What on God’s green earth has gotten into the Wilkes County (NC) Democrats? Here it is, the first pretty April Saturday of a snowy, blowy spring. There’s yards to mow, balls to toss, plants to plant, Blue Ridge Mountains to hike–all of which you’d think would be mighty tempting on Democratic convention day in a place where Republicans have a damn near two-to-one edge. “Welcome to red-hot Republican territory,” says Dick Sloop, a career-military retiree turned antiwar protester who’s the new county Democratic chair. “We’ve been like the homeless around here: silent and invisible. The best we ever did in my lifetime, we had two Democrats once on a five-seat county commission.” Even here in western North Carolina, where Republicans have proliferated since the Civil War (when the woods were full of Union sympathizers rather than pro-lifers), Wilkes County–Bible-thumping, economically slumping–has stood out for its fire-and-brimstone conservatism. It’s been a stiff challenge to find folks willing to run against the Republicans. Hell, it’s been rare to hear anybody publicly admit to being a Democrat. “You’ve got a lot of people in this county who probably couldn’t tell you if they’ve ever met one,” Sloop says. But in a scene playing out this year all across “red America,” from these lush hills to the craggy outcroppings of the Mountain West, previously unfathomable crowds of Democrats are streaming up the steps of the old county courthouse, past bobbing blue balloons and Welcome Democrats! signs. They’re hopping mad about the national state of things but simultaneously giddy with a new-found hope–finally!–for their party.
Source: St. Petersburg Times and CQ.com
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FactCheck.org from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania
To navigate the timeline, click and hold your mouse on each band to scroll left and right. The top band represents each month, the bottom each year. Clicking on the text will display information on each event.
See Also: 2008 White House Derby: The Field So Far
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An analysis of voters’ views on unions and other pertinent issues in light of Democratic candidates’ efforts to win union support.
Seven Democratic candidates met on Soldier Field in Chicago on Tuesday to address a predominantly union audience at a candidate forum sponsored by the AFL-CIO. While membership in labor unions nationally has been declining in recent decades, nearly two-in-10 self-described Democrats (18%) live in households with a union member, according to a January poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2007
Stay tuned to this calendar from the National Conference of State Legislatures for updates.
As it stands right now, 32 states and the District of Columbia will hold presidential primaries or caucuses before the end of February. On February 5 alone, 16 states will hold primaries or caucuses. If changes currently under consideration in five states are made, that number could grow to 37 states and D.C.
Source: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2007
From the press release:
Menlo Park, CA – With health care emerging as the top domestic issue in the 2008 presidential election, the Kaiser Family Foundation today launched a new website – health08.org – that will provide analysis of health policy issues, regular public opinion surveys, and news and video coverage from the campaign trail….
…The new health08.org website (http://www.health08.org) – which will be free of charge and not include advertising – will serve as a hub of information about health and the election, including original content produced by Kaiser and easy access to health-related resources from the campaigns, other organizations, and news outlets.
Source: Roland Zullo, Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, Vol. 10 no. 2, June 2007
This essay examines the strategy of political voluntarism, defined as a neutral political affiliation, by testing whether or not union political action committee (PAC) donations to congresspersons in the 2000 election cycle affected their roll call votes in subsequent years. Results indicate that overall, the Republicans became more antilabor in their roll call patterns after the election of George W. Bush, and that labor PAC donations did not moderate this shift. Democrats, however, became more prolabor in their roll call voting, and this trend was likewise independent of labor support. Finally, there is no evidence that congresspersons retaliated against labor when an electoral rival was supported. These findings underscore the importance of political parties in shaping public policy and challenge the utility of a labor political strategy that is party neutral. A strategic alternative, political idealism, is discussed.
Source: Robert Bussel, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 32 no. 2, June 2007
…To be sure, many legislators exhibited an appreciation of the union movement’s political role, especially its fundraising ability and capacity to mobilize volunteers for electoral activity. However, members of the United Labor Lobby believed that the focus on specific pieces of legislation and the logistics of campaign support tended to obscure political leaders’ understanding of the underlying values and motivations involved in shaping labor’s political priorities. As a result, the United Labor Lobby and LERC agreed to develop an educational program that would address this knowledge gap and provide Oregon legislators with a broader perspective regarding unions’ fundamental beliefs and their larger social role.
A labor victory in the new Congress depends on the definition of what it means to win. Labor’s broad agenda is passable in almost inverse relationship to that agenda’s capacity to strengthen the institutional and political power of trade unionism itself. This has been true for more than forty years, ever since the mid-1960s, when, during the second of the two great surges of liberal legislation in the last century (the mid-1930s is the other one) civil rights, Medicare, immigration reform, and aid to education passed with relative ease, while the repeal of 14b, which allowed Southern and Western states to pass and maintain right-to-work laws had no chance in a Congress dominated by ostensible liberals.
Today’s Congress is far less liberal than that of forty-two years ago, and of course there is a right-wing Republican in the White House, but the dynamic is much the same. Those elements of labor’s agenda that are the least attached to the institutional needs of trade unionism per se have the best chance of passage. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and it provides some guidance for labor strategists.
The South is more purple than red, and Democrats don’t need to sell their souls to win it back.