Anti-trade populists are hell-bent on locking Democrats into a future of rigid opposition to trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They recently failed in efforts to include a plank in the Democratic Party Platform that would have committed Democrats to the decidedly undemocratic principle of never, ever agreeing even to bring TPP to a vote—either in this Congress or any future one. Now, they are back, pressuring Democratic candidates and Members to go on record against TPP—a key priority for President Obama—and any vote on TPP in the lame duck session of Congress.
Pro-growth progressives should stand up and fight this ill-conceived attempt to make dogmatic opposition to trade agreements a new political loyalty test. The last thing America needs is a Democratic version of the Republicans’ infamous Norquist Pledge on taxes, which has paralyzed Washington’s ability to compromise and make sound fiscal policy.
Killing TPP would deprive policy makers of a potent tool for stimulating jobs and growth, and for augmenting American influence and leadership in the Pacific East. Make no mistake: blanket hostility to trade agreements is a formula for slow growth, lagging innovation and a fatal loss of U.S. economic dynamism.