Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How Many Republicans Are Communist?

There is a short article on Big Government that focuses on filmmaker Kevin Keating, whom the article calls an "unabashed communist" who is protesting alongside his "union brethren" in support of Democratic financial reform.  The article implies that all union membership is composed of communists, which brings me to the question of how many Republicans and conservatives make up the rank of unions, as well as what percentage of union membership has voted for Republican candidates.

According to a paper by Tracy F. H. Chang of the Center for Labor Education and Research, there has been support from the alleged communist unions and their leadership for conservative candidates.
In the last three decades, about 35% to 50% of the union members voted for the Republican presidential candidates. Based on the American National Election Studies, 40% of the union votes were cast for the Republican candidate George W. Bush in 2000, compared to 33% to the Republican candidate Robert J. Dole in 1996. Brewer shows that there is increasing partisanship on domestic policy issues – the Democratic Party focuses more on government health care and guanaranteed jobs and standard of living, which often align with the political and economic interests of organized labor. Thus the question becomes: why did union members vote for Republican candidates who most likely are not aligned with the economic interests of organized labor?
Looking at the 2000 election, Chang's study states that the number one reason union members had voted for Al Gore was that he supported "organized labor and labor issues," while union members who had voted for President Bush indicated the main reason for voting for the conservative candidate was for his position on "moral values  and issues," such as anti-abortion.  Anti-gun control was also a contributing factor for conservative votes.

According to research by the American National Election Studies, the cause for union members to vote Republican is because there was "a rise of partisanship with the Democratic Party focusing on government-sponsored health care and guaranteed jobs and standard of living which are aligned with the political and economic interests of organized labor."  While unions have been increasingly active in elections, and generally support Democratic candidates, the end result does not reflect their actions.  They have a hard time winning over the hard right, but if the hard right was so hard, why are they members to a union?  Their membership seems to be a contradiction to their principles.  For the most part, it seems that people are part of unions because it benefits them, and if unions were so bad, more companies would have folded up shop years ago.

In my opinion, the talking heads on the right needed a physical manifestation of socialism/Marxism/whatever to vilify, and the obvious choice would be organized labor, because supporting labor would be the opposite of supporting big business, and being that Republicans market themselves as the party of big business, unions would logically be the enemy.  Now that they have unions as the big bad wolf, conservative pundits can have a target to direct their attacks towards, and what better target then one that can match the power of big business.  The only problem is unions are not Democratic machines.  Sure the majority supports Democratic candidates and ideals, but that is not true for all unions and their membership.  

Why hasn't the conservatives attacked unions like the International Brotherhood of Teamsters?  Is it because they backed President Reagan and President H. W. Bush?  They are one of the largest unions and the 11th largest campaign contributor, and since 1990, 92% of their donations were for Democratic candidates.  I haven't heard Glenn Beck devote an hour of his paranoia to discuss the take down of the union, but I have heard him attack the SEIU relentlessly.  I found this interesting page from a Republican member of the SEIU, Charissee Gee, who stated that a majority of "Fairfax County Government Employees Union board members are mostly Republicans."  A majority!  While Beck may make accusations that she is just pretending and his conservative minions may believe that she is part of a Republican cell infiltrated by communists, the fact of the matter is here is a conservative union member, and I am sure Gee and her fellow board members are not alone.

Another claim that I was curious about is that unions are pulling the strings behind the scenes, but how is it that they are responsible for all things evil when their membership is declining?  There are currently 15.3 million union members in America.  Compare that to the party affiliation of registered voters - there are roughly 55 million registered Republicans, 72 million Democrats, and 42 million registered independents.  Considering Chang's study, stating that 35% - 50% of union leadership voted Republican, then we can use those figures to find a basic number of Republicans within the union ranks - an average being a little over 6 million Republicans that are in the unions, or roughly 11% of total registered republicans.  Only 12% of Democrats would then belong to the union.

First off, how is it that there are more registered Democrats then Republicans yet the Republicans claim a majority?  Granted, there is the independent vote, but generally, you can just split that right down the middle.  To claim all independents as leaning one way or another would just be wrong.  Secondly, how is it that unions are bad, and have influence over the Democrats when they make up a small portion of total voters, and comparatively, make up a similar percentage of the Republican ranks?  It seems the conservative argument is broken.

Conservatives are in need of a target, and so they attack organizations that seemingly support Democratic principles.  They rewrite history , completely changing the narrative involving organized labor; they make wild accusations and associations between Democratic officials and alleged subversives; and they encourage the cultivation of lies amongst their base and ignore their propagation. 

Imagine if a liberal equivalent of Glenn Beck made accusations between big businesses and Republicans.  Actually, forget that, because I forgot that Ron Paul had already labeled Obama a "corporatist," and with the SEC investigating Goldman Sachs, apparently Obama is in the pocket of Wall Street.  Which is it?  Union lackey or corporate stooge? 

According to Ralph Nader, most politicians, including Barack Obama, are "toadies."     

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