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Elliott Morss has spent most of his career teaching and working as an economic consultant to developing countries on issues of trade, finance, and environmental preservation.

Dr. Morss received a B.A. from Williams College in 1960 and a Ph.D. in political economy from The Johns Hopkins ... more

Taking Back the White House: The Democrats Need A New Platform and Leader

Date: Friday, June 30, 2017 1:50 PM EDT

Elliott R. Morss                          ©All Rights Reserved

 

Introduction

 

It is not a mystery why Trump won. Over the last few decades, many Americans lost well-paying middle class jobs, primarily because of labor saving automation. And they did not get them back during Obama’s eight year reign. Trump said he would bring jobs back by clamping down on China for illegal export subsidies and currency manipulation. So, dissatisfied and desperate, those who lost jobs voted for Trump.

 

But Trump’s solution will not work: as a recent McKinsey Global Institute study concluded:

 

“Trade and outsourcing explain only about 20 percent of the 5.8 million manufacturing jobs lost during the 2000-10 period; more than two-thirds of job losses can be attributed to continued productivity growth, which has been outpacing demand growth for the past decade.”

 

Just as Boston Celtics Coach Rick Pitino said after a disappointing season, “Larry Bird is not walking through that door….” the jobs being lost to productivity increases in manufacturing are not coming back. And that is not all: the well-paying jobs being lost in other production sectors, retail sales and professional services are not coming back either.

 

Did Sanders or Clinton offer any way to deal with this problem? Not really. Sanders talked about growing income inequalities and heavier taxes on the wealthy but never addressed the labor-saving automation challenge facing the nation (and the world).

 

What Should the Democrats Do?

 

Recently, Richard Rust, a Democratic political pundit said:

 

The 2016 results show the Democrats’ base is hardly reliable. The Obama coalition needed Obama to hold together. Blacks are not fully invested in the system. The same with Hispanics. Women are not the progressive bulwark some thought. And young voters lack the discipline to vote strategically. All the political forecasts predicting immutable demographic changes would move the nation leftward missed the countervailing force of white Americans who resent those left-leaning women, minorities and young folk. The ugliness that Trump unleashed won’t be bottled up anytime soon. Republican candidates will embrace it, as it clearly motivates their voters.

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