Recent approval ratings have shown another side of Trump’s controversial presidency. One way Trump is attempting to improve his ratings is by removing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a trade policy for the United States, and replace it with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA is a shoddily put together evolution of NAFTA and rather than being an agreement with legitimate merit and goals for longevity, reflects rather a symbolic milestone for Trump’s presidency and is something he will anchor his next election onto.
The USMCA feeds into all of the fears that Americans, especially Trump voters, have. It boasts promises of new manufacturing jobs on U.S. soil with a plan to increase automobile production domestically, as well as market Mexico as less of a threat to American workers because of the agreement’s goal to increase Mexican workers wages and regulations. This plan sounds like a dream, and a sturdy solution that Democrats and Republicans can both find appealing and moderate but the real question comes when looking at the politics and implementation of this new trade policy.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refuses to approve of the agreement until significant changes concerning the environmental and ethical standards regarding labor rights are further discussed and hammered out. Democrats have poked holes in the argument that this is the perfect replacement for NAFTA because of how little this agreement has been fleshed out.
At the end of the day, the USMCA is nothing more than an attempt for Trump to coerce his voters into thinking he got something accomplished. Trump is trying to satiate his voters by quelling their fears and confirming that he can in fact save their jobs and help them maintain their middle-class blue-collar lives. By passing the USMCA, Trump secures not so much a better trade deal for the U.S. but rather a guarantee that his voters will stick around for the 2020 election because he further distances himself from the coastal elite politicians and makes American voters think that he is a president for the people, when in fact he is only looking out for himself.