My friend John Hinderaker of the Powerlineblog.com also picked up on the significance of the union decertification movement that I commented on yesterday. Here and below
As HInderaker describes it , “Defunding the left” was one of the objectives of the Republican uprising of 1994; unfortunately, that goal went unrealized. This is one of the basic differences between Left and Right: conservative candidates and organizations have to raise money from individuals who contribute voluntarily, out of conviction, while Democrats and liberal organizations are able to extract money by force from taxpayers and others. The Left has managed to institutionalize itself.
Labor unions are the most notorious example of this phenomenon, although by no means the only one. In many states, Democratic politicians have enacted laws that compel workers to contribute to labor unions; union bosses, in turn, take much of that money and contribute it to Democratic politicians. This is the real “dirty money” in politics.
Most people do not realize the extent to which unions dominate special interest spending on elections. When you talk about special interests, it is hardly worth mentioning any other than unions. This chart, from Open Secrets, shows the fifteen largest contributors to federal campaigns during the period 1989-2012. Ten of the fifteen are unions:
Not a single one of the top fifteen gives primarily to Republicans.
The unions’ greatest enemy is freedom of choice. Experience shows that most people, given the option, will decline to join unions. Currently, this is being borne out in Wisconsin, where Governor Walker’s public sector union reforms–among other things, his legislation ended forced union membership in the public sector and required unions to be recertified annually–have allowed state and local employees to abandon unions in droves. One of the most stunning results is the extent to which public sector unions are being decertified. The most recent instance is the Kenosha school district, as Right Wisconsin reports:
Now that Wisconsin’s educators have been given the right to choose whether or not to belong to a labor union, the unions are struggling to attract enough members to stay afloat. Proving all along that the union leaders didn’t really represent their members, as much as sponge off of them.
Under a provision of Act 10, public employee unions are required to file for annual re-certification by August 30 if they wish to remain a recognized bargaining unit. Thursday Afternoon, Mark Belling broke the news that only 37 percent of the teachers in the Kenosha Unified School District voted to reauthorize the union in a recent vote. … Kenosha Unified is the third largest school district in the state.
Wisconsin’s public sector unions may soon be on life support:
In 2010 — the year that Walker was elected governor — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 48 was thriving, having enrolled more than 9,000 workers and reporting income exceeding $7 million.
By the end of 2012, District Council 48 was down to just under 3,500 dues-paying members — a loss of nearly two-thirds of its represented workers. …
Other public employee unions are faring only marginally better. Most have lost between 30% and 60% of their members in the past two years.
With their ability to extract dues by compulsion taken away and their memberships plummeting, Wisconsin’s public sector unions will no longer be able to funnel millions of dollars into the Democratic Party’s coffers. Freedom is a wonderful thing.”
What we have here is a significant move that may serve to level the political landscape by removing the forced contribution to liberal candidates that compulsory union membership causes is reduced if not eliminated. Where is worked in Wisconsin, and Michigan, it is far less likely in my state of Minnesota where the unions are intertwined and with indistinguishable from the DFL party.