Opinion writer


Some of our wisest political observers informed us that Brexit would be great news for Donald Trump, because it shows (somehow) that there may be more support here than expected for his nationalist message of restoring American greatness through restrictionist immigration policies and turning the clock back on globalization.

So it’s a bit surprising to see that a new Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll shows that Brexit will not influence the votes of a majority of Americans, and if anything, may benefit Hillary Clinton marginally more than Trump:

A majority of U.S. voters — 57 percent — say they don’t expect the U.K. verdict will influence their vote in the presidential election. For the roughly quarter who say it will, almost half say it will make them more likely to support Democrat Hillary Clinton, while 35 percent say Republican Donald Trump.

This is only one poll, so don’t place too much stock in it, but I wanted to highlight it to make a broader point: There is simply no reason to assume that the debate over globalization, which Trump joined with a big speech on trade yesterday, will automatically play in the Donald’s favor. Indeed, Trump is running a massive scam on American workers on many fronts, and the contrast between his positions and those of Hillary Clinton on trade and other economic matters may prove more important in the end than his blustery rhetoric.

Neil Irwin has a good piece this morning on Trump’s big trade speech, in which he pledged to rip up our trade deals with his stubby little fingers large and powerful hands and to bring manufacturing roaring back. As Irwin notes, Trump is right to highlight the very real possibility that trade deals have badly harmed American workers, and that elites have in many respects let those workers down. (Bernie Sanders, too, is rightly calling on Democrats to fully reckon with this phenomenon.) But as Irwin also notes, Trump is selling American workers a highly simplistic, anachronistic tale that doesn’t level with them about the likelihood of reversing trends in globalization and automation that are partly responsible for workers’ current plight.

I would add an important point: Clinton is offering these workers substantially more than Trump is. Clinton has also pledged to renegotiate trade deals and to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Whether or not you see that as opportunistic, Clinton has also outlined detailed plans for programs that would try to use tax credits and federal spending to make American workers and businesses more competitive in the global economy. I am not aware of any detailed plans from Trump to do this. Trump’s message is that through his manly prowess, he will kick the asses of other countries and parasitic illegal immigrants and make us all insanely rich again, not that he sees a specific, programmatic role for the federal government in boosting wages, promoting domestic manufacturing, and helping displaced workers.

While it’s true that Trump has promised to spend on infrastructure at home, Trump’s tax plan — which confers an enormous windfall on the rich — would result in a nearly $10 trillion decline in revenues over the next decade. In practice this likely means that, unlike Clinton, he would not try to get Congress to spend substantially on helping American workers. While Clinton has vowed to invest money in helping displaced coal miners, and to invest in clean energy, Trump vaguely promises to put all those coal miners back to work again, which isn’t going to happen. Meanwhile, Clinton supports raising the federal minimum wage to at least $12 per hour. But while Trump has vaguely said workers need higher wages, he has come out for eliminating the federal minimum. Again, all he’s really saying is that he’ll magically make us all so filthy rich that we won’t have to worry ourselves with difficult policy choices. The vow that mass deportations will make the American workforce great again is also a straight-up scam.

The choice is not necessarily between Trumpian turn-back-the-clock proctectionism and throw-workers-to-the-wolves free trade. Clinton is offering up detailed plans for spending and tax credits and economic regulations that would help workers amid large economic trends she believes can’t be reversed. There is no reason to presume that Trump’s simplistic tale will carry the day politically.


 * TRUMP CALLS FOR EXPANSION OF TORTURE: In the wake of yesterday’s terrorist attack in Istanbul, NBC News reports that Trump responded by calling again for an expansion of torture at a rally last night:

“Can you imagine them sitting around the table or wherever they’re eating their dinner, talking about the Americans don’t do waterboarding and yet we chop off heads? They probably think we’re weak, we’re stupid, we don’t know what we’re doing, we have no leadership. You know, you have to fight fire with fire.”

As NBC archly noted: “It was unclear if Trump was advocating for the United States to allow the same kind of behaviors that ISIS and other terror groups employ.”

 * POLL SHOWS CLOSE RACE: A new Quinnipiac poll finds that Hillary Clinton is edging Donald Trump among voters nationally by only two points, 42-40. Interestingly, this poll shows Trump leading Clinton on handling ISIS by 52-39, but it also shows Clinton leading on responding to international crises by 51-42.

This new poll is very much at odds with most recent polls, which have shown Clinton with larger leads. The polling averages put the race at 46-39.

* GOP CONVENTION COULD BE A DISASTER: The Post has a well reported look at all the problems that are shaping up around the GOP convention:

Dozens of well-known Republicans aren’t showing up. There’s no word yet on who will speak. A growing number of corporate sponsors are taking a pass. Groups of white supremacists and other agitators are on the way, while the official protest routes are frantically being redrawn after being thrown out in court….A plan to allow convention to vote however they want, rather than follow the results of their state’s primary, has earned the support of hundreds of delegates upset by Trump’s impending nomination.

It would be pretty amusing if Trump, the grand master of reality TV entertainment, didn’t even manage to put on a good show.


Hate groups are planning a visible presence among the thousands of protesters at the Republican National Convention. Police departments are raising flags about Cleveland’s preparedness to host the event. The committee organizing the convention recently warned that any last-minute changes to the city’s protest restrictions could make it impossible to guarantee conventiongoers’ safety….It’s all forming a backdrop of uncertainty and anxiety less than three weeks before delegates congregate to nominate Donald Trump for president.

I’m so old I can remember when Trump hinted at “riots” from his supporters if Republicans try to take the nomination from him.

* TRUMP HAS A BIG DATA DISADVANTAGE: The Washington Examiner’s David Drucker reports that Trump’s campaign is lagging far behind Clinton’s in developing a data-driven voter turnout operation. And:

With only 131 days until the election, and early and absentee voting starting even sooner, it’s doubtful that Trump has enough time to develop, test and deploy effective voter turnout technology….In a close race, generally 3.5 points or less, the campaign with the more productive turnout operation could be the difference between winning and losing.

Don’t worry, Trump’s data operation will be huge and tremendous, you’ll see.

* TEAM CLINTON PLANS MAJOR AD BLITZ: CNN reports that the Clinton campaign and its allies are set to spend $13 million on ads next week:

Clinton’s campaign has reserved about $7.5 million in advertising time the week of July 4, according to advertising records….Clinton’s super PAC, Priorities USA, plans to spend $5.5 million, with both groups devoting most of their cash to Florida and Ohio. The billionaire’s campaign has yet to air a single general-election advertisement, and has none booked for next week.

Don’t worry, Trump’s ads will be huge and tremendous, you’ll see.

* AND CLINTON EMPLOYS SURROGATES TO HIT BACK ON TRADE: With Trump renewing his claim that Clinton supports free trade deals that have hammered American workers, the Clinton camp deployed Sherrod Brown of Ohio to strike back as follows:

“With all of his personal experience profiting from making products overseas, Trump’s the perfect expert to talk about outsourcing,” Mr. Brown said, reciting a list of Trump products, from suits to picture frames, that he said were made in other countries. “We know just in my state alone where Donald Trump could have gone to make these things,” he added.

Look for more of that. Trump would respond that, yes, he’s made a killing through outsourcing, so he gets the scam — and now he’ll put his scamming talents to work for America.