Tuesday, February 2, 2016

AFT/NEA, Randi/Lily Big Losers in Iowa and Troubles Ahead

...tonight’s results will resonate throughout the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, because they will reveal the current correlation of political forces within those unions. The winners, and their margins of victory, will tell us which way the wind blows when it comes to the Democratic mainstream, services-oriented unionists vs. the socialist, movement-oriented unionists.
......EIA Intercepts, Teacher Unionists Will Be Victorious Tonight, But Which Ones?

Pre-election Commentary from Mike Antonucci pretty much nailed the disaster for Randi and Lily last night in the 50-50 split between Bernie and Hillary. Mike is one of the only commentators who actually delves into the internal differences in teacher unions between Unity and MORE types.
NEA and AFT endorsed Clinton early, even though there was substantial opposition within both unions. NEA polled a random sampling of members, who preferred Clinton by a wide margin over Sanders. But Clinton couldn’t crack 50 percent. Even worse, Sanders supporters were much more vocal and enthusiastic than Clinton supporters... 
And here comes the kicker:
The unions pressed ahead with Hillary, and they have unleashed the full power of their dues money, campaign expertise and professional advocates. Both NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia and AFT president Randi Weingarten are in Iowa, personally directing the effort.
Now I get it why Hillary ended up in a virtual tie with Bernie. Blame Randi.
These things are never decided on education or labor issues, but a vote is a vote regardless of why. If Hillary wins by more than a whisker, it will validate NEA/AFT’s traditional approach in a notably non-traditional election cycle. The inevitability factor will re-emerge, both for Clinton and for the status quo in union leadership. 
If Sanders wins, the whole conversation changes, especially since he’s a virtual lock in New Hampshire next week. Sanders’ threat to Clinton’s national campaign is probably overstated, but it will require her to rely on the Southern primaries and her advantages with African-Americans to carry the day.
That’s good news for Clinton, but not necessarily for the teachers’ unions. They are weakest in the very states Clinton would need to carry, diminishing their value to her. NEA and AFT officers will be subjected to at least a month of internal second-guessing and criticism, even more pointed than what we saw last week in The Intercept (no relation) and Mother Jones.
I guess there was no validation. Another reason to vote #MORE2016. There are few outright Hillary supporters I know of in MORE - from the pragmatic end - Bernie can never win and the Republican alternative is a horror show - and I admit that argument is somewhat appealing, especially since my wife is supporting Hillary while I lean toward Bernie.

There is a significant Bernie core in MORE and then there are the left "Bernie is not a real socialist" crew and then there is the - "a plague on all their houses, politics sucks but is like watching a game show."

Hillary's weakness is actually scary as it opens up the possibility of a President Cruz, Trump or Rubio - sort of like a meteor hitting the unions and wiping out the dinosaurs running them.

What if Hillary wins? Isn't that good for the unions?
A subsequent Clinton victory in the November election, achieved without a special and strategically significant contribution of the teachers’ unions, leaves them with a friend in the White House, for sure, but a friend almost exactly like the one they had in Barack Obama in 2008. I’m certain that isn’t the scenario NEA and AFT had in mind when they endorsed Clinton.
 Mike touches on the Trump factor within the unions.
I don’t put much stock in the importance of reported union member support for Donald Trump. Oh, it’s real enough at this stage, as evidenced by this bizarre press release from Working America, “the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.” Most of this will return to the Democratic nominee, within historical bounds, but it does emphasize the disaffection within the unions that liberal media outlets have noticed.
There have always been grumblings in the rank-and-file about union policies, and political campaigns tend to bring them out into the open. But the grumblings have never been this loud before. If NEA and AFT want to quiet them and proceed with business as usual, they better hope for a big Clinton win tonight.
Oy! In the midst of the Friedrichs mess about to come and the Bernie faction saying ---Hmmmm - when it comes time to pay dues to an organization that certainly didn't endorse Hillary with any member input.
Just wait till the Bernie-Hillary show reaches us in the NY Primary and watch some fur fly as Unity/UFT does an all out full court press and in the midst of the UFT election campaign.

Internally in MORE we might see the Bernie crew try to get MORE to endorse him but I will resist -- keep the eye on the prize - the target is Mulgew and Unity Caucus and falling into the Bernie/Hillary battle is a distraction from focusing on the UFT election and the issues of concern to teachers -  MORE should avoid that trap and FOCUS.

1 comment:

  1. Fairly apropos: http://b-loedscene.blogspot.com/2016/02/union-members-who-do-you-love.html


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