Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington
General Electric isn’t waiting for the November election to render a verdict on globalization. With strong protectionist headwinds blowing at home and abroad, the industrial giant is making what CEO Jeff Immelt calls a “bold pivot” to localize operations within its world-spanning footprint. So while the company used to produce locomotives in one only one spot, for example, it now does so at multiple sites, in part to preserve market access and ensure it can weather the anti-trade tide. Immelt described the strategy Friday afternoon in a commencement address to New York University’s Stern School of Business, telling graduates they are entering the most volatile and uncertain global economy he’s ever seen.
As a political commentary, what’s striking about Immelt’s address is that he appears to be taking the new rash of protectionist rhetoric at face value. Some very recent history might suggest that’s a mistake. Recall that the last time Hillary Clinton ran for president, in 2008, she scrapped with Barack Obama over who’d make the toughest opponent of freer trade. But once in office, they worked together to craft the Trans Pacific Partnership, which Clinton belatedly disowned after she became a candidate again. The difference this season — as Immelt noted in his speech, without naming names — is that the presumptive nominees of both parties now agree on the issue. Donald Trump has made his hostility to past trade pacts a keystone of his candidacy, pledging to confront our trading partners and declaring just this week, “Who the hell cares about a trade war?”
Immelt knows Trump is drafting off of a deeper populist animus already convulsing the conservative movement. Last fall, when Congressional Republicans blocked the renewal of the Export-Import Bank, GE blamed the impasse for its decision to move 400 U.S. jobs to France. “Unlike the U.S., most countries are increasing their export financing,” Immelt said Friday. “So we will export turbines to Asia and the Middle East, made in France supported by French financing.” That flexibility, he suggested, needs to be a corporate hallmark for an era in which American-led global integration is no longer assured.
• Arizona and Georgia are now in play
Donald Trump may be opening up the Rust Belt and parts of the map to the Republicans with his tough talk on the economy, but his statements on immigration and other controversial topics have also brought traditional Republican strongholds Arizona and Georgia into the swing state category. Politico
• Republicans donors are looking to the Senate
It is no secret that many Republican bigwigs, including a lot of big money donors, aren’t big fans of Trump. Rather than sit this election out, though, many of these donors are instead looking to important Senate races for a place to send their checks. New York Times
• The DNC has an olive branch for Bernie Sanders
In an attempt to bring Bernie Sanders and his supporters back into the fold, the Democratic National Committee has offered to give the senator seats on a key platform committee at the national convention this summer. Still, the progressive wing led by Sanders could be fighting hard for its policies all summer. Washington Post
Around the Water Cooler
• Would Trump’s deportation plan work?
There has been a lot of debate about the morality and political efficacy of Donald Trump’s proposal to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. But would it even be possible, physically? Maybe not. New York Times
• Is there an Ivanka breaking point?
Ivanka Trump is in many ways everything her father isn’t: measured, levelheaded, and likeable. But with all of the times Donald Trump has said negative things about woman and minorities, how much longer will she be able to credibly be part of his campaign? The Atlantic
• Tom Cotton makes waves on criminal justice
In an era when many on both sides of the aisle want to address criminal justice reform, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton is staking out the other side of the aisle, saying that the United States actually has an “under-incarceration problem.” Politico