There’s been much made of the similarities between presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
They’ve both got New York accents — “yooge!” — they’re both campaigning as populists, and they’re both political insurgents giving the Washington establishment heartburn.
Tuesday reminded voters of another commonality between the Republican business mogul and the Democratic socialist: both speak to Americans’ economic anxiety about China as a rising global superpower.
To be sure, Trump’s villainizing of China is more explicit — he’s not known for his subtly. The mogul says the country is taking American jobs and “killing us on trade,” so he’d impose a huge tariff on goods coming from the nation. As this Huffington Post mashup demonstrates, China-bashing is a routine part of his message, to the point of being comical.
But Sanders also understands that the Chinese threat to U.S. workers is no laughing matter. Speaking to steelworkers in Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday, he stressed his opposition to international trade agreements deemed detrimental to American labor, including Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China.
“The steelworkers did not write these trade agreements,” he told the union hall.
Sanders added that if corporations want Americans to buy their products, they should start manufacturing them in the United States.
“Can you a be a great country when everything you buy is made in China?” he asked.
Many Trump supporters, especially among the white working class, are asking the same thing.