1. What might explain the candidates’ and Democratic Party’s reversal of position on free trade? Which voting constituencies would be most likely to reject free trade? Why?
2. What leverage do the trade unions have in persuading Al Gore and other Democratic candidates to pay attention to their anti-free-trade position? Explain why these particular unions might be particularly powerful.
3. What trade-offs did Al Gore and other Democrats face in accommodating labor? Explain.
4. How can U.S. manufacturers compete with foreign producers? Are they doomed, as suggested by the president of the United Steelworkers of America? Explain.
5. Are the unions and their members right to be concerned about the effects of free-trade policies? What are these effects that they are concerned about? Who would be helped and who would be hurt if the unions got their way on trade? Explain.
6. In 2007, Senator Obama’s campaign called Hillary Clinton ‘‘the senator from Punjab,’’ referring to her and her husband’s close political and economic ties to India. However, in 2010, President Obama traveled to India with an entourage of almost 250 businesspeople to drive home the message that India could be a goldmine for American jobs. What might account for the turnaround in Barack Obama’s public position on the importance of India for American jobs?
In fall 1993, President Clinton was lobbying hard for passage of NAFTA but facing tough opposition from Ross Perot, among others. To help get out the administration’s message and build congressional and popular support, Vice President Al Gore agreed to go on CNN’s Larry King Live to debate—and discredit—the Texas billionaire. During the debate, Al Gore talked about the critical importance of NAFTA to the future of the United States. ‘‘This is a major choice for our country of historic proportions,’’ Gore said. ‘‘Sometimes we do something right; the creation of NATO, the Louisiana Purchase, Thomas Jefferson did the right thing there, the purchase of Alaska. These were all extremely controversial choices, but they made a difference for our country. This is such a choice.’’ Elaborating, Gore then said, “This is a choice between the politics of fear and the politics of hope. It’s a choice between the past and the future.” The reviews for Gore’s performance were solid, with most observers agreeing that he won the debate.