Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Following NH defeat, Rubio says The Donald is all talk, no action when it comes to factory jobs.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) didn’t have the best time in New Hampshire. First the 2016 presidential candidate took a beating courtesy of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Saturday’s GOP debate, then he ended up finishing fifth in Tuesday’s big primary.

But hey, it’s a new day. Rubio isn’t giving up yet — and he’s going after Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and his success talking about manufacturing.

Here's Rubio on the Today Show on Wednesday:

“New Hampshire has been a state that has been badly hurt by, for example, losing jobs to China, the closing of mills, the loss of our manufacturing base, and Donald really tapped into that. And I think that’s an important topic and it needs to be discussed, without a doubt. But ultimately, to be president, you can’t just go around telling people what’s wrong, you have to tell people how you are going to fix it. We just had a conversation about depth. I mean, where are the policy ideas about how we are going to bring manufacturing back? It’s not just enough to say you are going to do it, I think voters deserve to know how you are going to do it.”

He then shared a few policy ideas of his own, including energy, tax and regulatory reform.

Rubio’s remarks are pretty significant. The establishment darling is acknowledging something that we’ve been saying for quite some time — Trump is tapping into real anger about the devastation the loss of manufacturing jobs has had on the middle class. Trump is blustery (some call him offensive) but he has recognized many Americans are mad about factory job loss and want something done about it.

Now it looks like Rubio is paying attention, and that’s good for the discussion about manufacturing job growth.

While we’re happy that Rubio is talking manufacturing, we’ll note that one reason Trump is gaining so much momentum with manufacturing is that he recognizes that our lopsided trade relationship with China is why we’ve lost so many manufacturing jobs. It’s actually pretty bipartisan— Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic winner in New Hampshire, also has cited unfair trade deals (including trade with China) as being bad for workers and helping to cause income inequality.

Rubio’s manufacturing ideas are a good start. But we hope he shares more of them as he makes his way through South Carolina, Nevada, Texas and other primary battleground states — especially what he would do to address unfair trade with China.