There's a real problem with the Democrats running imitation Republicans right now. They tried that in 1992, when they figured that they were in the Outer Darkness because they had been defeated by tight-fisted budget cutters. In accordance with that belief, they nominated a tight-fisted budget cutter for President. In the recent election, they figured they were opposing nearly-fascist nationalists. Guess who they ran:
The good news is that economic nationalism is easy to ridicule even on a sound-bite basis. Repeat after me: Every dollar we send overseas comes back. If somebody claims that the foreigners just hang onto the the money, it might be necessary to ask they're using the dollars as wallpaper or burning them in bonfires.
Many of the Democrats who recaptured seats held by Republicans have been described as moderates or social conservatives, who will be out of synch with Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi. The better term, with props to Fareed Zakaria, is probably illiberal Democrats. Most of those who reclaimed Republican seats ran hard against free trade, globalization, and any sort of moderate immigration policy. That these Democrats won makes it likely that others will take up their reactionary call. Some of the newcomers may even be foolish enough to try to govern on the basis of their misguided theory.
For some reason, economic nationalists never seem to complain about job-killing Dutch or Irish competition. The targets of their anger are consistently China and Mexico, with occasionally whacks at Dubai, Oman, Peru, and Vietnam.
An even harder-edged nationalism defined many of the critical House races, where Democrats called for a moratorium on trade agreements, for canceling existing ones, or, in some cases, for slapping protective trade tariffs on China. These candidates also lumped illegal immigrants together with terrorists and demanded fencing and militarization of the Mexican border. In Pennsylvania, Democratic challengers Chris Carney and Patrick Murphy defeated Republican incumbents by accusing them of destroying good jobs by voting for the Central American Free Trade Agreement and being soft on illegal immigration.