The Republican establishment began losing its party to Donald Trump on May 24, 2000, at 5:41 p.m., on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Urged on by their presidential standard-bearer, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, and by nearly all of the business lobbyists who represented the core of the party’s donor class, three-quarters of House Republicans voted to extend the status of permanent normal trade relations to China. They were more than enough, when added to a minority of Democrats, to secure passage of a bill that would sail through the Senate and be signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

The legislation, a top Republican priority, held the promise of greater economic prosperity for Americans. But few could predict that it would cause a series of economic and political earthquakes that has helped put the GOP in the difficult spot it is in today: with the most anti-trade Republican candidate in modern history, Trump, moving closer to clinching the party’s nomination.

“I try not to regret things,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a Trump supporter who was one of 83 senators to vote for the China bill. “That’s one I regret.”

“The Republican electorate has gone along with their leaders, begrudgingly, for 20 or 30 years,” Sessions said. “I supported all these trade agreements ... but it’s becoming clear that the promises that were made weren’t true.”

The 2000 vote effectively unleashed a flood of outsourcing to China, which in turn exported trillions of dollars of cheap goods back to the United States. Over the next 10 years, economists have concluded, the expanded trade with China cost the United States at least 2 million jobs. It was the strongest force in an overall manufacturing decline that cost 5 milion jobs. Those workers were typically men whose education stopped after high school, a group that has seen its wages fall by 15 percent after adjusting for inflation.

For blue-collar workers, the economic and political effects of permanent normal trade relations with China have swamped the effects of any other trade decision in the past 25 years. Economic evidence suggests the North American Free Trade Agreement, which passed on a bipartisan vote in 1993, did not cause anywhere near the same level of factory layoffs or wage losses — or any meaningful challenge to the GOP’s pro-trade orthodoxy in presidential nominations.

Well, there is one explanation.

Another explanation has to do with the fact that white men don’t rule the business world any more and haven’t since the 70’s.  No more Mad Men?  Women, blacks, and foreign workers have gradually stepped into those jobs, squeezing some of the men out.

Colleges today certainly don’t look like colleges of 40 years ago either.  Women out-number men on campuses.  Women are segregated into all women’s schools.  Blacks, Latinos, Asians now make up large segments of campus demographics.

People like Trump seem to give people hope as he promises to rescue them from that which is “other.”

Meanwhile, products from China continue to poison our pets, cloth us, and impact our lives in just about every other way.  What were they thinking?  When I was a kid, anything that was cheap was labeled “Made in Japan.”  It should not have been a shock that goods made in China would be of the same low quality and take jobs away from Americans.

I guess some folks just wanted to live for the moment.

17 Thoughts to “Theory: Where did Trump come from?”

  1. Starryflights

    It took Jeff Sessions 15 years to figure out that vote was a mistake? Why does Alabama keep reelecting him?

  2. Pat.Herve

    Trump was created by the Republican Party. Oh, where to start.

    Just a few –
    The Birther’s were largely driven by racism. And the GOP continued to stoke the fires by embracing those that were birthers. When asked directly, many of the GOP leadership would not answer definitively or would slither out an answer instead of answering truthfully. Now that we have a candidate that was born in Canada, very little is being said.

    Dysfunction. Just look at the dysfunction in Congress – after complaining that the Dem’s were not creating a budget, lo and behold – the Republicans are failing to create a budget. No action on the Congress created problems that they can address. Just look at the Supreme Court nominee nonsense – McConnell stated over the weekend that he would not consider a nominee until the NRA gave that nominee it’s blessing – I did a word search on the Constitution and cannot find NRA. Why does the non-elected NRA get a say in the vote?

    Talking out of both sides of mouths – look at the recent debates – Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio both attacking Trump of using legal foreign labor and using corporate bankruptcy – positions that Cruz, Rubio and many Republicans want to expand. Just recently, Rubio and Cruz have tried to increase the number of visa’s for temporary workers – yet they are attacking Trump for taking advantage of legal programs.

    Building a wall – the Secure Act of 2006 and before that – the Republicans have been talking of building a wall – yet, they themselves fail to fund it. Just talking points and sound bites. Speaking of doing things, yet not doing it.

    Lowering taxes – this mission of cutting taxes, spending more and furthering deficits needs to stop. I want to pay the least amount of taxes that I can. But the reality is that we do need to fund our defense AND our Social Security and Medicare. We are creating more problems by not addressing those three. For DoD – $829 Billion for 2016 – surely there are some savings to be had in there. We spend more than the next 10 countries combined. Social Security and Medicare have there own funding stream and we should not be combining the SS and Medicare funds to prop up DoD spending. The US invested in the space program – and still reaps benefits from it. Where is the investment being made today?

    Fiscal responsibility – the Republicans can talk all the time of being the Fiscally responsible party – yet the actions show the opposite. From not funding Medicare Part D to Louisiana to Kansas – creating fiscal messes as they go along. Sure the Democrats have created problems too, but the Republicans wants one to think they they are the fiscally sound party.

    Globalization – When Reagan pushed through free trade with Canada – then later Bush I worked on NAFTA (Signed by Clinton) – it was the Union’s that were complaining because good middle class union jobs were being moved to lower wage countries. Congress doubled down on free trade, even giving corporate incentives (tax cuts and money) to companies to off shore jobs. Now, no job is safe – accountants, doctors and lawyers need to compete with their jobs being off shored. We are also importing (H1-B) educated labor to take over jobs that American’s DO want, but the H1-B holder will do for less. Now, companies are off shoring themselves in order to avoid paying taxes to any nation (yet they still want the US to protect world wide shipping lanes).

    Trump has talked about abolishing the EPA and DOE to help with the deficit – the Fox debate even fact checked him on it – where was Fox in 2012 or 2008 when all the candidates were spouting the same thing. Or when they talk of defunding Big Bird – how about defunding congressional printing and binding ($90Million), private gym (lifetime access), pension (let them have 401k where they currently get a 6% match), cafeteria, barber. Congress talks of cutting low level salaries yet, continues to give themselves a life of luxury. They want to defund Amtrak, yet expands their own private subway line.

    Why does a Congressman’s family get a better death benefit than a soldier? Why is Rubio going to get a pension even though he has served only one term?

    The Establishment is the reason why Trump is succeeding – and they are running scared that Trump will win and not be beholden to them. He will be able to abolish some of this wasteful spending that goes on. He is the only one who can say that he is not swayed by their money contributions.

  3. Pat, that is barely the tip of the iceberg but you have given us a good synopsis.

    What we have ended up with is Frankentrump.

    I get up every day and remind myself that I really don’t care. Just send me my checks.

    I am so disgusted with our local school board that I could scream. They are busy dicking around, reinventing history, and yet, kids have 30+ students per class and no effen textbooks. They have “classroom sets” which gather dust. Ask me if my school board member has responded to my inquiries on this yet?

    They don’t follow their own rules and policies. There simply is no discipline.

  4. Lyssa

    I think you’re trying to hijack this thread…..

    1. I think you are right, Lyssa, and realized it half way through my diatribe.

      On the other hand, everyone else does it.

      Maybe the fact that people don’t follow their own rules is at the heart of where Trump came from.

      You know, the idea that the rules are there for everyone else but me.

      Pat actually hit a home run. I shouldn’t have detracted from it. But then again…what did I just say about rules….everyone but me…

  5. Kelly_3406


    I agree with much of what you said except the part about racism driving the birthers. That may well be true, but it is a serious charge that should require substantiation. Much of the birther controversy was driven by Obama’s murky past, which still is not clear to this day. Cruz’s background is much better known, plus he is a Republican, who says all the things that the Tea Party wants to hear, so the circumstances of his past are more likely to be overlooked. Thus there is an explanation for the different treatment that does not necessarily involve race.

    1. I fail to see how Obama has a murky past. The fact that he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth might have something to do with the fact that we don’t know every detail of his childhood. Our past presidents born with a silver spoon have video recordings marking childhood birthday parties, prep school pictures, etc. Obama was a bi-racial kid mostly raised by middle class grandparents. Murky past? He seems a lot more normaL to me that someone like George Bush, George Bush the dad, or gasp….Donald Trump.

      I can’t stand him and think he is dangerous but Ted Cruz has every right to run for president. He was born an American. Location doesn’t count.

  6. Cargosquid

    Very interesting comment thread here on why people support Trump.


  7. Pat.Herve

    Trump is now one upping McConnell – McConnell wants to vet nominees with the NRA, Trump will allow the Heritage Foundation to vet the list before nomination.

    Sheesh – how can an elected official actually say that they are going to allow a non-elected outside organization to vet the list of Supreme Court Nominees – ……

    1. I don’t know. I am speechless. Talk about McConnell abdicating his responsibility.

  8. Censored bybvbl

    And they have the nerve to complain about an activist liberal court! No wonder most independents are ready to say “eff you and the horse you rode in on” to both parties.

    1. Totally agree, Censored!! I sure have.

  9. Lyssa

    Jeb Bush endorsed Cruz.

    1. I hope his mother smacks the living hell out of him. What is WRONG with him?

  10. Mom

    It wasn’t just that 1.5% Bush endorsed Cruz, it was all the other stuff he said about Trump as well. The Donald is probably loving the fact that Bush’s endorsement will likely have the opposite of the anticipated impact, driving even more to Trump. No candidate wants the establishment tag that comes with Jeb.

  11. Lyssa

    I’m sure Cruz won’t mind the tag if he’s buried under an onslaught of cash – besides he might be a VP contender to really pull in the other Republicans….

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