Labor Unions’ Impact on Presidential Races

Topics: Trade union, Election, United States presidential election Pages: 8 (2606 words) Published: March 1, 2013
ABSTRACT
Labor unions do not only donate, contribute or fund political parties or presidential candidates but also influence presidential elections. The question, however, is how do they-labor unions- impact presidential races? This research examines and investigates how labor unions impact voter turnouts and vote choice during presidential races. Investigating and analyzing electioneering trends in the United States for the period, 1984-2012, through quantitative analysis of secondary data from electoral databases and statistics. It shows that socioeconomic status of labor union households have had an undeniable influence on voters choice of a presidential candidate, at least as shown by the last 8 elections-from 1984 to 2012-United State presidential elections. It also shows that being a member of a labor union or belonging to a labor union household impacts a person’s decision of whom to vote for in presidential races. Labor unions also influence not only presidential elections, but, presidential primaries, which eventually translates to their impact on the electoral votes contest. Additionally, it confirms that labor unions, surprisingly, have no significant impact on voter turnout in presidential races, at least, as far as American elections are concerned. This is explained by political, socioeconomic factors and declining membership of the labor unions.

INTRODUCTION
How labor unions impact, is not a simple question at all, so let’s start by looking in places where answers may be easier to find. I started by looking at donations. Since the decision of the court case Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, it has been made possible to donate unlimited amounts of money to election campaigns. Most would think that since the union is on a heavily and steadily decline with membership, that there would be no way for them to play any type of role. This is especially true when going up against millionaires and billionaires, whose sole interests lie in crushing labor unions so that they and their corporations can continue to make more money. But labor unions, in fact have been near the top of the contributors list, with such unions as National Education Association contributing $12.4 million, ranking #6 on the Top Overall Donors list, followed closely by United Auto Workers who donated $12.3 million. In the top 20 donors there are 8 labors alone according to a data breakdown on OpenSecrets.org. The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government. If we take a look history, we see that traditionally labor unions have endorsed or been for the part, a Democratic-leaning organization. The effect of being a union member or even just part of a union family, the likelihood is that they will vote of a democrat. Taking 2008 for instance, of union members and/or households approximately 59% voted for President Obama versus 51% in non-union, as stated in the national exit poll information. LITERATURE REVIEW

Extensive research has shown that labor has always been in politics. Membership involvement has always been key and is something that has always been taught in the whole realm of how labor unions operate. It is one thing to organize workers and get them to understand the fight that much take place for them to not only make a livable wage, increase safety standards and so on, but it’s extremely important to know that political involvement aids to keep structure, governances and rules in place. Without politicians to help fight the fight, labor would be at an extreme loss. Such things as right-to-work laws evidence this. The Knights of Labor were definitely oriented towards political policy and action. But even the conservative American Federation...

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