A few reasons:
- The fiction that trade kills jobs is widespread. Sanders didn’t invent that idea. He appealed to Democrats who already believed it.
- While trade’s effect on jobs is not negative in the aggregate, anyone who loses their job to outsourcing doesn’t care (which is reasonable). By contrast, most people who gain jobs due to trade don’t realize that increased sales in foreign markets prompted their employers to hire.
- People on the left were more likely to object to the corporate benefits in the TPP, such as the patent regulations I mentioned.
- Republicans controlled the Senate and would not give Obama a “win,” so Democrats had little incentive to anger their anti-TPP constituents when they wouldn’t be able to ratify the deal anyway.
- Obama didn’t sell it very well.
- I prioritize geopolitics, but most Americans don’t.