The backlash against illegal immigration -- which looks like the Republicans' only hope for a wedge issue in next November's election -- is largely aimed at Latinos, of whom the vast majority are Mexicans. In fact almost 60 percent of all undocumented workers in the United States are from Mexico, and close to 12 million of that country's nationals now live in the U.S. Fix the Mexican part of the problem and the divisive politics of illegal immigration shrink dramatically.
In "Why Populists Need To Re-think Trade," James K. Galbraith calls on populists to adjust their assumptions and priorities when it comes to trade policy, and adopt a "reality-based" view. In "Breaking the Consensus (Finally)," Jeff Faux offers a different take, arguing that it's good policy as well as good politics to focus on revamping the rules of the global economy. Here, the two engage each other directly:
The bipartisan consensus that has integrated Americans into the global economy over the last two decades is clearly in trouble. Polls show a majority of voters skeptical of free trade, and November's election shifted at least 7 Senate and 30 House seats from supporters of current trade policies to outspoken critics.
When Wall Street's Robert Rubin -- who as Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary guided the policies that exposed U.S. workers to low-wage competition in the 1990's -- met with House Democrats in December, he was greeted with a chorus of complaints about outsourced jobs, depleted local tax bases and shrinking opportunities for young people. Rubin responded that, in the interests of party unity, they ought to drop the subject. They told him he was out of touch.
I grew up in an urban world of concrete and asphalt. Nature was a few weeds sprouting from sidewalk cracks in August. Summer camp was for rich kids. So I spent a lot of time dreaming of living in the wilderness, fueled by images from James Fennimore Cooper -- the buckskin-clad deerslayer paddling down rivers, hunting, fishing, and fighting bad guys. Most kids saw their first car as a ticket out of the neighborhood. I dreamed of owning a canoe.
It was a long time coming. I spent my first decade as an adult fighting a war on poverty and against a war in Vietnam. Then, burned out after the 1972 defeat of George McGovern, I joined other despairing lefties to find hope in rural life. I cashed in everything and moved my family to a run-down blueberry farm in Maine.
The dramatic political crisis that had menaced Mexico's nascent democracy for the past month is settled. As a result, the country's next president may well be a populist from a left-wing party -- a prospect that gives heartburn to Washington and Wall Street.