State Rep. Dan Ramos (D- Lorain) says he trusts Hillary Clinton.
Ramos, whose district includes Amherst and Oberlin, was a delegate for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at last week’s Democratic convention.
While disappointed that Clinton defeated Sanders, he said Clinton’s July 28 speech convinced him she is sincere about adopting some of Sanders platform including expanding Medicare, free tuition at public colleges, and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“A lot of the stuff we were fighting for is now part of the platform, is now what she’s fighting for,” Ramos told us Friday. “It was always like Bernie said. It was never (about) him. It was us.”
Facing the prospect of Republican Donald Trump becoming president, Ramos said he believes about 90 percent of Sanders supporters will vote for Clinton rather than a third-party alternative like Green Party candidate Jill Stein. However, some Sanders supporters remain unconvinced about Clinton given her past flip-flops. Topics Clinton has switched on include gay marriage, strict criminal sentencing in the 1994 Crime Bill that disproportionately affected black people, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The trade deal is a major concern in states like Ohio, which has lost thousands of jobs to previous trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement, China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, and the Caribbean Free Trade Agreement.
Proponents of the TPP — including President Barrack Obama and Republican leaders — say the deal between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam will create jobs and economic growth. Opponents say it will further erode union jobs, benefit countries with sweatshops, increase corporate power, and reduce national sovereignty.
As secretary of state in 2012, Clinton said the TPP was the “gold standard” for “free, transparent, fair trade” and when negotiated would include “strong protections for workers and the environment.” Clinton last year said she now opposes the deal because it lacks restrictions on foreign currency manipulation and and allows too many benefits for Big Pharma.
Ramos said he’s convinced Clinton has seen how trade deals have cost thousands of American jobs. A March report by the liberal Economic Policy Institute found the U.S. trade deficit with TPP countries has cost American two million jobs last year.
That includes 16,300 workers displaced — about five percent of all jobs — in Ohio’s 4th congressional district, which includes Amherst and Oberlin. Ohio’s 6th congressional district, which includes Wellington, had 8,600 jobs displaced — about 2.6 percent of all jobs in the district — the report said.
While Clinton opposes the TPP, Democratic leaders refused to include language in the party platform that Sanders had sought condemning it. Language Sanders supporters sought condemning the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank by Israel and the rights of Palestinians to a homeland was also rejected.
While the convention went off without a hitch, there was disharmony during convention speeches. When Sanders supporters shouted “No TPP!” they were shouted down with chants of “Hillary, Hillary!”
Chants of “No More War!” — a reference to Clinton’s support for the Iraq War and bombing Libya and Syria — were answered with shouts of “USA! USA! USA!”
Despite Clinton supporters drowning out protestors, Clinton made a point of recognizing Sanders’ supporters in her speech. “Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy and passion,” she said. “Let’s go out there and make it happen together.”
Ramos conceded Clinton’s agenda, if elected, would be limited should Republican’s continue to hold majorities in the House and Senate, but said it would be less centrist because of Sanders’ underdog campaign that galvanized young Democrats like Ramos, 34.
Ramos said Hillary Clinton’s speech gave far more policy specifics than Trump’s July 21 convention speech and was more inclusive.
Clinton criticized Trump’s call for a wall on the Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants and his support for banning Muslim immigrants from entering the U.S. She characterized his “I alone can fix it” quote as the language of a dictator.
Ramos said Clinton clearly illustrated the differences between her and Trump. “She convinced a lot of people that she’s the person to lead our country,” he said.
Ramos also praised U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Cleveland) for his speech, which accused Trump of being hypocritical on trade. Trump has said American leaders have allowed U.S. markets to be flooded with cheap foreign goods, but Brown noted many Trump products are made in China, Mexico, and Turkey.
“The only thing I’ve seen Donald Trump do when it comes to U.S. trade policy is run his mouth and line his pockets,” Brown said. “Donald Trump looks out for Donald Trump no matter who he steps on along the way.”
Trump’s Ohio campaign director, Bob Paduchik, couldn’t be reached for comment but Trump trashed Clinton on Twitter after her speech.
“Crooked Hillary Clinton mentioned me 22 times in her very long and very boring speech,” he tweeted. “Many of her statements were lies and fabrications!”
State Sen. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) did not return multiple calls for comment on her views following the Republican and Democratic conventions.
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.