Trump, Trade, Immigration, and Working Class Americans

CIS — I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country, and they are forgotten, but they will not be forgotten long. These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice. … I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and independence. — Donald Trump, presidential nomination acceptance speech.

Like no other politician in recent history, Donald Trump is a tuning fork who resonates to the concerns of millions of ordinary Americans in the working classes. He has thrown conservative orthodoxy into chaos in his path to the nomination, and breathes so hotly on Hillary Clinton’s neck as she too seeks the presidency that it has forced her to choose a running mate perceived as enough of a centrist to counterbalance her leftward lunge, in hopes of retrieving enough of the independent vote to help her win.

One of the areas in which Trump has broken the bubble by speaking the unspeakable, often in unrefined, sometimes offensive, ways, is immigration. Many so-called conservatives who find the Trump vision for America offensive to their views themselves possess shockingly liberal attitudes toward immigration enforcement.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan is one such conservative, as was Sen. Marco Rubio, who plunged from the heights like Icarus, his campaign aflame from his association with the infamous and deceptive Gang of Eight mass amnesty bill. Trump’s seizure of the immigration issue and insistence on the need for real border security not only helped catapult him into the Republican Party nomination, but has clearly put these conservatives and their questionable ideas toward sovereignty vs. unfettered illegal immigration on the defensive.

Free trade, one of orthodox Republicans’ most sacred scriptures, an orthodoxy shared by many liberal Democrats, has also come under Trump’s withering gaze. He has grasped the nexus between trade deals and immigration, and their cumulative effect on white and blue collar America’s slipping hold on the ladder of economic wellbeing.

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