Trade

Warren Says She Supports Trump’s Fake NAFTA Replacement

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I did not want to write this, but I feel like I have to for consistency's sake.

Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has announced that she will vote for Trump's fake replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) -- the so-called United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) -- and while I'm not going to spend any amount of time criticizing other Democrats for voting for it, Warren is a special case.

Warren herself once said the deal is a fake.

Warren had previously disavowed the trade agreement and called it NAFTA 2.0. In a detailed foreign policy speech she gave in November 2018, she said that NAFTA needed to be renegotiated, but Trump's deal wasn't an improvement.

"But as it's currently written, Trump's deal won't stop the serious and ongoing harm NAFTA causes for American workers," she said at the time. "It won't stop outsourcing, it won't raise wages, and it won't create jobs. It's NAFTA 2.0."

She continued: "For these reasons, I oppose NAFTA 2.0, and will vote against it in the Senate unless President Trump reopens the agreement and produces a better deal for America's working families."

Trump's "NAFTA 2.0" did go through some minimal changes over the last year, but nothing that would rise to the level of fully addressing these concerns was added to it.

I have the deepest skepticism for critics who say this or that deal needs to be "renegotiated" without explicitly saying what needs to be renegotiated. That's exactly what Trump did. And if you can't tell me what the specific problems are, I'm going to infer that you don't actually know especially if you're a member of Congress.

Senator Warren also led the opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiated by the Obama administration without ever explicitly saying how she would change it. And where did that lead us? It led to Trump getting elected and withdrawing from the partnership while the rest of the world signs it.

Someone in a position of power and influence with a platform as large as a senator should not mislead the public by regurgitating obsolete, populist dogma that has never been updated to reflect the diverse reality of the modern economy.

I'm not necessarily saying no one should vote for Warren just because of this one issue, but I can't reward Trumpian behavior when it comes from Democrats and I will not personally vote for her in the Democratic primary race while I will vote for whoever becomes the nominee for president and that includes her.

With all of this said, I do not share the same concerns as some of Warren's supporters do. They've been critical of her support for the USMCA because they believe the deal is too weak. I'm critical of her decision because if the USMCA is good enough for her, then there was nothing that wrong with NAFTA to begin with. Her support for the USMC makes her opposition to NAFTA and TPP look disingenuous. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was far more sweeping and consequential to labor and climate standards than Trump's fake deal is and Warren helped kill it by rallying liberal opposition.

  • Christopher Foxx

    …while I will vote for whoever becomes the nominee for president and that includes her.

    Got that right.

    I have my definite preferences in the Democratic field. (And Warren is one.) But in the general election I will vote for whoever the nominee is.

  • muselet

    I can’t disagree with a word of this post.

    I will add, though, that should Elizabeth Warren be the Democratic Party candidate for president, I will vote for her without hesitation.

    –alopecia