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9 Jul, 2020 16:33

Not a ‘racist’ plan anymore? Democrats rejoice over Biden’s $700bn ‘Buy American’ promise

Not a ‘racist’ plan anymore? Democrats rejoice over Biden’s $700bn ‘Buy American’ promise

Joe Biden unveiled a $700 billion 'Buy American' initiative, drawing praise from both liberals and conservatives on social media, but some noted that similar plans by the Trump administration were previously framed as 'racist.'

Biden’s economic pitch includes plans for a $400 billion, four-year increase in government spending on US-made goods and services – topped by a $300 billion investment in research and development for US technology.

This will be the largest mobilization of public investments in procurement, infrastructure and (research and development) since World War II,” Biden’s senior adviser Jake Sullivan told the Associated Press on Thursday.

The proposal has echoes of Donald Trump’s own ‘Buy American, hire American’ executive order signed in 2017, which some critics accused the US president of not sticking to – and which also prompted accusations of hypocrisy, given that his own businesses hire foreign workers.

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Biden’s somewhat Trump-like proposal managed to turn some conservatives’ heads on social media. Commentator Saagar Enjeti asked why the Republican administration “continues to dither on its [own] Buy American executive order,” while former Trump adviser Steve Bannon called the plan a “very smart” move that would leave Trump “flat-footed.”

Meanwhile, left-leaning commenters were giddy about “Republicans' heads exploding” at the sight of Biden’s brilliant plan.

Others recalled, however, that some Democrats and media figures had previously branded Trump’s ‘Buy American’ messaging as nationalistic, and even “racist.”

Indeed, in 2017 the Washington Post ran an article about the “dark side” of Buy American campaigns, which it said are often “shrouded in racism.”

“I thought that [Buy American] was racist… xenophobic… nationalistic… fantasy,” one person wrote sarcastically.

Conservative filmmaker Robby Starbuck accused Biden of "plagiarizing" Trump's 'America First' approach.

Biden has consistently hovered ahead of Trump in national polling in recent weeks, maintaining a lead of around nine percent since mid-June, according to FiveThirtyEight. Polling ahead of the 2016 presidential election had Hillary Clinton marked as a shoo-in for the presidency, however, so it may not be the most accurate indicator of victory.

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