By Tom Huddleston Jr. and Alan Murray
June 15, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s moves on trade this weekend were discouraging to watch. She kept mum prior to the vote on Friday, didn’t mention the topic in her big announcement speech on Saturday, and then came out Sunday backing Nancy Pelosi – who opposed the trade deal — rather than President Obama. Perhaps her goal is to help broker a final deal. But her disingenuous dance on this important issue adds to public confusion and cynicism.

 

In her announcement speech Saturday, candidate Clinton said: “Advances in technology and the rise of global trade have created whole new areas of economic activity and opened new markets for our exports, but they have also displaced jobs and undercut wages for millions of Americans.” True enough. But as she knows, you can’t stop the latter by blocking the former. “Shared prosperity” has to start with prosperity.

 

Clinton’s business-minded supporters say her dance is a necessary campaign compromise, and her support for free trade is well established. But here’s the thing: campaigns have consequences. What is said between now and November 2016 will circumscribe what happens afterwards. If Hillary Clinton makes populist pandering the core of her campaign, she’d be hard pressed not to make it a pillar of her presidency.

 

I’m writing this from Heathrow airport, on my way to FORTUNE’s Most Powerful Women Summit in London. More on that tomorrow.

 

 

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

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