The Other Demographic Demise Democrats Should Worry About

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 12:01 AM
The Other Demographic Demise Democrats Should Worry About

The Democrats want open borders, since their future election chances depend on massive demographic shifts through mass third-world immigration. To their consternation, the #SchumerShutdown fight whimpered out because the public doesn’t want more immigration. That avenue for increasing their voter base is closing on them.

Democrats are ignoring another declining base of support to their hurt: organized labor. For decades, labor unions ensured victory. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer won his Senate Seat because labor unions held him crushed his Republican opponent in 1998. Unfortunately, despite two major opportunities for long-term pro-labor reforms, unions have seen Democrats taking them for granted. Now union support is disappearing.

Why is the Democratic Party losing their once-stalwart political allies?

First, rank-and-file members disdained Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s opposition to mining and manufacturing while pursuing progressive social goals, like flooding the market with cheap labor while prioritizing the fate of the environment instead of the economy. Forbes contributor Matt Patterson, who has chronicled forced unionism across the country, explained: “Their union leaders gave their dues to Democratic politicians, who were passing TPP, NAFTA, and other job-killing regulations. Union leaders have not been doing them any favors.” The union leaders turned into another out-of-touch elite, and laborers have woken up.

More importantly, though, Democrats are losing Big Labor unions because labor unions are losing power, personnel, and influence. Once an essential unit for ensuring workplace fairness and safety, today they are an ancient oddity out of sync with the innovate sharing economy. They fought to codify their agenda into federal law, and have ironically furthered their irrelevance. Right-to-work and collective bargaining reforms have hastened their decline, often under the national media radar. Besides Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s two-pronged attack on forced unionism and coerced dues, which attracted legendary and notorious followings, Indiana and Michigan followed suit. Illinois, Kentucky and West Virginia enacted reforms soon after.

Democrats should have paid attention, especially before Election 2016. The Nation details how Democratic voter turnout declined by an average of 3.5% following right-to-work legislation enacted in key Rust Belt states. It wasn’t just Hillary Clinton’s epic unpopularity, but the massive decline in union membership which hampered Democratic voter turnout and gave Donald the needed edge to win.

Post-Election 2016, other collective bargaining reforms should have worried national Democrats, but those moves haven’t gotten their attention, either. Iowa’s GOP-controlled state legislature enacted sweeping collective bargaining reforms, similar to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s Act 10 reforms. Iowa is already a right-to-work state, but the taxpayer burden of public sector unions required more stringent legislative remedies, which passed in sweeping form. In Maine, retiring governor Paul LePage worked out a new contract with the largest state employee union. Maine’s public workers agreed to a 6% pay raise in exchange for a comprehensive right-to-work provision in their new contract, an unprecedented move which helped the governor achieve something close to a right-to-work initiative in his blue-state home.

What about other entrenched blue states? Can Democrats rely on their labor union allies to keep them in power? Patterson chided that idea, remarking that Kentucky as a state went right to work after 12 counties enacted their own local provisions. “State lawmakers who wouldn’t have voted for it in the past had cover because the program worked in their districts, so they voted for right-to-work,” Patterson commented. 

Sussex County, Delaware flirted with the reform, but organized labor threats halted the proposal. This setback didn’t discourage the town of Seaford from going forward with their own ordinance. Empty manufacturing hubs are humming back to life in Southern Delaware. Sandoval County, New Mexico just enacted a right-to-work provision. What about future legal challenges to local right-to-work ordinances? Those challenges have fallen flat. Patterson shared, “Unions have learned nothing. They use the same arguments from 40 years ago.” Now other blue states are entering the RTW column.

Declining labor unions means less money for Democrats. Their fundraising haul has gone from bad to worse since Trump’s inauguration. One wonders if DNC Chairman Tom Perez wants to keep his job! What about the red states without right-to-work? Ohio Governor John Kasich attempted to enact Walker’s reforms in 2011, but organized labor repealed those efforts by initiative. This year, Republicans in Columbus have renewed their push for right-to-work, but the voters may decide the issue in 2020. Pennsylvania will revisit the issue after Election 2018, if state senator Scott Wagner defeats liberal Governor Tom Wolf.

Democrats have not stopped Big Labor’s challenges at the federal level, either. President Trump has appointed a pro-worker, right-to-work majority on the National Labor Relations Board. Renewed interest in a national right-to-work law has encouraged legislators, including libertarian-leaning Republican Rand Paul, to submit their own bills. The Democratic minority has failed to counter this push.

Following a favorable ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, federal legislation would be moot.  In Janus, an Illinois health worker has challenged the right of the local union (which he has not joined) to withhold agency fees. If the Supreme Court strikes down such legalized theft, the ruling would enact de facto right-to-work among public sector unions (Imagine Walker’s Act 10 reforms imposed nationally). States would still need right-to-work laws for private sector unions, but Janus would set the precedent.

Democratic candidates have tried to discourage right-to-work proposals, but workers are already enjoying the benefits of reforms, freeing them from coerced membership and dues. Not only that, but the pro-worker policies have forced unions to serve their members instead of themselves and their pursuit of raw yet elitist political power. 

In general, labor unions which cannot compel membership and dues for employment will lose their coerced revenue stream which has benefitted Democratic politicians for decades, diminishing their own numbers and political competitiveness. The Democratic Party’s fight for increased immigration levels rages on, but Big Labor’s days as the DNC’s cash cow are numbered. Big Labor’s demise could ensure (as Grover Norquist stated) that “the modern Democratic Party will cease to be a competitive power in American politics.”