Democrats betray workers yet again

The United States Senate has voted to end debate (the seemingly automatic filibuster) on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that will enable the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals to bypass the possibilities of amendments or filibusters for ratification.[1] My Democratic Party apologist friends will undoubtedly point to majority Democratic Party votes against the deal as a way of excusing their party for blame.

This doesn’t cut it for two reasons. First, the president who wants this deal so badly is a Democrat. Second, while it is true that many Democrats opposed the deal, in the end, the party supplied enough votes to allow TPA to pass what is apparently the last major procedural hurdle.[2] And so Barack Obama will get to get to shaft workers yet again.[3] And the Democratic Party remains culpable for having failed to protect ordinary people on not just this but numerous occasions, so much so that Thomas Frank blames Democrats for the rise of the right[4] and the rise of the Tea Party.[5]

There is nothing in this outcome that shows how voting for Democrats averts neoconservative and neoliberal outcomes. And my Democratic Party friends still need to come to terms with that.

  1. [1]Jonathan Weisman, “Senate Hands a Victory to Obama on Trade Pact,” New York Times, June 23, 2015,
  2. [2]Jonathan Weisman, “Senate Hands a Victory to Obama on Trade Pact,” New York Times, June 23, 2015,
  3. [3]David Benfell, “The TransPacific Partnership and the capitalist revolution,” Not Housebroken, June 11, 2015,; David Benfell, “Presidential arrogance and the ‘mandate of heaven’,” Not Housebroken, June 12, 2015,
  4. [4]Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? (New York: Henry Holt, 2005).
  5. [5]Thomas Frank, Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right (New York: Metropolitan, 2012).

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