I agree with almost everything you say, but I wonder what a different approach means in practical terms. Certainly it means the Democrats don’t support trade agreements without strict labor and regulatory standards which allow for tariffs if violated — so we don’t have to compete with near-slave labor where unions are suppressed.
But maybe we have to consider a few other uncomfortable issues. Coal. Maybe our environmental stands are too stringent. Maybe when we say, “There is no such thing as clean coal” we’re saying “F — you, I’m not listening.” It may be the coal is doomed for other reasons, but coal miner unions have always been the most radical — the only unions to defy anti-strike laws during WWII, and we libs cheered them as heroes when safely on the screen in movies like Matewan when they took up arms against Pinkerton thugs. What would those heroes think of the left now?
This other issue is even more uncomfortable. What if Black Lives Matter is screwing up? What if we as white affluent left coast progressives just don’t have the right to tell someone surviving the economic carnage of the rust belt that they suffer from “white privilege?” Maybe someone else needs to communicate that, and maybe find different language. But also BLM, when disrupting Bernie’s events and demanding an ideological terminology which isn’t “class reductionist, maybe they’re out of touch in that respect. Can I criticize black activists? Did the majority of African American voters reject Bernie’s “class reductionism” or were there other reasons he didn’t resonate with them? In any case, talking about white privilege works with left-learning college freshman. Not so well in rural Ohio. It should be different. But we just got hit with reality. Fact is, Bernie was earning those votes.
I know I will take flack for that. But a basic premise of discourse when we just got our asses handed to us is that nobody is granted immunity from criticism.
Michael Moore did try to warn us. I thought he was being melodramatic. But he was raised there. And lest we blame it all on the trade agreements, let’s remember that Roger and Me was filmed a decade before NAFTA. It was already happening.