Quick Takes: Trumpism Ensures That the U.S. Will Be Left Behind

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* One of Trump’s first actions in the White House was to pull the United States out of the Transpacific Partnership trade deal. Afterwards, the 11 other countries continued to negotiate without us. Here is what Trump will face as he travels to Davos:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, which had been on life support since Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US a year ago, has finally been resuscitated.

The 11 remaining countries are expected to sign an amended agreement on 8 March in Chile, Australia’s trade minister, Steve Ciobo, has confirmed…

The timing of the deal is significant for Canada, which is trying to diversify its exports. US, Canadian and Mexican negotiators opened a key, week-long round of talks to modernise Nafta on Tuesday.

It is important to keep in mind that both Canada and Mexico are part of this TPP agreement, thereby minimizing Trump’s leverage in re-negotiating NAFTA.

* When it comes to other trade issues, Trump seems intent on shipping jobs overseas.

Donald Trump’s decision to impose a tariff on imported solar panels will cost the US solar industry about 23,000 jobs this year and risks slowing the growth of clean energy that would help address climate change, renewable energy advocates warned.

Trump has imposed a 30% tariff on foreign-made solar cells and modules, with the White House expressing alarm at a huge rise in imported components “spurred on by artificially low-priced solar cells and modules from China”.

But solar installers warned that the tariff, which will reduce to 15% within four years, will cost US jobs rather than protect them.

The Solar Energy Industries Association said 23,000 jobs would be lost in 2018, pointing out that most solar manufacturing in the US revolves around making parts for cheaper imported panels, rather than the cells and panels themselves.

The installation of panels accounts for around 130,000 further jobs.

* Speaking of losing jobs

Travel to the U.S. has been on the decline ever since President Donald Trump took office, and new data shows the slump translates to a cost of $4.6 billion in lost spending and 40,000 jobs.

The latest data from the National Travel and Tourism Office shows a 3.3 percent drop in travel spending and a 4 percent decline in inbound travel.

The downturn has also caused America to lose its spot as the world’s second-most popular destination for foreign travel, ceding to Spain.

* I’ll simply note that this is another in the long line of stories about how the Trump administration is feeding the swamp of corruption.

* Peter Spiliakos at the National Review thinks Sen. Tom Cotton has made a name for himself as just the kind of nativist Republicans are looking for in their next leader.

Tom Cotton has strengthened his chances of being the Republican presidential nominee someday. He was the most effective Trump surrogate and has earned the “fighter” reputation that Cruz wanted so desperately.

* Walter Hatch has written a very helpful primer on how the term “neoliberal” is being used today in contrast to its actual meaning and history.

Harvard philosopher Cornel West recently declared that Ta-Nehisi Coates, a journalist for the Atlantic, represents the “neoliberal wing” of the black liberation movement. Although he never bothered to define the concept, the charismatic activist-intellectual invoked neoliberalism eight times in his op-ed. Each time, he used it with disdain. Each time, he used it incorrectly…

As used by social scientists, neoliberalism refers to the radical laissez faire ideology that advocates unleashing markets as much as possible from government control. It is associated with a package of policies, including privatization, widespread deregulation, tax and spending cuts, tariff reductions, loosening of competition policy and so on.

* Good news from Florida!

Florida voters will decide this fall if 1.5 million felons will get their voting rights back.

Desmond Meade of Orlando and his group Floridians for Fair Democracy successfully gathered more than 799,000 certified signatures in their years-long petition drive, just a week before the deadline to reach the required total of about 766,000. On Tuesday, the state certified the initiative for the Nov. 6 ballot.

If approved by 60 percent of voters in the fall, the amendment would restore voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions after they fully complete their sentences, including parole or probation. Those convicted of murder or sexual offenses would continue to be barred from voting.

* Daniel Strauss writes that there is an opportunity for Democrats to turn Georgia blue.

Emboldened by statewide victories last year in Virginia and Alabama, Democrats are setting their sights this fall on another Deep South prize once thought to be out of reach: Georgia’s governorship, a seat the party hasn’t held in more than 15 years…

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll earlier this month showed that only 37 percent of voters in the state approve of the job Trump is doing, while 59 percent disapprove.

“This is a unique moment,” said Carter, a former state senator and grandson of Jimmy Carter. Though he conceded that the scandals surrounding Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore contributed to the party’s victory in Alabama, “The bottom line is if there’s a path to victory in Alabama — then in Georgia, the door is wide open.”

* Finally, Amber Mark is a new young talent to keep an eye on:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .