Permanent Minority: Not one senator has raised serious objections to the nomination of GOP Representative Rob Portman of Ohio as US trade representative, despite Portman’s long record of supporting unregulated free trade. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Portman “is expected to win easy confirmation by the Senate” even though he is Ohio’s lowest-ranked member of Congress by the US Business and Industry Council–the leading nonprofit representing America’s family-owned manufacturers and fighting for fair trade.

Toward the Majority: On a high-profile trip to Alabama, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold highlighted how free-trade policy is ravaging the region’s economy. Feingold is one of the few in the Senate with a credible record on trade; among potential presidential candidates, he’s the only one who voted against the China free-trade deal.