June 4, 2015

Democrats And Their Union Allies Are Falling Out Of Love

out of love

The Democrats and their traditional union allies are at each other’s throats over President Obama’s trade agenda. Powerful unions have trained their huge arsenal against Democratic House members, most notably Rep. Ami Bera (CA-07), with advertisements and opposition rallies, and have also decided to freeze campaign contributions to Democratic candidates. Democratic leaders have been vocal in their disappointment and anger with their longtime friends.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA): “Labor is going a little overboard and I think there is some potential backlash for how far they are going.”

Richmond on Labor’s tactics: “I’m watching them do it, and it bothers me.”

Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI): “We’ve always known the history of trade debates and local politics can be pretty tough. This time is no different… I just hope that they are not losing the forest to the tree here.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR): “To actively campaign against you when you’re with them 80 percent of the time – I don’t take kindly to bullying. That gets my dander up. And I hope it gets the dander up of most every single member of my party.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on union attacks and non-support: “Those who are concerned about it I think do take a lot of solace in knowing that they can count on the support of President Barack Obama in a Democratic primary if they need it.”

Democratic Chief of Staff: “I could understand withholding money from people who are on the fence – sure, great… But for the people who are with them who also really need the help, I just don’t know that’s a smart strategy. I think that there’s plenty of people who they trust to be with them who could really use their help in deterring an opponent by showing some strength at this point in the cycle, and they’re not helping with that.”

Democratic House aide: “We’re getting close to the end of the second quarter now … and now the answer they give us is, ‘Even if you vote no on TPA and no on TPP, you still may not get checks because we may be trying to take out people who did vote for it… It’s not like they are going to reward good behavior. Now they’re saying, ‘We may have to take our money elsewhere.'”

Unions, on the other hand, are skeptical about Democratic promises to their base, fearing that their friends in power are lying to them about protecting labor rights, wages and jobs, and the environment. The unions, however, have gained some support in their evisceration of pro-TPA/TPP Democrats. Liberal firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has been actively working against his fellow lawmakers. This has prompted one Texas Democrat to say to quip about
the current state of the Democratic Party: “Cannibals don’t eat their own… Here, we are seeing people going after their own, just because we have a disagreement.”