Big Labor and the Democrats

President Trump has targeted much of his message to blue-collar workers. That hasn’t stopped big labor unions from continuing to support Trump’s opponents. Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon offers details.

The mass defection of union members to the Trump campaign over the objections of labor leaders does not appear to have shifted campaign behavior in the midterms.

Local, state, and national labor groups continue to pour money into the coffers of Democratic candidates. The Center for Responsive Politics found that 84 percent of the $133 million unions have spent in the 2018 cycle went to benefit Democrats. That total included $47.5 million in contributions to Democrats—nearly five times more than they gave to Republican candidates. The partisan split is down slightly from 2016 when unions gave 88 percent of their $213 million in campaign spending to boost Hillary Clinton and her allies, even as individual members cast decisive votes for Trump in labor strongholds such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.

Trump received endorsements from a pair of law enforcement unions, but virtually every other labor leader in the country endorsed Clinton. Some in the labor movement reevaluated the strict liberal line. Pennsylvania AFL-CIO president Rick Bloomingdale concluded that organized labor had “gotten too close to one party” after holding townhalls with members across the state in 2017. Bloomingdale’s union subsequently endorsed GOP representative Brian Fitzpatrick in a close re-election campaign.

Labor watchdogs said that Bloomingdale’s approach to a more bipartisan politics does not appear to have caught on with the rest of the movement.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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