Wednesday 15 March 2017
It’s reassuring to hear that Bernie Sanders is campaigning again (Journal, 11 March), but the examples given of his fightback are hardly likely to keep the light-sleeping President Trump awake at night. The usual emphasis on ever-more protests will soon meet the “too many marches” law of diminishing returns, as will I fear the hopes that his young supporters will still feel “the Bern” when the election is five years away rather than being imminent. His call for the Democrats to have a progressive platform geared more to the fears of steelworkers and less to the priorities of the liberal elites won’t on its own see off an increasingly authoritarian Trump. To do that it will need to include policies to cope with potential Democratic voters’ concerns about future immigration and to propose concrete steps to protect American jobs from imports.
This will require the Democrats to consider a progressive form of protectionism that will benefit all countries. Its core aim should be the nurturing and rebuilding of local economies not just in the US but worldwide. To adequately protect domestic jobs will need a permanent reduction in the level of international trade in goods, money and services and the prioritising of the ability of nation states to control the level of migration that their citizens desire. Without such an approach, Sanders could make more likely the ghastly prospect of an eight-year-long Trump reign.
East Twickenham, Middlesex