No nation has ever been home to a middle-class majority absent a sizable labor movement. In their failure to advance labor’s prospects, the Democrats condemn themselves to a future of fewer Democratic voters and their nation to a future of mass downward mobility.
Harold Meyerson is right – it’s about damned time Democrats were responsive to the needs of working Americans in labor unions. Meyerson points out that Carter, Clinton and now Obama have all turned their back on labor’s key legislative and policy needs. And to what end? A declining labor movement, a declining middle class, and a reduction in benefits for American workers. Political timidity is, in this case, a clear recipe for economic failure in America.
Moreover, labor is a key constituency for the Democratic Party and one that is ignored at their own peril. I’ve made the case in the past that the primary reasons Democrats won big in 2006 was because of labor’s bodies for field turnout and voting and the netroots messaging in opposition to Republicans. While labor’s war chest is a fraction of what big business brings to the political table, it is still the biggest constituent of the Democratic coalition. At a time when Democrats political prospects for 2010 don’t look good, giving the middle finger to one of your political firewalls is not a good idea.