Monday, June 04, 2012

Labor Needs a Bold Private Sector Strategy

David Atkins:

Still, the numbers here are striking. The current Republican regime is predicated on a single demographic constituency: old white males. The Fox News demographic. A demographic that is literally and figuratively dying. At a certain point, the weight of decline of the Republican-leaning segments of the population will shift on the fulcrum far enough that it will become very difficult to continue in their current direction. Like a cornered animal, that will be when they are at their most dangerous. The reflection of their imminent decline is part of what fuels their current extremism: a desperate grasp at locking down power while they still can.

But there's another set of numbers, too, that should be disturbing to the labor movement: the fact that Scott Walker has been ahead in in most non-partisan polls by a range of 3 to 8 points, while President Obama maintains an average 5-point lead in the state. In other words, a significant portion of Wisconsin voters are willing to vote for Walker, but unwilling to vote for Romney. My own theory is that these are probably not so much centrist, Simpson-Bowles friendly voters, but people who are mostly otherwise more or less progressive but have become convinced by the anti-public employee arguments of the right. If that's accurate and Walker wins despite the major counterpush, it may be necessary for the labor movement to spend more time aggressively expanding into the private sector, than increasingly doubling down on defending the public sector, which is intrinsically a more difficult argument.

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