Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Split Among Local Democrats — Elitist Enviromentalists vs. the Rank-and-File Working Class?

After a slow start, 9/11 survivor Earl C. Johnson appears to be picking up some momentum against Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) in the race for the 23rd District House seat. Many union voters are unhappy with Appleton over her toxic stance against NASCAR. Unions are among Appleton’s biggest supporters and contributors, and helped elect her with their “Labor to Neighbor” program. However, local organized labor, specifically the Olympic Peninsula Building and Construction Trades Council, have steadfastly refused to endorse Appleton for re-election, but have stopped short of endorsing Johnson, a Republican, even though he's in favor of the project.

Although she has been among the most vocally venomous against NASCAR, the Washington State Labor Council, one of Appleton’s strongest political allies, has now come out in favor of the project. Other union groups strongly backing the project include the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, the Kitsap County Central Labor Council, and the Puget Sound Metal Trades Council — which is all the shipyard unions, including the ones at PSNS — along with the building trades councils. While a total of 17 labor organizations in Kitsap, King and Pierce Counties have enforsed the project, the local 23rd District, 26th District and 35th District Democratic organizations have all come out against it.

Labor is one of the more powerful interest groups that traditionally support Democratic candidates and principles. While the environmental factions within the local organizations have long had the upper hand in determining policy, they appear to be completely out of touch with the regular rank and file, working class, Democratic union members on this issue.

The unions have stated they will not endorse, financially support, or work for Democratic candidates who don't support the track. Meanwhile, the party is putting its candidates in the untenable position of either refusing to support the track and risk alienating organized labor and all those union voters — along with their campaign help and contribitions, or refusing to toe the party line and pissing off the greenies in control of party money and campaign help.

It's going to be interesting to watch as this little soap opera plays itself out.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:15 AM

    Nice to hear a person like Larry who remembers the "Little People" in the Democratic Party--those of us who work for a living!