Top Democratic and union leaders play host this week to prospective 2012 Congressional candidates, highlighting labor’s status as a critical cog in progressive campaigns. Some observers believe that, in the aftermath of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to strip the state’s public unions of collective-bargaining rights, labor has found both renewed public sympathy and political momentum.
It’s not clear, however, that such attitudinal shifts will be enough to reverse the steady erosion of union membership, and the voting power that goes with it. That’s the fundamental reality progressives must reckon with as they ponder how to forge electoral majorities.
To offset labor’s declining share of the electorate, Democrats logically must do one of two things: do better among union households or do better among non-union households. As it happens, the key to both is the same – winning more moderate voters.