Hillary Clinton Flip-Flops on the TPP

There's a lot of cynicism in U.S. politics. Part of it is driven by political leaders who take their position not on principle but on what poll figures indicate.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign town hall meeting in Keene, New Hampshire, Oct. 16, 2015.

Here’s the latest example.

On Oct. 7, Hilary Clinton announced that she was now opposed to the highly-controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. The trade deal has been negotiated in secret and it’s been described as NAFTA on steroids.

Most pundits, and even some of her opponents were quick to point out what a dramatic flip-flop Clinton's new position represents.

The frontrunner for the Democratic nomination served as the U.S. Secretary of State under Obama, championing the very deal she now opposes. According to one calculation by CNN, she spoke in support of the TPP no less than 45 times during her tenure as Secretary of State.

Those who have followed Clinton's political career were likely unsurprised. She's practically made a name for herself flip-flopping on trade deals. It's a fact not lost on her competitors.

Like it or not, promising one thing and doing another is, of course, just a political reality, particularly in the United States. But that doesn't mean that it should be.

It's telling that voter turnout has been less than 60% for every U.S. presidential election since 1968. That's not an encouraging statistic. Perhaps if politicians actually stuck to their promises, then people would feel empowered to participate. We'll see if Clinton actually holds her position against the trade deal. It's not likely, but we can always hope.

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