THE UPSTART….Is trade policy the “single biggest fault line in today’s Democratic Party”? That’s what Zack Roth says in the current issue of the Monthly, and he suggests that up-and-comer Tim Ryan, a favorite of the netroots, is just the guy to bridge the divide. Ryan, who represents Ohio’s blue-collar 17th district, may be a solid favorite of organized labor (he recently cosponsored a tariff bill aimed at Chinese imports), but it turns out he’s also a big fan of Alvin Toffler and the knowledge economy:
That Ryan finds himself claimed as an ally by both sides of the trade divide is more than just clever political positioning. His approach may represent where the party, and the country, is ultimately heading on the issue. Younger people appear far more willing than their elders to acknowledge, as Ryan does, that America can’t wall itself off from the global economy. In a recent poll, 41 percent of respondents aged eighteen to thirty-four agreed that free trade deals help the United States. Among respondents fifty and over, that figure was just 18 percent. “Younger people didn’t fully live as adults in the world as it used to be,” says Lori Kletzer, a trade policy expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington think tank that has generally favored trade liberalization. “So they’re more willing to figure out ways to work in a world that has … job insecurities and vulnerabilities.”
This has the ring of plausibility to me, and given the importance of young voters to the future of the Democratic Party this may be bad news for the populist wing of the party. Read the whole thing for more.