It’s the unions, stupid.
Minnesota is not a competitive state, electorally speaking.
While Republican governors are not unheard of — thank you, Mr. Pawlenty — as far as presidential politics go, Minnesota is as blue as they come. In fact, in the post-War era, only the District of Columbia has a more reliable Democratic bias in presidential years; Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes have gone to only two Republicans since World War II, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.
So, Minnesota would seem as solid as a brick as they come in the vaunted Blue Wall, the block of states which consistently vote Left in presidential elections and which give any Democratic nominee an advantage of 242 electoral votes (270 needed to win the Oval Office).
But it needn’t be thus. For the mortar that binds the Blue Wall bricks can be dissolved. That mortar: Organized Labor. Union bosses plunder the pockets of workers, who often have no choice but to pay dues to keep their jobs, and hand the money over to liberal office seekers at every level.
How much money are we talking about? A few years ago, the Wall Street Journal conducted an exhaustive analysis of union political spending and found that labor had contributed an astounding $4.4 billion over a 6-year period. Needless to say, almost all of it went to Democrats.
But even that number doesn’t scratch the surface, for union bosses can turn out volunteers by the tens of thousands to lick envelopes, make calls and knock on doors for the local Democrat running for dogcatcher and Hillary Clinton and every liberal office seeker in between.
It’s a classic quid-pro-quo arrangement, but on a massive scale: Unions elect politicians, who then pass laws making it easier for unions to organize, and on and on it goes, both sides scratching each other’s backs all the way to the bank.
Example: In Minnesota, the state legislature and Governor Mark Dayton passed a law in 2013 declaring some 27,000 of the state’s home healthcare workers “public employees” — but only for the purpose of “collective bargaining.” In other words, these homecare workers, the vast majority of whom are women who care for disabled children or other family members, were arbitrarily defined as public employees so they could be shoved into the suffocating embrace of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
And that’s exactly what happened — the SEIU now represents all 27,000, whether they like it or not and is entitled to 3 percent of the Medicaid subsidy each member receives from the state.
Yes, the SEIU is literally taking money meant to help disabled children.
The Governor and the state legislators made this corrupt bargain for a reason, of course. Organized labor funds their campaign coffers. The Center for Worker Freedom’s Olivia Grady has compiled a comprehensive list of Minnesota politicians who voted for this odious arrangement, and the money they received from unions in one year alone.
For the union, the Medicaid funds they now intercept is found money. It didn’t have to do a traditional organizing campaign, which would have been almost impossible in any case since these people work in the home and are spread throughout the state. The government did the work for them, and the SEIU bosses just sat back and watched the money roll in.
It’s hard to know how much exactly, but labor experts in the state put it easily between $3 and $6 million a year. And again, that’s found money that the union had to do almost nothing to get.
And it’s a lot of money in state politics, especially in rural areas where advertising is cheap. Make no mistake, the SEIU will use this new source of revenue to fund Democratic campaigns, and local Minnesota politics will see a commensurate trend toward blue. And you can bet the newly engorged SEIU will also increase the national Democrat stranglehold on the state.
No wonder for the Democrats, labor is a premier issue. For conservatives, not so much, with a few notable exceptions (Scott Walker, Chris Christie, etc.). Democratic politicians and activists helped unionize the homecare workers en masse; where is the en masse conservative support for the effort to decertify the SEIU?
That support is needed. Many of these homecare workers are disgusted by the corrupt bargain and have no use for a union in their homes or pocketbooks. Led by Kris Greene, a Lakeville-area homecare worker who cares for her disabled daughter, they have begun the legal process of decertification, the only way to legally rid them of the SEIU. Mrs. Greene and her cohorts have begun the daunting task of collecting the 9,000 authorization cards needed to trigger a decertification election.
It is, morally speaking, as pure a crusade as you will find, and Mrs. Greene certainly has the support of a small number of dedicated activists on the ground in Minnesota. But is the state GOP offering volunteers to help canvass on behalf of Ms. Greene? Are the college chapters of the Republican party? Are wise and far-sighted supporters on the national scene flocking to Minnesota?
To ask these questions is to answer them.
To help Mrs. Greene and her supporters would not only be the right thing to do, it would also deal a tremendous financial blow to the bank of the Democratic party, and help make the state more competitive (politically speaking). To break that Blue Wall, these are the kind of fights that must become a priority for Republicans, nationwide and locally. It’s a no-brainer, really.
Unfortunately, no brains are exactly what we’ve come to expect.
Gov. Mark Dayton (C-Span)