There Goes the Labor Vote

I love organized labor. Always have. When I ran for Congress, I worked overtime to win labor’s support. Maybe it’s in my genes. My grandma was a labor organizer and was fired for it.

So when I saw the union endorsements piling up for Clinton, I wondered what the hell was happening. Logically, Sanders was the choice for labor. Something was wrong with this picture. Very wrong.  

Then I read an article that broke down endorsements by whether they came from the rank and file or from leadership. To nobody’s surprise, certainly not mine, rank and file endorsements went overwhelmingly to Sanders.

In New Hampshire, local union members openly split from national leadership in order to back Sanders.

You have to marvel at the judgment of union leadership. Clinton is tied to trade agreements, no matter how much she tries to mislead on that front. And she opposes the $15 per hour minimum wage. Perhaps her past ties to Walmart, enemy of organized labor, are just coincidental to that opposition. Perhaps not. I just read that Alice Walton, who sports an 11 figure net worth, contributed generously to Hillary’s cause.

Enter Donald Trump. He hates trade deals. Just like working class Americans do. Just like Sanders does.

So, how many union members rank Sanders first, Trump second, and Clinton last in order of preference, ? I’m guessing a whole bunch of ’em. As in millions.

Yet Clinton won the lion’s share of the endorsements.

And is poised to win the nomination barring a miracle on Tuesday. While Trump is poised to win the Republican nomination.

So, labor leadership likely will wind up having endorsed the candidate who workers like less than the Republican nominee instead of the candidate who workers like more than the Republican nominee.

My guess is for the first time in at least a generation, maybe since Nixon, we’re about to see the labor vote go Republican.

Yeah, Trump has said some scurrilous things. But if someone lost his job and his family’s livelihood to one of those trade deals that Hillary loves and Donald Trump despises, can you really fault him for preferring Trump?

I can’t.

But I can fault the Democratic establishment, including labor leaders, who chose to put their thumbs on the scale and tilt this election in Clinton’s favor. Without that tilt, the Democratic primary race would be a different picture.

Did they realize they were throwing away the labor vote?

No. But they damn well should have.

2 responses to “There Goes the Labor Vote

  1. captain*arizona

    labor wants a winner who is tough that is why clinton came out against tpp to get their support. Bernie would have got labor if clinton was for tpp.

  2. There was a distinct dichotomy when I was a member of a AFSCME. There was the interest of the workers and the interest of the people paid by union dues to represent the workers.

    Unfortunately, when a union is run by people paid by dues, rather than by the people who pay dues, the interests of the dues paying members can be set aside.

    This is a fundamental dilemma of the labor movement. If anyone can figure out a way to resolve it, that might provide the impetus for a resurgence of organized labor.