The thing more important than not making mistakes, because mistakes are inevitable, is learning from those mistakes to avoid repeating them.
The Organized Labor Rank and File initially supported nominee contender Bernie Sanders in large, if not majority, numbers because of his positions which were not only good for Union and non-union workers alike, but were good for the entire American Working Middle Class.
But when Bernie Sanders lost the Democrat nomination to Hillary Clinton, Labor shifted its endorsements almost unanimously to Hillary Clinton. Not because her policies were necessarily good for Labor, but because they would have been arguably less threatening to Labor than Donald Trump’s.
As a result many Union Members did not follow their Union’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton with their votes. This failure to deliver a large block vote serves only to weaken the political power and influence of Organized Labor.
In other words, Organized Labor was compromised by compromising and moving its support from a true Champion of Labor and the American Working Middle Class to a candidate who was just the lesser of two evils.
But what if Organized Labor had not budged? What if Organized Labor had insisted on staying the course to the bitter end with Bernie Sanders, whether he continued his run as a third party Independent or we endorsed him as a write-in candidate, even in spite of any announcements that he would no longer accept our support?
It might appear at first glance that such radical unwavering support of Bernie Sanders by Organized Labor would not have made much difference in the 2016 Presidential election.
But we can see now that had we continued to support Bernie Sanders, despite his nomination concession and endorsement of Hillary Clinton, we would have been noticed for this action and we would have made the news for it then. And we would continue to be in the post-election news for it now. We would have been challenged to defend our Support of Bernie Sanders and even berated and vilified for it by the press and the establishment. But that’s a good way to jump start a modern social movement because that’s exactly what Trump expertly exploited that worked so well for him. Get in the news and stay in the news. Which proves the old axiom, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
Had Organized Labor stayed with Bernie Sanders, we would be in a better position today to demand that the corporate/Wall Street controlled establishment faction of the DNC that is most responsible for the 2016 election failure to bend to our will in setting the agenda for future elections. We would be better positioned to help lead the Democrat party back to its former historic direction of actually being the party of and for the American Working Middle Class and Labor as the DNC rebuilds from its 2016 defeats.
And I would further contend that while in our current state of Organization and without his having the DNC nomination, we may not have been able to get Bernie Sanders any closer to the Presidency than third place. But we would have drawn a lot of anti-establishment voters in the flyover and swing States, and probably more from Trump than from Clinton and that may have changed the momentum and the dynamic enough that Hillary Clinton might have actually won the Electoral College. Read that again.
I would further argue that had Organized Labor stayed the course with Bernie Sanders and if Trump had still won the election, we would still be in a better position than we are today. We would have, even if slightly, a little more respected principled and influential voice in the formulation of his administration and his agenda than we do now. Republicans are the enemy to the American Working Middle Class and the Labor movement only because they choose to be so with the policy decisions they make. Show them powerful enough reasons, i.e. enough votes, and they will change those policies.
Strength is not built from always taking the safe and easy way out.
Leadership is not gained by never making bold moves, not taking some calculated risks or constantly making compromises.
Opportunities not taken are opportunities lost.
Which leads me to ask these questions, why is it that organizations representing lawyers, doctors and such are courted by both political parties and advance their causes no matter who is in power? Yet Organized Labor which represents American Working Middle Class workers fails to make significant advances on the field when Democrats are in power and we get pushed back into our own end zone when Republicans are in power?
It appears to me that we just aren’t playing the game right.
I realize Monday morning quarterback hindsight is 20/20. But hindsight can be a valuable tool if used to objectively analyze and learn from our mistakes to avoid repeating them.
First Name: Mike
Last Name: Nodine
Union/Local : Atlanta Metro Area Local 32
Office held if any: Workroom Floor Steward-