Memo to Democrats: Mr. Trumka is not showing the love

Well, well, well, what have we here? 

AFL-CIO boss of bosses Richard Trumka is out and about and doesn't sound too pleased with the Democrats. He signalled he understood to why union members voted for President Trump, and thinks the Democrats' Green New Deal stinks.

In an appearance with the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., he answered some questions from the business elites, and his answers were enough to give the entire Democratic Party indigestion.

Here's Vic Reklatis's report on Marketwatch:

“The rules of this economy are designed for the people at the top to do exceptionally well. The people in the middle, not so much, and the people at the bottom, not so much,” said the union leader during a Q&A with the club’s president, David Rubenstein.

Trumka then offered this warning about the “threat to the system of capitalism and democracy”:

When an economic system doesn’t provide a rising standard of living for the vast majority, “history tells us that system gets changed, one way or the other,” Trumka added. “Donald Trump is the first sign of that happening. He said, ‘I’m going to change the rules,’ and people believed him.”

Trumka is no conservative, but those statements have the sound of the conservative gloating cry: "That's why you got Trump!" 

It's also a true statement. Wages have been stagnant for decades - and can be traced to Democratic policies that cut jobs as taxes rise, regulations rise, and bureaucrats are hired. It can also be traced to the vast flow of illegal immigrants who depress worker wages for people at the bottom of the economic scale as the remittances flowed to their home countries. Trumka probably knows this, and knows that defending illegal immigration is a sacred cow for Democrats, so he didn't say anything about illegals (whose membership dues he'd like to have, too) but he's not shying from admitting the obvious side effects. He sounded like he was hearing from his members.

It gets worse:



Interviewer: ...the Green New Deal. Do you support that?

Trumka: Uh, not as currently written.

Interviewer: ...was it too expensive, or did you thinks it was not realistic...

Trumka: (Throws up his hands) We weren't part of the process. And so the workers' interests really wasn't completely figured into it. So we would want a whole lot of changes made to it so workers and our jobs are protected in the process.

Hear that trendy Democratic socialists and Green New Deal authors, so praised by the media? You aren't playing ball. And Trumka is directly throwing that into these coddled Democrats' faces - (and into the face of the House leader who enables them, Speaker Nancy Pelosi). This is quite a different picture from that of the Democratic candidates who are falling all over themselves to sign onto 29-yar-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal - Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and certainly Bernie Sanders. Trumka is telling them to go pound sand.

That's important because a significant share of Trumka's ever-declining union confederation membership does remain in the hands of traditional blue collar workers - white and black guys who work on assembly lines building cars and critical infrastructural projects. Trumka complains that their union didn't get any infrastructure deals from Democrats, and they had expected some, given their all-out efforts to elect Democrats, taking the House. Democrats instead wasted two years focusing on their Russia-Russia-Russia grandstanding and impeaching Trump, which left infrastructure projects and comprehensive immigration reform (which he favors) on the table gathering dust. Democrats could have gotten stuff for him and they didn't.

So now he's going public about not supporting their pet projects.

That's a warning. And lucky for Republicans, Democrats are unlikely to heed it. They have already written off white male voters as as a critical voting bloc in order to focus on young, Latino, black, moderately wealthy, and urban voters. The Green New Deal is just perfect for those purposes. Blue collar union workers? Bunch of racists in MAGA hats.

That dismissiveness must cheese Trumka off. For that reason, the big boss of Big Labor is well worth watching for anything else he might say. Dollars to donuts, Trumka's disgrunted message is likely to be even stronger the next time.

Image credit: Twitter screen grab


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