WSJ: Two Articles Show How “Trump Country” Depends On Foreign Trade And Immigration!

Bob Davis writes in the WSJ on Jan. 30:

“WASHINGTON—Should the U.S. get embroiled in a trade war, communities that voted for Donald Trump are likely to take a bigger hit than those that voted for Hillary Clinton, according to a study by the Brookings Institution.

Brookings measured what it called the export intensity of urban areas around the country—meaning local goods and service exports as a percentage of local GDP in 2015—to get a picture of those places most dependent on access to the global economy. The most export-intensive places tended to be smaller cities in the Midwest and Southeast—solid Trump country—rather than the big metropolitan areas that went heavily for Mrs. Clinton.
“Trump communities are relatively more reliant on trade,” said Mark Muro, head of Brookings’s metropolitan policy program. “They are smaller communities with less flexibility” to adapt to a cutoff in trade.

“Disruption could be especially troubling for those places,” he said. Brookings said it traces exports back to the point where value is added via production, rather than where goods and services are shipped. The latter gives too much weight to big ports.

Columbus, Ind., a center of machine-making, is the most export-reliant city in the country, Brookings found. The GDP of the city of 46,000, which voted 2 to 1 for Mr. Trump, is 50.6% dependent on exports. Three other Indiana cities—Elkhart, Kokomo and Lafayette—are among the top 10 cities dependent on exports.

The work by Brookings researchers is in some ways the complement to the better-known work of economists David Autor,Gordon Hanson and David Dorn, who identified the localities most vulnerable to Chinese import competition.”

Will Connors writes in the Jan. 31 WSJ:

“An array of Republican and Democratic officials from across the Rust Belt and Midwest are united in concern about President Donald Trump’s clampdown on refugees and certain immigrants for one overriding reason: Their communities need more people.

Large Democratically-controlled “sanctuary cities” including Chicago, San Francisco and New York have been outspoken in resisting the administration’s ban on refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, citing political and moral reasons.

But officials from a second tier of smaller cities, from Columbus, Ohio, to Troy, Mich., to Garden City, Kan., are highlighting the economic importance of welcoming refugees and immigrants to bolster declining populations and add manpower, skills and entrepreneurial know-how.

“I understand that the president is trying to protect the U.S. However, there are many good people that have located here that are escaping wars and political actions, and they’re just looking for a chance to raise their families in a safe environment,” said Janet Doll, a Republican city commissioner in Garden City, Kan. “The immigrants we have here are productive members of society. They have nice jobs and want to contribute to the quality of life in our community.”


We haven’t even gotten around to the Trump Administration’s next initiative: an attack on legal immigration to the U.S., family members, workers, both temporary and permanent, and refugees, which was covered in one of my earlier blogs.

Perhaps, instead of stirring the pot for a fruitless “can’t win war” on a well-qualified conservative Supreme Court nominee (actually, along with taking Ivanka to be with the family of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens at Dover AFB, one of the most reasonable things Trump has done since Jan 20) the Democrats should take the “high road.”  Democrats might also want to do some thinking about how to “build bridges” with with some of these folks in “Trump Country” who are more likely to find economic disappointment, than economic success, in the Trump Administration’s blunderbuss assault on loyal allies, trading partners, and immigrants of all types who fuel the success of the real America (not just Washington, D.C. or “big cities”).

President Trump proved that he could win a comfortable (even if not the “landslide” he likes to claim) electoral victory with only 46.1% of the popular vote.  That’s about 40% “Trump base” and a critical 6.1% who might have voted for Obama or Bernie Sanders in earlier elections, but pulled the lever for Trump this time around.  If the Democrats don’t come up with a workable strategy to connect with and “peel off” at least some of those voters, Trump will likely be headed  for a second term even if he never gets support from a majority of American voters. In that case, Democrats will long for the days when screwing around with an otherwise well-qualified conservative Supreme Court nominee was their biggest problem.