Will Obama Try to Cement Trade Deals?

This is a critical period for President Barack Obama regarding free trade agreements, so much so that it may determine whether his last two years are utterly wasted. Obama has stated his support for both the Trans Pacific Partnership and the new pact with the European Union, but there is a real question as to how much effort he is willing to put towards passage this year.

The US position on big trade deals appears to be a moderate, center one at present. That could be problematic. The majority of the Democratic Party seems to be shifting to the left, if the recent elections are any indication. The GOP has already shifted noticeably to the right. This all makes compromise very hard.

The left wing of the Democratic Party hates these deals with a passion and sees them as detrimental to the position of the worker in the US, even if facts strongly suggest otherwise. It is a guaranteed vote-getter in the communities these campaigning Democrats need. If the president backs the trade deals, he risks pushing some of his left-leaning supporters away. To back down risks compromising the growth of the US economy. But Obama, in the past, boasted better poll numbers, and there were more within the ranks of the Democrats who wanted his blessing.

Now the question is, with the attention shifting to who the Democratic standard bearer will be in the 2016 race, has Obama lost his ability to take his own party in a direction it doesn’t want to go.

- Chris Kuehl, PhD, Armada Corporate Intelligence

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