THE BLOG
11/18/2016 06:22 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2017

Message To Democratic Party Leaders: It's Time To Become A Dem Protectionist

I am a protectionist. The American worker comes first, period. I do not care who my political leader is, where they come from or what party she or he belongs to, what they've done or haven't done. I don't give a damn what they say - all I care about is that they put the American worker first. I am male, female, and comprised of every race. I am the American worker. I say no to globalization, no to trade agreements, no free trade, no open markets. I say yes to protecting the American worker and enabling everyone to pursue the dream.

Message to Democratic Party leaders; you can't protect anything unless you protect the American worker. Become a Dem Protectionist!

Washington lost. Back in the early '90s, leading Democrats sold their souls to Wall Street, free trade economists, and multinational corporations, joining the traditional Republican position supporting free trade. The free marketers argued that consumers would gain more (read: feel wealthier) buying cheap imports than they would producing goods in a landscape of suppressed competition (read: high-paying jobs at GM). Essentially, Americans would rather buy a cheap TV at Walmart than work a higher paying job and consume less.

The obvious problem is that the American worker can't consume much of anything when they are out of work or barely surviving on the minimum wage (which needs raising). Entire families suffer. The result: lower national growth rates, increasing personal debt, and billowing misery across our country. And no one in Washington gave a damn. Good-paying manufacturing jobs went to other countries and nothing replaced them -- no job re-training programs, no relocation help, no investment in our country's most valuable resource, our workers.

Based on the accepted wisdom of economists and promoted by corporate lobbyists, free trade requires fiscal transfers and the movement of labor between countries, outcomes both major parties accepted. There were virtually no trade policy differences between Presidents Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2 and Obama. With stagnant wages and a declining standard of living across the broad middle class of America during that 25-year stretch, Republicans and Democrats colluded in supporting free trade agreements that lowered the cost of nearly everything in an attempt to make middle-class families feel better while their real median earnings were falling, their quality of life declining and their future fading. Did we really need all that junk from China?

The federal government's underwritten expansion of the housing mortgage bubble was another example of "bipartisan" economic policy, enabled by the big banks, designed to make middle-class families feel like they were keeping up when they weren't. We know who got hurt when that scheme resulted in the housing collapse. The rich were fine and everyone else got slammed, increasing income inequality further.

Forgetting party, the majority of Americans support protecting women's rights, protecting affordable health care for all, and protecting the environment. The majority of Americans support protecting our Muslim Americans. I know this same majority is not misogynistic, xenophobic or wanting to deport children and rip apart families because of illegal immigration. Hell, the majority of Americans support increasing the minimum wage!

New Protectionist Democrats will support policies that invest in American production, education, job training, technology, and development. The goal (very achievable) is to get America exporting more than we import, exporting our way to real growth, earning wealth that benefits all Americans. Only then will Democrats be in a position of power to protect American core values, rights and freedoms, and protect the weak and powerless among us.

The better angels of our American nature have always prevailed, and I expect them to prevail once again when our leaders put American workers and their families above all else.