“Most TypeScript advocates don’t seem to have a good understanding of what TypeScript is competing against.”
Well … yes and no. You’re comparing TS vs JS + tooling.
But … I understand that when you’re bringing along a way of doing things and a toolset you’re comfortable with. You’re always going to be more productive using what you’re accustomed to and the need to consider a chance comes when joining an environment that’s significantly different that you need to adapt rather than ‘them’.
But #2 if you’re like me, joining the bandwagon along the way, my choice is between learning all the JS tooling or just going for TS. And I’m going for TS because it’s one thing that more or less replaces (or works alongside) a zillion others.