July 08, 2005

Democrats May Lose Their Monopoly on Union Support?

Finally: An AFL-CIO leader recognizes that supporting Democrats only is not necessarily the best way to assist its members:

WASHINGTON - Organized labor should help politicians who will advance labor's cause rather than simply supporting Democrats, says a union leader pushing for changes in the AFL-CIO. "We can't just elect Democratic politicians and try to take back the House and take back the Senate and think that's going to change workers' lives," said Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union. During a briefing Thursday, Stern said politics is only part of labor's strategy. He said "electing Democrats and taking back the House or getting rid of (House Majority Leader) Tom Delay" are not enough to answer workers' problems. "It certainly would help, but we don't think it's the answer," Stern said.

It will be interesting to see if this actually happens. The Labor Unions tend to reflexively support Democratic candidates (even though a large number of their members are Republicans).

My thought is that all voting groups or special interest groups should shop their support around. If either of the parties believe that the group is safely "within its base", there is a tendency to ignore the concerns of that group. Why wouldn't you want the politicians to work for your vote? You know, make the politicians actually fight for policies that will assist your members....it would seem to be a pretty good idea to me.

For example, I am Jewish. Most of my co-religionists treat voting Republican as being akin to heresy. Yet, the Democratic Party often affiliates with anti-Semitic politicians (e.g., Al Sharpton, Charles "the Iraq War is as bad as the Holocaust" Rangel) and groups (e.g., International ANSWER). Moreover, their support for Israel is typically luke warm and Democratic Administrations (e.g., Carter and Clinton) have often forced Israel to make suicidal concessions to the Palestinians. Wouldn't it be smart if Jewish voters actually made the Democrats condemn anti-Semitism, stop affiliating with anti-Semites and start taking a responsible policy approach to Israel? Don't get me wrong. Bush's "Roadmap to Peace" is idiotic as the Administration has failed to hold the Palestinians accountable for renouncing and ending terrorism. Yet, at least the Bush Administration has typically supported Israel's right to exist and defend itself against terrorism.

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