Are the Democrats miscalculating on trade?

More

Ron Brownstein asks whether the Democrats' increasingly strident anti-trade line might be a political mistake as well as an economic one (the link expires in a week). Writing from Miami, he notes the signs of international connectedness wherever he looks. Can Democrats plausibly tell their supporters in such places that they would be better off if the US retreated from world markets?

This is the side of the international economic story that Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton obscured in Ohio with their spiraling denunciations of free trade. But many of America's most vibrant communities are benefiting enormously from their connections to the global economy. What's more, most of these communities, the places that would suffer most if America tried to wall out the rest of world, are becoming Democratic strongholds. This means that in seeking to retreat from globalization, Democrats are threatening the interests of voters and communities increasingly central to their electoral coalition. "The Democrats are in all the globally connected places," says Robert Lang, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech University. "They are biting the hands that feed them."

Lang and his colleagues, in a paper dated March 21, identified the 20 American metropolitan areas most thoroughly integrated into the global economy. The researchers ranked the cities along four dimensions: the presence of global service firms (such as advertising, law, and financial services); whether the area has a major port; whether it has an international airport; and the value of exports that pass through it.

At the top of the list stand New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami. They are followed by Atlanta, Washington, Boston, Dallas, and Houston. The second 10 start with Seattle and Philadelphia and end with Phoenix and San Jose, Calif.

These globally connected cities retain many differences. But they generally share an expansive outlook marked by receptivity to foreign markets, foreign investment, immigration, and ethnic diversity. "They are the places where when you walk into a building, they have clocks set all around the world," Lang says. In the 1980s, as Hispanic immigration surged, a popular South Florida bumper sticker read, "Will the last American to leave Miami bring the flag?" Today, notes Ojeda, most Miami leaders of all races recognize "that our international [population] base has given us the economy we have."
Jump to comments
Presented by

Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgment, and what it means to love their bodies


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In