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August 25, 2003

Perot Voters Ride Again

As manufacturing plants shut down in the face of global low-wage competition, a lot of former Bush voters are turning against the GOP, including in southern states that were previously solid for Bush:

Andy Warlick, chief executive officer of Parkdale Mills in Gaston County, said he doubts he will repeat his 2000 vote for Bush next year.

"He made a lot of promises and he hasn't delivered on any of them," Warlick said. "I've had some firsthand experience of him sending down trade and commerce officials, but they're just photo ops. It's empty rhetoric."

And that's what the corporate executives are saying. The actual workers on the unemployment line are even more pissed:
The hard feelings were on display days after Pillowtex's July 30 bankruptcy filing, when Republican U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes [who voted for "fast track" trade authority] walked into a Kannapolis auditorium to meet with former workers.

"Thanks for sending the jobs overseas, Robin!" shouted Brenda Miller, a longtime worker at the textile giant's Salisbury plant.

Perot opened up a breech in GOP voting in a period of fears over mounting deficits and lost jobs-- sound familiar? Perot himself is making noises about getting back into the political fray, but the Dems are much better positioned this time to attract these voters. Unlike the almost pure free trader Clinton, the present candidates range from hard core "fair trade" legislators like Gephardt and Kucinich to just tough pro-labor politicians like Dean, Edwards and Kerry. Kerry is probably closest to Clinton's position on trade but he was a leader in seeking to end pro-corporate aspects of trade deals with his Kerry Amendment to fast track legislation to protect labor and environmental rights from corporate lawsuits under trade laws.

Bush may be playing serious defense in states like the Carolinas that he thought were his base.

Posted by Nathan at August 25, 2003 05:23 PM