HuffPo | Trump’s Working-Class Appeal Is Starting To Freak Out Labor Unions

via the Huffington Post:


Labor Unions (200x200)Donald Trump’s Working-Class Appeal Is Starting To Freak Out Labor Unions

by Dave Jamieson and Sam Stein | March 17, 2016

Over the course of five weeks, Working America, the non-union affiliate of the AFL-CIO labor federation, did extensive canvassing in union-dense, blue-collar areas of Pittsburgh and Cleveland. They called it a “front porch focus group.” The idea was simply to listen — to let likely 2016 voters sound off about their thoughts and concerns headed into the presidential election.

What they discovered, among other things, was a lot of support for Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner. For months, this enthusiastic backing of the obnoxious billionaire had generally baffled the chattering class — not to mention the GOP and Democratic establishment. But to Working America canvassers, it made plenty of sense.

“We hear the same refrains all the time,” said Karen Nussbaum, executive director of Working America, which has high membership in the Rust Belt. “That people are fed up and they’re hurting. That their families have not recovered from the recession.

Trump, the worry goes, is making precisely the right appeals at precisely the right time to fundamentally realign the Rust Belt working class electorate’s traditional political allegiances.

“In terms of his message, it is really resonating. Particularly if you are talking [about] union people, he is speaking our language,” said Josh Goldstein, deputy national media director for the AFL-CIO.

What worries Stern, and many officials in the labor movement, is that Trump’s appeal to working-class voters is more than just a byproduct of his master showmanship. Trump’s denunciations of trade deals, his condemnation of politicians who ushered in outsourcing, and his tough, often-xenophobic rants about immigrants taking domestic jobs all lay out a policy portfolio that, at the most basic level, can be attractive to the economically marginalized. (Read More)


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