Like his positions on many issues, Virginia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s position on Big Labor has been ambiguous at best. Yet, union leaders are happy to overlook his lack of commitment to their wants; they are interested, instead, in turning Virginia into a Democrat state that will light up a bright blue on the electoral college map. Then, it is on to Texas.
In Tuesday’s Washington Examiner, Sean Higgins reminds us that earlier this year, AFL-CIO leaders announced a major push in 2014 to turn Texas into a blue state. Though that plan might sound overly ambitious, it was also once thought that turning solidly conservative Virginia into a blue state was a longshot. However, the current race between Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat McAuliffe demonstrates otherwise. RealClearPolitics currently gives McAuliffe a 7.2 point lead over Cuccinelli.
According to Higgins:
In fact, Big Labor is honing skills in the Old Dominion right now it will need to succeed in the Lone Star State. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has received nearly $2 million from Big Labor, about 10 percent of the $18 million he’s raised overall.
It’s not just cash, either. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, much of the union funds are in-kind contributions for staff, phone banks, voter canvasing and related labor-intensive get-out-the-vote efforts.
Big Labor, in fact, is not really ecstatic about McAuliffe’s commitment to its cause. In fact, as Higgins points out, McAuliffe has a “spotty” record on labor issues and has purposefully removed himself from the fray surrounding their demands. McAuliffe has even suggested that Virginia would remain a right-to-work state under his administration.
In addition, McAuliffe will not say if he will back “project labor agreements” for state construction projects, in which the state is required to pay workers union-level wages even if they are not unionized.
Nevertheless, if McAuliffe wins, Big Labor will get a seat at the table, which is a lot more than they have now in Virginia, and they will take it as they bide their time rolling out what they did in Texas.
Much of the gain for Big Labor in Virginia has been due to the tremendous expansion in the northern part of the state with more Democrat white-collar voters and more ethnic voters as well. Higgins observes that Caucasians have decreased from 76 percent of the state’s population in 1990 to 64 percent last year.
With the burgeoning Latino population in Texas, Big Labor will likely have a welcome audience for its message and the machinery in place to roll it out.
If we take a look as well at the scoffing over “Abortion Barbie” Wendy Davis’ bid for Texas governor, the idea that Davis will actually beat Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott seems unlikely, yet what the left will have in place by the time Election Day rolls around will be another well-oiled machine and get-out-the-vote effort that will serve them well in 2016.
Unfortunately, Higgins decides that what all this means for conservatives is that they should stop being obsessed “with grand, futile gestures and attacking the moderates inside its own coalition.”
Rather, the real lesson here is conservative Americans need to stay on their toes in the states, without taking current red states for granted. Supporting conservative candidates–even those in other states than our own–with funding and get-out-the-vote efforts will help to keep eyes fixed on the big picture. Because Big Labor certainly is doing the same.