Guess what issue American voters care about the most and what action they demand from their elected officials in Washington?
If you said forever wars, Russian hackers, and China’s human rights, you failed.
Instead, “protecting jobs for American workers” is on top-of-mind for voters. Reducing illegal immigration, long seen as a headwind for American blue-collar workers in certain sectors of the economy like construction work, was second.
The results are from a survey released by the Center for American Progress, an advocacy group with deep ties to the Democratic Party.
Also worth noting is that climate change is in third place. President Biden and other Democratic Party lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have often said that switching to cleaner sources of fuel and electricity is an American jobs program.
In fact, the entire premise of their Green New Deal, something Biden only supported in theory, was based on FDR’s New Deal, only with a focus on industries that would help lower C02 levels.
If climate change is important to voters, but plays second fiddle to job safety and “protection,” then Washington lawmakers will need to make sure that those policies do not outsource jobs to countries like China, but instead protect U.S. industry and create new jobs for Americans. This is especially true along the solar, wind and automotive supply chains.
Currently, some 80% of U.S. solar is made by Chinese multinationals. The U.S. has exactly zero wind turbine corporations. GE Renewables is headquartered in France and exports a lot of its wind turbines and blades from Europe. Their Block Island, RI wind farm was not made here.
For automotive, a switch to battery-powered cars is reliant on a minerals supply chain where China plays a key role. Congress knows this and has been debating it since Biden took office. Most of the battery makers here are Asian. The switch to EVs means fewer car parts, which is a huge blow to the automotive parts industry.
If going green means more high-quality jobs here in America, as Biden and AOC have promised, protecting solar, providing incentives to have more wind turbines made here, and building a metals-to-car lot supply chain for the U.S. should be No. 1 on Washington’s list.
Climate change and economic inclusion have been the twin pillars of Biden’s economic policies so far. He has also touted Buy American legislation and Made in America budget proposals. For CPA, protecting American jobs doesn’t mean Uber jobs. If the big corporations at the top of the food chain are going to build their business model on sourcing wherever it is cheapest, then the government needs to step in to make it so the U.S. can compete with Asia. If not, then the government has failed on the one thing where voters are asking them to succeed.
As Congress debates legislation designed to take on the China threat to American manufacturing, it should be worth noting that free trade and sweeping trade deals are in second to last place. The message: Americans want good jobs and do not want to be forced to compete with all of Asia, and other markets, where wages are lower, and so are the environmental rules voters also say they care about.