The Democrat party is an amalgam of special interest groups -- environmentalists, trial lawyers, minorities, college professors, and labor unions, for example. All of these groups, however, are not equally crucial to the survival of the party. Far and away the most important, of course, is organized labor.
The British equivalent to our Democrat party is the Labour party. If there were truth in labeling, that would be the name of the Democrat party. Only the spelling would change.
The Democrat party has numerous reasons to be worried. Possibly the biggest is the degree to which it is dependent on organized labor for its continued success and possibly even its existence. Where would Democrats be without unions, and vice versa? As much as they trumpet the value of diversity, Democrats are dangerously under-diversified.
Only labor unions have the ability to automatically and involuntarily extract campaign funds from their members. Unions have become the equivalent to a guaranteed income for the Democrat party.
Automatic payroll deduction makes unions qualitatively different from any other Democrat support group. Republican governors are currently making great progress in rescinding automatic payroll deduction for public employees in several states.
There is little or no difference between the goals of labor unions and the Democrat party. Their political philosophies are indistinguishable. Both, for example, view people not as individuals but rather as members of groups, all of whom are to have equal incomes, regardless of effort or merit. Although both Democrats and unions would vigorously deny being socialists, both are strongly sympathetic to socialistic ideals.
Much of the most destructive legislation of the past eighty years has been the products of the unholy alliance between the Democrat party and organized labor. Besides being far and away the greatest source of campaign funds, unions have provided a dependable army of disciplined foot soldiers for the Democrat party.
Their alliance has been a major factor in the success of both. The unions rely on the Democrats to bend the rules in their favor -- being exempted from anti-trust and restraint of trade regulations, for example. Everyone else and the economy end up worse off. Unions are rarely prosecuted for widespread corruption, threats of violence, and blatant intimidation. They have been allowed to play by a different set of rules.
Democrats need unions to deliver money and votes, unions need Democrats to deliver legislation that works in their interest. As both organized labor and the Democrat party decline in power, what each can deliver for the other will diminish. Each side of the symbiotic relationship must have power and vitality in order to keep the relationship working.
If the Democrat party finds itself in the minority for an extended period of time, it will be unable to deliver the legislation. The energy necessary to propel the system will peter out. In fact, it's already begun. Democrats were unsuccessful in passing "card check" even when they had majorities in both the House and Senate. Unions are not happy about that.
Organized labor is 100 percent devoted to the Democrat party. Neither should be at all surprised that Republicans are now working to diminish the power of unions. It is only natural for Republicans to be seeking to weaken their opponents' basic support apparatus. Someone should remind Democrats, "Live by the sword, die by the sword."
Less than seven percent of private-sector workers now belong to unions. That is a number that probably scares the hell out of Democrats. Thirty-six percent of government workers are unionized. If public-sector history repeats private-sector trends, the implications are profound. As Washington Post columnist, Robert Samuelson, put it, "Big Labor became Little Labor. If public-sector unions fail, Little Labor could become Mini-Labor." I would only add -- and the once powerful Democrat party will become the Mini-Democrat party. It's way too soon to know for sure, but for Democrats it could be that the party's over.