Philadelphia—Ripping Donald Trump’s “counterfeit campaign,” Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown used a speech on the last night of the Democratic National Committee to provide a lesson on how to demolish Donald Trump’s claim to be a champion of American workers.
The Republican presidential nominee has always been a false prophet of populism—a fact confirmed beyond debate by the New York billionaire’s selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence, an anti-union zealot who has supported free-trade pacts that devastate working families and the communities where they live, as his running mate.
But Brown explains that, even before the selection of Pence, it was easy to identify Trump as a scam artist when it comes to trade policy.
“I’ve been fighting for a trade agenda for more than 20 years that puts American workers first. And I can tell you, in all those years, I’ve never even seen Donald Trump. No—the only thing I’ve seen Donald Trump do when it comes to US trade policy is run his mouth and line his pockets,” Brown told the convention shortly before Hillary Clinton accepted the party’s presidential nomination.
Speakers on the closing night of a nominating convention always deliver their remarks in the shadow of the nominee.
But Democrats who are looking to develop necessary strategies for winning battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania (where Clinton is traveling on a post-convention bus tour) should reflect on the arguments Brown made—as he zeroed in on Trump’s true vulnerabilities in a way that only a true economic populist can. And Brown put those arguments to work for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who will need to pick up on those populist themes as she pursues a fall campaign in states that have been hard hit by failed trade policies and the anti-union agendas of most Republicans and some Democrats.
“While Trump outsources jobs, Hillary Clinton has a real plan to bring jobs back to America—like $10 billion in ‘Made in America’ tax credits to revitalize manufacturing,” said the senator. “Trump proposes tax cuts, too: $3 trillion for millionaires like himself and $2 trillion for corporations like his. Of course we can’t say for sure how much Trump will take for himself because he’s refused to share his tax returns with the American people.”
Clinton reportedly considered Brown as a potential vice presidential running mate. She did not choose him. But on Thursday night the senator from Ohio delivered a speech that illustrated why he was on the short list.