The Dems and Labor: Balancing Divergent Interests

By November 9, 2006General

At the press briefing yesterday about what the elections portended, we cracked, “More divisions, more finger-pointing, bitter partisanship – and this just in the Democrat Caucus!”

To be sure, there is a wide gulf between some of the Dems’ new leadership (as you can see by their NAM Vote Ratings in this chart) and the newly-elected rank and file. The leadership is distinctly more liberal, while many of the incoming freshmen were elected on fiscally conservative — and some socially conservative — platforms.

One observer at yesterday’s briefing noted that this is similar to the demographic gap that the unions face these days. Some of the industrial unions have many more retired members than active members. At bargaining time, they must try to balance these interests: In dealing with a finite pie, do they safeguard the benefits of the retirees or push for more pay and benefits for the newer, younger workers?

Clearly the Democrat Caucus will have some similar balancing to do, as the approaches, aspirations and the ideologies of the Young Turks and the Old Bulls collide.