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View Diary: Peasants as far as I can see (169 comments)

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  •  The Democrats had a huge chance to kill Taft (24+ / 0-)

    Hartley in 1965. With 68 seats in the Senate, 295 seats in the House, a master legislator in the White House, the Congress that passed Medicare, Medicaid, the Voting Rights Act, Higher Education Act and Freedom of Information Act.

    The decline of unions was already apparently at the time. Union membership as a percentage of the workforce had peaked 10 years earlier. As early as 1960, some experts had identified a weakness in private sector unions' structure that only allowed them to survive under oligopolistic conditions.

    The unions were not asking for a repeal of Taft Hartley, only a repeal of section 14(b), which allow states to enact right to work laws outlawing the union shop and agency shop. Without union shop, unions are faced with the so called free rider problem where non union employees can benefit from union bargaining without paying union dues.

    Unfortunately, Democrats missed their chance as an alliance of Dixiecrats and Republicans blocked the bill. Without the filibuster it would have narrowly passed. At that time Congress was dominated by this so called 'conservative coalition' and had been since 1938 and to some extent would continue to be up until the present.

    In 1968 the unions backed Hubert Humphrey. At that point a huge rift had opened up between the unions and the then ascendant New Left. After HHH lost the General, the so-called McGovern-Fraser reforms took power over the nomination process away from the urban machines and eventually into the hands of primary election voters. The short term impact was the unions didn't back McGovern in '72. The long term impact was the monetary cost of running a successful campaign skyrocketed, particularly due to the need to run television advertising. As the party machines lost power, individual candidates came increasingly to rely on large donors and expensive television and direct mail campaigns, where union money was quickly drowned out by a much larger volume of corporate money. And the rest is history.

    "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

    by randomfacts on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:05:21 AM PST

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