Carrier jobs are staying put.
The air conditioner manufacturer at the heart of Donald Trump’s campaign for president announced on Tuesday, Nov. 29, that it had reached a deal with the president-elect to keep over 1,000 manufacturing jobs in Indianapolis.
The announcement will formally come from Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence (current Indiana governor), and Carrier executives at a rally on Thursday.
For now, the Trump camp is touting it as a victory and a fulfillment of one of his biggest campaign promises — to prevent the outsourcing of Carrier jobs and, by extension, American jobs.
— CNN (@CNN) December 1, 2016
Critics point out that Carrier was threatening to outsource 2,100 jobs, so the 1,000 number remains a net loss. Still, none of the jobs would have been there had Trump and his team not commenced negotiations, and it is difficult to see the move as anything short of a victory.
But beyond the fulfillment of a campaign promise, the Intercept‘s David Dayen points out that it highlights a major drop of the ball on the part of the Obama administration.
Dayen argues that Obama had more tools in his arsenal to prevent the move from happening, but he used none of them in spite of having done so in other situations. He points out that Carrier jobs could have been attached to lucrative government contracts. He says the president could have used those contracts to keep Carrier jobs in the U.S.
“It’s precisely the kind of hardball Obama has consistently played with federal contractors in other contexts. He has signed executive orders to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour, ensure paid sick leave, and promote from within the company…. But this power has been set aside with respect to Carrier — and outsourcing in general.”
Dayen is not wrong, and Obama’s failure to prevent outsourcing from Carrier and other companies is a big part of why Trump was able to connect with the working-class blue wall that had voted Democrat in 2008 and 2012.
Symbolically, the Carrier jobs victory paints Trump as a candidate who will deliver to his constituents. He is already doing it, and has not yet taken office. It also does not help Obama’s case that he ridiculed Trump’s ability to follow through specifically on the Carrier promise during the campaign.
In earlier comments during the campaign, speaking specifically of the Carrier jobs situation, Obama had this to say.
“He’s [Trump’s] going to bring these jobs back. Well, how are you exactly going to do that, what are you going to do? There’s no answer to it.”
But there was an answer, and Trump didn’t even wait for inauguration to give it.
Essentially, the Carrier jobs case is a microcosm for why Democrats lost this election.
The party decided to leave a large group of Americans behind without offering any real long-term solutions beyond a push for education and retraining.
Trump identified with the pain of these Americans and sold them a quicker fix. They responded to it. Now he’s delivering.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 30, 2016
For those fearing that Trump could possibly be a two-term president, the Carrier jobs story is a cautionary tale. He did something in a few weeks his predecessor couldn’t — or wouldn’t — do in eight years.
But what do you think, readers? Is the Carrier decision a sign of things to come from President-elect Trump, and does it leave you feeling better or worse about the prospect of his presidency? Sound off in the comments section below.