It is unclear how much union support Hillary Clinton actually has.
Even though Jimmy Hoffa Jr. of the Teamsters union endorsed Clinton Friday, the endorsement is undercut by the fact that Hoffa is losing support within his own union.
The internal Teamsters union FAIR has been battling Hoffa from the inside, prompting a settlement with the Obama administration in 2013 that showed Hoffa himself had engaged in union-busting. In particular, Hoffa’s mismanagement of the union’s pension fund has been called “Hoffa’s Iraq” by insiders.
The surprising Washington Post headline “Rank-and-file unions backing Trump” garnered a pepileptic fit from The Hill reporter Jonathan Swan:
This WaPo headline is factually indefensible. Story is even worse. The Hill did detailed reporting debunking this. pic.twitter.com/WXiyqIztKQ
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) August 20, 2016
Now even one of the most reliably Democratic groups — union members — may be turning red, drawn by Trump’s free-trade bashing and resentful of Hillary Clinton’s past support for certain international trade agreements.
“I don’t know what Trump would do if he’s elected,” said Mark Glyptis, president of the United Steelworkers Local 2911 and a Trump supporter, who voted for Obama in the past two elections. “But I know what Hillary would do.”
If Trump wants to flip the electoral map and win in November, this may be his most promising strategy. His critique of trade deals may not only help him win Weirton and the rest of West Virginia, but also other, more critical industrial belt states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Union workers have been showing up to Trump rallies since Iowa. Trump said that anti-TPP Bernie Sanders supporters will instead join his tent.
When blue-collar union members show up to the polls in November and look at the options — pro-business Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton — will their allegiances be to their Brotherhood or to their brothers?