[Mrs] Clinton needs the support of working-class Ohioans – the very people who have been hurt the most by trade policy. To do that, she needs to stop insisting that trade is good. Her current stance is similar to wooing West Virginia coal miners by touting the benefits of non-carbon fuels. Similarly, she should stop talking about retraining and promising high-tech jobs, which only reminds voters of how hollow such programs have been in the past.That concluding paragraph is a standard response to regulatory arbitrage, but the paragraphs preceding it are not that far from "Trump digs coal" and "renegotiate bad trade deals."
Instead, Clinton should acknowledge that we have lost the trade war and pledge to use every legal means at her disposal to protect American workers and industries from the continued onslaught of imports. This would include initiating trade cases against countries that target American industries by subsidizing their exports, exploiting workers, manipulating their currencies, and polluting the environment.
She should threaten to impose tariffs on every imported product from countries that refuse to implement the same U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations and federal, state and local tax requirements that are imposed on American businesses.
I note, by way of being more Jesuit than the Pope, that there is no such thing as losing a trade war, although there might be policy errors that fritter away the traditional U.S. comparative advantage in knowledge-intensive advanced technology goods, or treat a temporary peace dividend as the new normal.
And thus might Donald Trump carry Ohio.