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What Elizabeth Warren’s Trans-Pacific Partnership Critique Means For The Democratic Party

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What Elizabeth Warren’s Trans-Pacific Partnership Critique Means For The Democratic Party

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's TPP critique puts Democrats at a key crossroads.

Elizabeth Warren can change her party. And she knows it.

As the media speculates on the possibility of a Clinton-Warren ticket, the progressive Massachusetts senator is calling on the Democratic platform committee to take an explicit stand against the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a move that puts Democrats at a crossroads ahead of Friday’s platform meeting in Orlando.

The controversial, Obama-backed trade deal, known as “TPP” for short, looks to open up trade among the U.S. and eleven other Pacific Rim countries, as close as Canada and as far as Vietnam.

And so far, the Democrats’ platform committee has tip toed carefully around the pact, which has proponents and opponents on both sides of the aisle. Current language in the platform says that “there are a diversity of views in the party.”

Warren is looking to change that. In a video released on Thursday for the progressive activist group CREDO, she slammed the TPP as a “lousy” deal that would let “giant corporations rig the rules.”

Warren is primarily opposed to a key provision in the agreement known as the investor state dispute settlement, or ISDS, which would allow foreign companies to contest American law through an independent arbitration system — and reap millions if they win. Congress cannot pass an amended version of TPP without ISDS.

Contrary to the purported goal of protecting American investment abroad, the TPP would create “open season on laws that make people safer but that cut into corporate profits,” Warren says in Thursday’s video.

Although Clinton, Sanders, and Trump (yes, that’s right — Trump) have all expressed their opposition to the trade deal, the platform committee rejected an amendment to explicitly oppose TPP in the party platform.

Robert Borosage, of the progressive Campaign for America’s Future, argued that the anti-TPP amendment failed to pass because it lacked support from committee delegates chosen by Clinton and the DNC. Indeed, Clinton supported TPP as secretary of state and only changed her position on the pact once she entered the presidential race, according to PolitiFact.

While Warren has made her objections to the deal well-known — she gave at least two speeches urging Congress to oppose the deal earlier this spring — her latest criticism comes at a complex moment in the 2016 race.

For some commentators, criticism coming from an increasingly well-known progressive stalwart means death in no uncertain terms for one of two things: either a Clinton-Warren ticket, or the TPP itself.

By picking Warren in the midst of her crusade against the trade pact, it would be difficult for Clinton — and her many Democratic supporters — to support the carefully measured criticism of TPP as expressed in the current platform. (Warren, a noted firebrand, does not seem likely to back down from her position anytime soon.)

Conversely, if Clinton wants the Democratic Party to maintain its middle-of-the-road stance on the pact, a Warren VP choice would be… complicated. A pro-TPP coalition made up of Obama and members of Congress will be more likely to weather the current swell in anti-trade sentiment without rebuke from the Democrats’ presidential ticket — or, for that matter, the party platform.

Many have already raised doubts about Warren, a vocal critic of Wall Street, as a VP pick for Clinton. Her video message may solidify the rationale for keeping the populist out of the presidential race, though it’s Clinton’s prerogative.

As for Obama and other TPP backers, meanwhile, the forecast is grim. Regardless of who Clinton chooses as her running mate, Warren’s strong words — and growing presence — can only hurt efforts to pass a trade effort years in the making.


Photo: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren advocates against the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a video from progressive activist group CREDO. Screenshot via YouTube



  1. peter wang July 7, 2016

    In-your-face lying CRONY Hillary stated that TPP free trade agreement is not good for the American people during her primary against Bernie Sanders, and now she has turned 180 degree in flavor of the TPP free trade agreement. CRONY Hillary will say anything to get votes but will not keep her promises to the American. What a lying CRONY for Wallstreet.

    1. JPHALL July 8, 2016

      Where did you find this change of heart? Please post you source.

    2. Daniel Jones July 8, 2016

      Dick Dick… you are a naïf.


      She has stayed uncommitted until she has breathing space top make her choice as President reviewing the facts. Obama did the same damn thing about Gay Marriage until he had his ducks in a row, *then* he committed himself.


      The very fact she has a firebrand like Warren to speak out where she cannot until the facts are in are a good sign she’s going to take a measured stance at first, take an issue’s measure, then strike hard as she sees fit. In all honesty–that’s Presidential.


      “Hey so the time is right for a palace revolution
      ‘Cause where I live the game to play is compromise solution..”–The Rolling Stones, *Street Fighting Man*

      1. Zye Zxe July 11, 2016

        The problem is … Senator Warren is more respected and people willing to follow her … because of something something Ms Hillary completely lacks … trust to do what is right.

    3. jmprint July 8, 2016

      But you are ok with the alternative, Trump is against TPP so he says and ALL the republicans want TPP. What side of the rope are you on?

      1. Zye Zxe July 11, 2016

        So we have to select from the two worst possible candidates running for the Oval Office. Trump is a male Sarah Palin and Ms Hillary is Tricky Dick Nixon in drag.

        oh the horrors !

        1. jmprint July 11, 2016

          HIlliary’s lying, does not compare to Trump. Trump steals from his employees and his vendors, he has fraud, racketeering and rape criminal accusations pending. He if by far not worthy of the presidency. Trump knows what he is doing, Palin doesn’t, he has ONE goal and that to take him to the top of elite like Putin, no thanks, don’t want that type of leader. Hilliary can move us forward to repair this nation.

    4. LCR78 July 8, 2016

      When did she change her mind again? Show your proof or retract your statement.

      1. Zye Zxe July 11, 2016

        just read Ms Hillary’s lying lips

  2. The lucky one July 8, 2016

    “Clinton supported TPP as secretary of state and only changed her position on the pact once she entered the presidential race, according to PolitiFact.”

    Does anyone doubt that HRC ‘s flip flop was due to the effect Sanders had on the campaign? Does anyone doubt she will re flip to support of TPP if she is elected? The failure of the platform committee to include a rejection of TPP is telling.

    1. Zye Zxe July 11, 2016

      She’s only saying what is necessary to get Bernie’s voters to her side … she has no intentions of pulling out of any trade deals, pacts or agreements.

  3. Zye Zxe July 11, 2016

    In 2009, Hillary Clinton revealed her relationship with the
    Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) when she addressed the council at their newly opened outpost in Washington

    “I have been often to the mother ship in New York City, but it’s good to have an
    outpost of the council right here down the street from the State Department. We
    get a lot of advice from the council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to
    go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the

    Source :New Eastern Outlook, http://journal-neo.org/?s=Hillary+as+President+would+be+Catastrophic+for+the+US

    So any talk of ms Hillary being against ” any ” trade deal is nothing more than a dog and pony show to get voters to believe she’s feels their concerns.

    Keep in mind too, in 1992, Billy-bob was promising union workers he was dead set against NAFTA,only to approve it soon after getting elected stating the global economy was changing so fast that holding on to jobs in an economic infrastructure based on the past was a loosing gamble.


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