October 21, 2005


Element of Suspense: Unions are shaken — and that may affect the vote (HAROLD MEYERSON, 10/20/05, LA Weekly)

The right’s operation for the November special election is taking shape. The California Republican Party has hired Gary Marx, an expert in getting the religious right to the polls, to gin up cultural conservatives’ turnout in what is sure to be a low-turnout election. They will come — so goes the theory — to support Proposition 73, which requires teens to obtain parental consent for abortions, and linger to vote for the four ballot measures that the party really cares about, the ones sponsored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But what of it? The left’s operation in California is the stuff of legend, is it not? The army of union staffers and activists has transformed the state over the past decade by turning out the union-household and Latino voters in one election victory after another. In the seemingly snoozer of an election, the centerpiece of which is Proposition 75, a Schwarzenegger-backed measure that would greatly weaken public-sector unions’ ability to wage political campaigns, the union army should carry the day again — shouldn’t it? [...]

There’s little doubt that the public-sector unions directly affected by Prop. 75 will mobilize their own. The question is what the members of private-sector unions will do on November 8. One early October poll of AFL-CIO members showed them splitting evenly on the measure, 47 percent to 46 percent, when the measure was read to them. When it was more fully explained, 34 percent favored it and 57 percent were against. Proposition 75, after all, was crafted to sound like a union-democracy issue, requiring public-sector unions to obtain members’ written permission for political spending. In fact, such union members already have the right to withhold their dues for such purposes, and roughly 20 percent of unionized state workers do exactly that. The greater goal of the measure is simply to hamstring unions’ electoral endeavors and thereby remove the linchpin of the Democrats’ mobilization efforts.

"more fully explained" may be our euphemism of the day.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 21, 2005 8:24 AM

A battle between the big Terminator and a bunch of little ones.

Posted by: John at October 21, 2005 9:28 AM