Quick Takes

* Jim Tankersley identifies five myths about trade. Here is number one:

America is “losing” in bad trade deals, particularly with China

The United States does not have a trade agreement with China, neither a bilateral or a multilateral deal — much less a good one or a bad one. The two countries trade on baseline terms set by the World Trade Organization; Trump has long criticized America’s decision under President Bill Clinton to agree to China’s entry to the WTO. If the next president wants to change those terms, he or she would need to enact change at the WTO (nearly impossible, in the short term), negotiate an agreement directly with the Chinese (not remotely on the table) or pressure China through other means, such as officially declaring it a currency manipulator (theoretically possible and relatively simple procedurally).

* What do Jeb Bush, Sen Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) have in common? None of them are planning to attend the Republican Convention in Cleveland this summer. Apparently they’re not the only ones.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said in an interview with CNN that after discussing his plans with about 20 other conservatives in recent days, roughly half of them agreed with him and have decided not to attend the convention.

His reason: “Let the activists, let the people decide” who the nominee will be, rather than the politicians.

In other words, when this thing blows up – I don’t want to be anywhere near the place. Let “the people” handle that one.

* The pundits at NBC’s First Read had this take on the results of their latest poll in New York.

According to a new NBC/WSJ/Marist poll of New York — conducted entirely after the Wisconsin results — Donald Trump leads John Kasich by 33 points, 54%-21%, with Wisconsin winner Ted Cruz in third at 18%. In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton is ahead of Wisconsin victor Bernie Sanders by 14 points, 55%-41%. And it’s just not our poll; every New York survey we’ve seen has Trump above 50%… and has Clinton leading by double digits. It’s a reminder that, for all of the attention on momentum, demographics and geography continue to play the bigger role in these 2016 primary contests.

* This morning Sen. Chuck Grassley (Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee) had breakfast with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in order to “tell Garland to his face that the experienced, qualified jurist, who’s enjoyed bipartisan praise, will be the first high court nominee in American history to be denied a hearing and a floor vote.” But it’s the Ritual Cafe in Des Moines that is getting all the attention for how they chose to mark the occasion.

The cafe served up dishes including “obstruction oats,” “Supreme Court scrambled eggs,” “needthenine.org burrito,” “justice delayed bowl,” “Constitution quiche” and “Garland’s granola,” and drinks like a “confirmation coffee,” “Article 2 iced toddy” and “advice and consent cappuccino.”

* Finally, I’ve been talking a lot lately about President Obama’s legacy of designating national monuments via the Antiquities Act of 1906. Today’s addition is an historical rather than natural site.

The new Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument will protect the iconic house, which served as the National Woman’s Party headquarters , but it will also serve to elevate and amplify the stories, memories, and accomplishments of the many women who passed through its halls – each profoundly dedicated to securing women’s suffrage and equal rights in the United States.

Named for activist and suffragist Alva Belmont, former president of the National Women’s Party, and Alice Paul, the Party’s founder and chief strategist, the monument was originally acquired in 1929 – and quickly became a vital organ in the movement for women’s equality. Women filled its rooms daily, working tirelessly to draft petitions, organize protests, write letters, and provide each other with both the physical and emotional support necessary to sustain each other’s intense commitment.

President Obama attended the ceremony today at the new Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument and said this:

We do this to help tell the story of these suffragists. In these rooms, they pursued ideals which shouldn’t be relegated to the archives of history, shouldn’t be behind glass cases, because the story of their fighting is our story. I want young girls and boys to come here, 10, 20, 100 years from now, to know that women fought for equality, it was not just given to them. I want them to come here and be astonished that there was ever a time when women could not vote. I want them to be astonished that there was ever a time when women earned less than men for doing the same work. I want them to be astonished that there was ever a time when women were vastly outnumbered in the boardroom or in Congress, that there was ever a time when a woman had never sat in the Oval Office.

I don’t know how long it will take to get there, but I know we’re getting closer to that day, because of the work of generations of active, committed citizens.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.