Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

What happens in China, doesn’t stay in China.

With the South Carolina and Nevada primaries quickly approaching, trade-talking candidates are making headlines. Donald Trump has a strong lead in South Carolina and Sen. Bernie Sanders is neck and neck with Hillary Clinton in Nevada.

While some are still trying to figure out how two ideological edges are winning votes, The New Yorker has the answer:

Even before the Trump and Sanders victories in New Hampshire last week, the surface parallels between the men had attracted lots of comment: both are insurgents, channelling widespread political disaffection. Less apparent, but more interesting, is the fact that they’re also channelling profound disaffection with three decades of American economic policy. Trump and Sanders are popular not just because they’re expressing people’s anger but because they offer timely critiques of American capitalism.

And these critiques of American trade policy keep coming. In the Palmetto State, Trump continues to call China out for "ripping off" Americans, and often designates Vietnam and Mexico are the next trade cheaters, while Sanders spent Monday night telling supporters in Dearborn, Michigan, that corporate America needs to invest in America, and "not just China." Past trade deals like NAFTA didn’t fare any better with Sanders, who called it “disastrous” and "phony."

Meanwhile, other candidates -- particularly those in the Republican field -- continue to only hint at trade policies. But if you’re wondering how all of this explains Clinton’s big lead in South Carolina ahead of its Democratic primary next week, take a peek at her trade policy – it is the most detailed plan we have seen so far. Coincidence? We think not.

It will be hard to say goodbye to more candidates in the coming weeks, but one thing is for sure – trade is a popular topic in 2016, and voters have their eyes on it. Where does your candidate stand on American trade policy?