In remarks that show how much Donald Trump may resonate with Reagan Democrats in a general election, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka conceded that probably all of his union members say “amen” when they hear Donald Trump blasting unfair trade deals that hurt American workers.
On Sunday, Meet The Press host Chuck Todd asked Trumka, “how many of your members hear Donald Trump talk about bad trade deals and say ‘amen?'”
Trumka responded that “probably every one that hears him say it’s a bad trade deal… they say amen that bad trade deals are bad for the country.”
Trumka mentioned that those on the left like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have also spoken out against deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Trump has fiercely opposed. The deal would undermine American sovereignty and potentially even allow a multinational body to rewrite some of America’s immigration laws.
Trumka also singled out Hillary Clinton for not taking a firm stance against the TPP. Clinton has tried to have it both ways on the TPP, and Trumka said that “if she doesn’t take a position on TPP, then you can say she is looking for our vote. If she does take a position on TPP, then she’s looking for our support.”
“The difference is if you get my vote, I come out on election day and pull the lever,” Trumka said. “If you’ve got my support, I get up at seven o’clock in the morning, I stuff 200 envelopes, I make seven calls, I go knock on a few doors, I get my neighbors all excited about voting for her as well. That’s what’s at stake for her.”
Trump has repeatedly said on the stump that smarter foreign negotiators have taken advantage of America’s “stupid” politicians in trade negotiations. He has said that since he knows the “greatest negotiators in the world,” he would have them negotiate trade deals on behalf of American workers. Trump has promised that other countries would not have a chance if they were dealing with the likes of Carl Ichan.
Trump’s candidacy has resonated with the so-called silent majority specifically because he supports trade deals and immigration laws that put American workers of all backgrounds first. Trump is currently leading Clinton in one national poll and doing better than Republicans have in the past with Democrats, especially non-white Democrats. Trump’s opposition to unfair trade deals and his pro-American worker immigration plan may compel enough blue-collar Democrats who could not pull the lever for Mitt Romney to consider his candidacy, especially against someone like Clinton who supports massive amnesty legislation (and waffled on unfair trade deals) that would hurt their interests.