Union Busting – Not a Smart Presidential Platform, Scott

Last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker abandoned his bid for the Republican nomination for president, prompting speculation about ways in which his campaign failed and how much Trump had to do with it.

NewsMax instantly labeled Walker a “casualty of the Donald Trump machine” due to the political outsider’s wild popularity and the Wisconsin governor’s dramatic decline in the polls, down from a 12 percent first-choice rating in early August to less than .5 percent after the second debate.  

Walker blamed Trump too, when he begged other candidates to drop out and leave voters with a strong conservative “alternative to the current front-runner (Donald Trump).”

It actually wasn’t Trump who brought on the demise of Scott Walker; Walker walked himself off the plank when he decided on a single-aspect platform: union busting. 

Walker levied a slew of criticisms at organized labor while he was systematically dismantling Wisconsin’s middle class, and this managed to get him into the national spotlight.

But once he was there, it became increasingly obvious that his war on unions was nothing more than an attempt to mask his own willingness to sell out Wisconsin’s workers to his billionaire campaign donors.

Looking at the rest of Walker’s platform also demonstrates why his campaign failed: There was nothing else.  Walker catered to corporations at the expense of workers, and voters realized that there wasn’t any substance in his campaign for them to support. 

Walker took his campaign to Eureka College on Sept. 10 to drill his tiresome message a week before the second Republican debate, harping, again on his one and only idea and boasting that he planned to go to Las Vegas to lay out a national union busting agenda.

When Walker went to Vegas to push union busting, political pundits criticized his underwhelming, single-focused platform.

Union-busting got him through some tough elections in Wisconsin, but at 17 percent, Nevada has a high rate of unionization, and a majority of its people (including Republicans) won’t tolerate anti-union legislation.

The day after he spoke in Las Vegas, Walker’s rating dropped to 3 percent – a far cry from the lead he had at 19 percent in July. 

Even with an honest-to-God, corporate tycoon running for president (Trump), it was Walker who became known for working for the rich, hating workers and attacking the institution of collective bargaining. 

In fact, Casino owner Trump, the “chief reason” for Walker’s failed campaign, according to Dick Morris, CNN, the Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, is on record with Bill O’Reilly proclaiming respect for organized labor:  “You know I’ve had a great relationship over the years with unions.  We’ve had collective bargaining.  I’ve become very wealthy.  I’ve dealt with unions, because, you know, New York is largely unions; you’re dealing with them.  I have great friends that are in unions and heads of unions.”

Scott’s anti-union mission drove his own state of Wisconsin further into economic distress. There, he succeeded in busting unions and passing so-called right-to-work legislation, but he couldn’t manage his goal of balancing the state’s budget. Wisconsin’s debt has increased while its neighbor, Minnesota, has a surplus under its Democratic governor. 

Since Walker was elected to office, Wisconsin’s middle class shrank from 49.4 percent in 2010 to 48.9 percent of households in 2013. Since 2000, Wisconsin suffered the largest decrease in middle-income households of any state. 

During Walker’s tenure, Wisconsin’s remaining middle class struggled.

Reversing these troubling trends “would require raising the minimum wage and unions, especially in the manufacturing industry,” according to Marc Levine, economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Instead, Walker continues to blame unions for Wisconsin’s economic strain, because it just wouldn’t be proper Reaganomics to blame Republicans’ ineffective trickle-down taxation system. 

In the case of Scott Walker, Trump can’t take all the credit for knocking this competitor out of the race, and Walker can’t blame his failure on Trump’s popularity. Walker’s unpopular one-dimensional strategy killed his campaign.

Posted In: Union Matters

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