Reprinted from ZBlog by Lawrence Wittner on October 25, 2020.
Back in 2016, while campaigning for president, Donald Trump discovered a useful tactic for drawing the votes of disgruntled blue-collar workers: denouncing the loss of US manufacturing jobs and promising to restore them. At a rally in hard-hit Ohio, he assailed the Democrats and assured his listeners that he would turn the state into a “manufacturing behemoth.” Speaking in Detroit, he pledged “to restore manufacturing in the United States.” Addressing a campaign rally in Warren, Michigan, he declared: “If I’m elected . . . you won’t lose one plant, I promise you that.”
This proved such an effective political tactic that Trump continued to use it to garner support even after his election victory. In December 2016, speaking at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, the president-elect touted a deal he had struck with the air conditioning corporation to keep its jobs from moving to Mexico. “These companies aren’t going to be leaving anymore,” he promised. Visiting Lordstown, Ohio in early 2017, after General Motors announced some layoffs at its 4,500-worker auto plant, Trump urged workers not to move or sell their homes for, during his administration, those jobs were all going to be “coming back.”
In fact, rather than manufacturing jobs returning during the Trump administration, they have been departing. Admittedly, in the Trump presidential years before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the nation added approximately 500,000 manufacturing jobs. But this gain was more than offset by the loss of 647,000 manufacturing jobs since that time. …