The New and Improved NAFTA Is the Best NAFTA Ever!

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Brad DeLong has a question:

The differences between Clinton’s NAFTA—which Trump called the worst trade deal ever—and the Trump-Lighthizer’s USMCA—of which Trump is very, very, very proud indeed: GREATEST TRADE DEAL EVER!! MAKES AMERICA GREAT!!!!—are either (a) trivial, (b) parts of the Trump-nuked Trans-Pacific Partnership, or (c) changes in auto parts rules of origin that are not on the manufacturers’ wish list and are not really on the United Auto Workers’ wish-list either.

How did this happen? Nobody I communicate with has yet managed to figure this out.

Brad, Brad, Brad. This has been Trump’s best strategy from the start: do something trivial and then market the hell out of it. Sure, there’s not much difference between NAFTA and New NAFTA, but there’s not much difference between Tide and New Tide, either. So what? It’s almost an axiom of marketing that success has no correlation with the intrinsic quality of the product being sold.

Even Trump is probably smart enough to know that he can’t actually solve any of the problems he campaigned on. But he doesn’t care. He just needs something, anything, that allows him to claim victory. That’s plenty for his fans, who believe everything he says.

However, this presents us with a different question: if all Trump needs is a little something, why is he actively sabotaging USMCA? He should be doing his best to bulldoze it over the finish line so that he has his little something. But he’s not. Why?

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate