Hillary Clinton, who was once a fan of the TPP trade deal, announced today that she’s now opposed to it. That’s fine. But her reasons seem less than compelling:
In her statement, Clinton said she is “continuing to learn about the details of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership, including looking hard at what’s in there to crack down on currency manipulation, which kills American jobs, and to make sure we’re not putting the interests of drug companies ahead of patients and consumers.”
She had said months ago that the currency provision would be a key test for her.
The pharmaceutical provisions are indeed a point of considerable controversy, but the final draft of the agreement weakens them compared to what the US was asking for back when Hillary was involved. As for currency manipulation, TPP doesn’t address that at all.
So one provision she mentions has been improved, and the other does no harm because it’s not addressed. If the deal looked OK a year ago, it should still look OK today. Likewise, if it looks bad today, it should have looked bad a year ago. So what really changed? Bernie Sanders, most likely. Just as the Republican side of things has been buffeted by the Trump Effect, the Democratic race has been been influenced by the Bernie Effect—which is just what he wanted, since I don’t think he entered the race because he truly believed he had a chance to become president. He just wanted to move the conversation to the left, and he’s succeeded at that.