As I was driving around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area last night, I had Minnesota Public Radio on. They were irritatingly dull about the primary elections. All they discussed was numbers. Polls this, polls that. Blah blah blah. It got old.
But then, something caught my ear that made me run my car off the road, knocking over a fire hydrant – which was good, because I saved money on a badly needed car wash.
The hosts were discussing the voters’ in Michigan, a week earlier, who answered an exit poll about US foreign trade. Overwhelmingly, Michigan voters were either skeptical of trade or were dead set against it. Then, the focus turned to the campaigns from last night, surmising that the issue wasn’t really about trade, being that Hillary won Ohio with a convincing win. Hillary is pro-trade (unless she isn’t).
But here’s the problem:
What exactly does trade mean? Are people against the United States exporting goods and services to other nations? Are they against imports? Are they specifically against the TPP, NAFTA, or the like? Do they even know what those trade deals are, other than the acronym?
Those are the sorts of hard-hitting facts I would love to hear during election season. I don’t give a rats rear end about the percentage of people who think something. I want to hear why.
Then, the fire hydrant hitting comment came out of the MPR host’s mouth:
“Donald Trump is against trade.”
I had to laugh. Donald Trump wouldn’t know what “trade” was if he was sitting on a Chinese tanker ship, headed for the port of LA, full of Walmart supplies. He proves that, every time he opens his mouth and says, “Mexico’s trade deficit with the US is $58 billion. They can afford to pay for the wall. Believe me. I can tell you.”
Dude. Orange headed goon. Trade doesn’t work like that. A trade deficit does not mean a country owes us money, nor does it mean that we are “losing” or, in Trump’s words, “aren’t winning anymore.” It’s simply a dollar comparison on what we consume (imports) vs. what we export. Quite frankly, a high trade deficit needs other economic inputs to determine if that parameter is indicative of an unhealthy economy, or, as Trump would say, “Get that guy out of here!”…oh wait…I can’t find the right soundbite in this gaggle of a word salad.
And yet his followers eat it up. And numbers hungry media hosts report on the shallow crap of purported positions.