I think it's been mentioned on this blog recently before (I think by US West) that the union voters in Wisconsin who are now the arch enemies of that state's Republican party are exactly the demographic that the Republicans have depended on to undermine Democratic candidates. These are the so called "Reagan Democrats" who vote Republican for the nationalism and the odd tax cut here and there. But this attack by the Wisconsin Republican Party (and other Republican legislatures in other states) have laid bare the extent to which these people have been voting against their own self interest all this time. At the very least, even if this group has not completely defected to the GOP, they have largely stayed at home and not come out to vote for Democrats.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I often find myself wondering how many of the union members demonstrating in Madison in 2011 either voted for Walker or did not vote at all in 2010. To them I point them to a famous scolding from Harry Truman. He said then that the refusal of organized labor to support Democrats in elections had led directly to Republicans passing union busting legislation. Like Truman, part of me is inclined to think that these disloyal blue collar voters are getting exactly what they deserve. I hope the nationalist zeal and tax cuts compensate them for the years of reduced income that the elimination of their collective bargaining rights will produce.
But the less vindictive side of me looks at this and sees hope for the future. Has Scott Walker done to the blue collar Republicans what Pete Wilson did to Latinos in California? When Governor Pete Wilson began his anti-immigrant campaign, California was a swing state. But by completely alienating Latinos from the Republican party, Wilson doomed his party to permanent minority status. Has Governor Scott Walker (and Kasich in Ohio, and others) done the same thing for the relationship between the Republican Party and blue collar voters in the Great Lakes region? I doubt the anti-Republican backlash will be as severe as in the Pete Wilson case but I do think Republicans badly overreached on their anti-union agenda. So long as Republican union bashing was limited to depicting union leaders as stogie smoking hypocrites, they could count on some agreement from many blue collar voters and even from union members. But by directly targeting collective bargaining rights, they shifted the public image of their targets from the leadership to the rank and file. Bad idea. At the very least, they've handed Democrats in Wisconsin, Ohio and other Great Lakes states, a cause to rally behind. At worst, they've just jettisoned another part of their national electoral coalition.
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 1:50 PM