The #RedforEd movement took another step forward last week in its efforts to politicize the 2020 presidential election when the 3,600 members of the St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) voted to authorize a strike.
The highly politicized strike vote came less than two weeks before the March 3 presidential primary in Minnesota, one of 14 states (including California and Texas) holding presidential primaries on Super Tuesday.
Three Democrat presidential candidates (Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)) weighed in to support the #RedforEd strike vote authorization by the SPFE.
Notably absent in making any comment was former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (D), who is already not a favorite among teachers unions and the #RedforEd movement because of his longtime support for charter schools.
On Friday, Sanders was the first to tweet his support for the #RedforEd strike authorization vote:
Educators in St. Paul are fighting for special ed, mental health and multilingual support for students and I’m proud to support them. When we organize together, we win. https://t.co/EoBGxrHfNq
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 21, 2020
Two days later, on Sunday, Warren also weighed in:
Teachers deserve fair pay, and students need more mental health resources. And as a former special ed teacher, I know those educators need manageable workloads to best support their students. I stand with the teachers of @SPFE28. https://t.co/2HIMDHXTTs
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 23, 2020
Then, on Monday, Klobuchar tweeted her support for the #RedforEd strike vote cast by St. Paul, Minnesota, teachers:
I come from a union family. I’m the daughter of a union teacher and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for unions. That’s why I stand in solidarity with @SPFE28 and their right to strike and advocate for what their students deserve. #WeAreSPFE #RedForEd
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) February 24, 2020
Subsequently, the SPFE issued a press release noting the support of Sanders, Warren, and Klobuchar, and making no mention of Bloomberg.
As Breitbart News reported in January, the 80,000 member teachers union in Minnesota, Education Minnesota (which is affiliated with both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers), is gearing up to politicize the 2020 election against President Trump:
The #RedforEd teachers’ movement confirmed it is a purely political movement designed to help elect Democrats and stop the re-election of President Donald Trump in 2020. The teachers union in the key battleground state of Minnesota announced it will hold a three-day summit beginning on January 31 to train teachers how to harness their “collective power to defeat Trumpism in 2020 and win a public education system in 2021 that can prevent Trumpism for the next generation.”
The announcement made no mention of the need to improve test scores of Minnesota’s K-12 public school students, which have been declining for several years, as Minnesota Public Radio reported in August.
Teachers unions and the #RedforEd movement have helped power the rise of the Sanders candidacy. The education publication T74 reported that local teachers unions helped power Sanders to an overwhelming victory over his rivals for the 2020 Democrat nomination in Saturday’s Nevada Democrat caucuses:
Few were expecting it when, in January, Bernie Sanders scored one of the early coups of the Democratic presidential primary: The Clark County Education Association, representing nearly 20,000 educators in schools around Las Vegas, gave the Vermont senator their endorsement.
The move made national news for two reasons. The first is the prominence of Nevada’s presidential caucuses, which take place on February 22 and will set the hierarchy of Democratic contenders heading into Super Tuesday. The support of CCEA could prove indispensable in a state where unions are a political superpower unto themselves, and if Sanders rides their organizing power to victory, he will have the inside track to winning the party’s nomination.
But the union’s decision to state a preference was noteworthy in itself. Unlike the last Democratic primary, when the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers preemptively threw their support behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, the two national behemoths have kept their guns quiet in the crowded 2020 contest. So have influential locals like the Chicago Teachers Union, which has chosen to remain on the sidelines even after forceful lobbying from both Sanders and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren.
Breitbart News has reported on the political impact of the #RedforEd movement on the 2020 presidential election since February of 2019:
A well-funded and subversive leftist movement of teachers in the United States threatens to tilt the political balance nationwide in the direction of Democrats across the country as Republicans barely hang on in key states that they need to hold for President Donald Trump to win re-election and for Republicans to have a shot at retaking the House and holding onto their Senate majority.
This teachers union effort, called #RedforEd, has its roots in the very same socialism that President Trump vowed in his 2019 State of the Union address to stop, and it began in its current form in early 2018 in a far-flung corner of the country before spreading nationally. Its stated goals–higher teacher pay and better education conditions–are overshadowed by a more malevolent political agenda: a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states to blue, using the might of a significant part of the education system as its lever.
#RedforEd teachers support for the Sanders campaign is likely to intensify over the next week leading up the Super Tuesday primary. It is unclear what actions Michael Bloomberg can take to stop the flow of energy and momentum this movement provides to the Sanders campaign during this period.