Sherrod Brown has always defied easy categorization. A Yale graduate from a well-off family, he became a state representative in Ohio at the age of 21 and spent his free time in local union halls, absorbing the stories of auto and steelworkers. In the 1990s and 2000s, when Bill Clinton and the New Democrats preached the gospel of globalization, Brown, then a congressman, warned about the ugly consequences of free-trade deals like NAFTA — jobs shipped overseas, factories abandoned, towns and cities hollowed out. During the Obama years, Brown, now in the U.S. Senate, pleaded with his party brethren not to abandon their working-class roots, only to watch Donald Trump win in 2016 with the help of the white working class on Brown’s home turf. Brown, 67, is one of the last true progressive populists. He insists that Democrats should “campaign through the eyes of workers” and honor the dignity of work — a message he used to win a decisive re-election victory in Ohio two years after Trump won the state. The pleas for him to run for president flooded in. “It came on me so sudden,” he recalls. “I looked at who the cast of characters were, and… Read full this story
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