and although that can't be what you wanted, that's the only way your message will be interpreted by our media.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Who Pays What In Taxes.

*** [Just for reference, the structural (non-issue) reasons for GOP defeats:

1) Poor candidate recruitment by Republicans in several "red" states.

2) A political realignment finally fulfilling itself in the Northeast.

3) Similarly, enough GOP voters have migrated from districts were Republicans lost to districts were Republicans won easily that it could have made the difference in dozens of those races decided by a few thousand votes. It is safe to say that reapportionment will zap a few of these Democrat-held seats in 2010. Just as Bush won nearly all of the 100 fastest growing counties in 2004, the Democrats won many of the fastest shrinking counties this time around.

4) Corruption/scandal-mongering and other related all-time high media bias.

5) The bickering between and among national, state, and local GOP apparatuses and candidates on whether to nationalize or localize the election (newsflash: it was always a national election, and the failure to press national issues like the confirmation of judges hurt badly in some of those Senate races).

6) Democrats had far more women candidates, which likely provided the margin of victory in some of the more marginal GOP losses.]

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 November 2006 03:09 PM


IF excess spending is why they didn't vote Republican? Just wait until the Dems get going! I really believe we need new, younger People in office to represent us. Our future generations are getting ripped off!

Posted by: zsa zsa at November 13, 2006 04:26 PM

I just don't understand how the democrats can be dead set against No Child Left Behind because of their Union NEA ties and think that we can avoid competing globally for jobs with countries like China without major reform of our educational system and unions.

Their answer--why just stop competing. If we just raise the minimum wage and stop signing treaties and impose high tariffs on Chinese goods, all the good jobs will come back to America.

We make gain far more than we lose from the global economy as long as we are willing to compete head to head with other nations. To do that we don't need more education funding. We need a more competitive educational aparatus. Funds do not make us competitive or our graduates competitive alone. We need reform.

This party of change is not about changing the way unions have bankrupted out educational system, our auto industry, or our airlines. Their plan is to use the same logic to bankrupt our entire economy and start it out with mandating the European failed policies of national healthcare. Raise the minimum wage so high that America cannot do business. Raise inflation and make our products so expensive that no one in the world will buy them and further hurt our trade imbalances because we have to import most raw materials and oil from foreign countries because they will not let us develop our own.

The answer to our problems is to make our teachers and union workers compete. Make them earn the higher wages. Make us more competitive, but the Democrats would rather hide their heads in the sand and ignore reality. What is the new minimum wage going to be and do you think Bush will veto it? Nah, because the Republican Party has no principles anymore. Hell, why not tie the minimum wage to how much we spend on Medicare Prescription drugs. The Republicans have no more moral and fiscal compass than the dems right now. And it is sad.

But I voted for Trent Franks and John Kyl and donated money to Kyl and JD Hayworth from Arizona. I am not retarded enough to think that a protest vote is worth casting. Why not protest Saddam's capture and invasion in this illegal war by putting him back in office too. Why not protest Reagan's evil policies that left the Commies without food while they built warheads to keep up with us by surrendering to them and paying reparations? Protest votes suck. Some mandate.

Posted by: Justin B at November 13, 2006 04:36 PM