Monday, July 25, 2005

AFL-CIO split

More than one-fourth of the 13 million people that were members of AFL-CIO unions yesterday are no longer affiliated with the AFL-CIO today. Both the Teamsters and the service workers union, along with five others, split with the AFL-CIO today.

Given the crucial grass-roots organizational support that the AFL-CIO provides for the democratic party, what sort of impact will this have for the 2006 mid-term elections? My guess at this point is that a weakening of the AFL-CIO will prove pivotal with Senate seats in Michigan (currently Democratic) along with Ohio and Pennsylvania (currently Republican) up for grabs and expected to be relatively tight.

In the long run, though, reinvigorating the labor movement is a necessary step. Given the declining union rolls and influence over the past couple decades, a shakeup now seems preferrable to allowing the death spiral to continue.


Blogger Vincent said...

I'm not sure how this will turn out for the Democrats. While it doesn't sound good, I've also heard theories that this could be a good thing. Union members vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats, but their numbers are dwindling. In recent years they've been using funds to support Democratic candidates rather than trying to recruit new union members. Perhaps the second option is the long-term winning option for the Dems.

As for the Senate, PA looks like it's ready to kick out man-on-dog Santorum. Ohio is mired in Republican scandals (e.g., Coingate) and has an extremely unpopular Repub governor. It looks like another potential Dem pickup. The OH-2 (Paul Hackett) race may be an interesting bellwether. The district would normally be pretty safe Repub, but Hackett's an Iraq veteran who has much more cash on hand than his opponent, who is tangled up with Tom Delay as well as the general Ohio scandal atmosphere.

7/26/2005 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

PA is going to get a heck of a lot closer, a heck of a lot nastier, and a heck of a lot more expensive before November 2006. Current polls show the race tightening, so its not going to be a runaway by any stretch. Santorum doubled up Casey's fundraising in the last quarter and has a substantial war chest. The bloodbath that will be the PA election is going to turn off moderates, so it'll be a battle of the base. If the unions are distracted by internal politics and unable to concentrate their resources, that's a serious blow to Casey.

Coingate is going to be a distant memory when polls open in Ohio. I don't see that mess tarring a particular party, though some politicians should take a whacking. DeWine was a member of the Gang of 14, so you're not going to be able to paint him as a hard-liner. It would be pretty hard for the national Democratic party to target DeWine too heavily for defeat because of his moderate leanings.

In the long run, this is probably a good thing for the Dems. Practically, though, I just can't see it producing dividends in the near future. It's going to damage them in the 2006 mid-term election and could well be pivotal in the 2008 election given all the mid-Western swing states. The last thing the Democrats want in '08 is to have to replace more grass-roots campaigners with more hired guns. Perhaps by 2010 this may start to pay some dividends, but that's a long time to wait for a maybe.

7/27/2005 01:14:00 AM  

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