A tough day for those who are concerned about income inequality in America. First the Republican minority in the Senate blocked a genuine effort to reduce the wage disparity between men and women. Though Wyoming has the greatest gap between the wages of men and women in the nation, both of our senators voted to make sure the gap grows larger.
Then, with surprising support from union households, Wisconsin voters retained a governor who promised to destroy the labor movement in a state with a proud history of protecting worker's rights.
The labor movement has been tottering. This vote likely means it is done. Nearly 40% of Wisconsin union members voted to retain the man who loathes them. But union members have grown accustomed to voting for candidates who loathe them. For years union households have been increasingly more concerned about gun rights, illegal immigration, and social issues than they are about their own pocketbooks. It is hard to see the relevance of unions any longer in the fight to bridge the gap between the rich and the middle class much less the poor.
My sense is there will be a total readjustment of the progressive-liberal coalition. Clueless men are out. It will be led by women who understand what male union members have forgotten. In their willingness to vote against their own economic interest unions have forfeited their claim to speak for working people. These macho guys worried Obama, Clinton, Kerry, and Gore were going to come and take way their guns. While they were guarding the gun cabinet, the rich guys took away their future.
The mantle must now pass to women who know what the gap means, who understand how much more difficult it is for families and children than ever before. Women grasp the fact that the use of social issues and hot button rhetoric is a direct threat to their lives. Union members once knew that, but when their children were born on third base, they thought they had hit the triple. You can find very few union members with an appreciation for what the movement did historically that made their lives better and they have been willing to squander it all. I suppose we should have seen this coming in the '60's when the so-called "hardhats" joined Nixon and Agnew in going after anti-war demonstrators in the streets.
Now it's up to women. Unless they fill the progressive vacuum created by self-indulging union men, the next four years under a GOP president and Senate may make the American dream irretrievable.