Nov. 25, 2016
Michael Lind wrote for the National Review about how Republicans have a rare chance to reshape American politics:
Donald Trump won the presidency in an upset victory largely because of his appeal to the white working class in a number of industrial states that have been reliably Democratic for years. His denunciations of Chinese mercantilism and U.S. transnational corporations that offshore jobs to low-wage countries resonated strongly in the parts of the South and the Midwest where most U.S. manufacturing is concentrated — while shocking defenders of the bipartisan orthodoxy in favor of unrestricted globalization and mass immigration. Trump’s astonishing success shows the potential in American politics for a party of industry.
Since the 1990s, the Republican and Democratic establishments alike have shared the view that the U.S. should shed “old” industries such as manufacturing to other countries, in order to specialize in “knowledge industries” such as software and social media that employ a college-educated “creative class.” The declining share of employment in the goods-producing economy, as a result of automation and offshoring, makes this view superficially plausible.
But the tradable sector — including manufacturing, industrial agriculture, energy, and minerals, and dominated by large firms and complex supply chains — is far more essential to American prosperity than its share of employment might suggest. A dollar’s worth of manufactured-goods sales generates $1.33 in output from other sectors of the economy — compared with 66 cents for retail and 61 cents for professional and business services.