Biden’s NAFTA Vote Is a Liability in the Rust Belt



Joshua Green | Bloomberg

Joe Biden has emerged as the Democratic front-runner thanks to a perception that his working-class roots and chummy relations with labor leaders make him the likeliest candidate to take back the Upper Midwest and beat Donald Trump. But that scenario is complicated by the former vice president’s decades-long record of backing free-trade deals that have helped hollow out the manufacturing core in several important electoral states.

From his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement as a Delaware senator to his backing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden played a key role over the last 30 years in advancing a trade agenda that’s now being reassessed by many experts and early proponents as its costs, including job losses, are becoming clearer.

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