FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What’s More Meaningless Than a Speech? A Union Endorsement

Norman Mailer once pointed out something that was already painfully obvious to most people. He said that no politician (and he included himself in that general category when he ran for mayor of New York City, in 1969) is going to utter a single word that he or she isn’t convinced will attract votes. It’s axiomatic. No aspiring office seeker is going to intentionally say something that will lose them votes.

So when Donald Trump said that he favored single-payer health insurance, that he disapproved of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling, that he abhors our recent trade agreements, that he was opposed to the Iraq War, and that he favors raising taxes on the wealthy, we can assume he isn’t channeling Noam Chomsky so much as he’s talking out of his butt, trolling for votes.

And he is doing the exact same thing when he vows to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, when he suggests we should “segregate” or “quarantine” Muslims, and when he promises to “fix” the Chinese (Huh?) Although he is aiming those statements at an entirely different demographic, they were nonetheless designed to attract votes, just as every other comment was.

But if political speeches are no more credible than TV commercials for laundry detergent—indeed, if talk is cheap, and highfalutin, idealistic platitudes are even cheaper—then what are we pilgrims supposed to use as a basis for voting for a candidate?

Basically, all we have to go on is a candidate’s history. A candidate’s character, deeds, and voting record. Which was the basis of my voting for Ralph Nader, in 2000. It wasn’t Nader’s rhetoric that swayed me (he promised to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act, which, as tantalizing as it sounded, was pie-in-the-sky bullshit), and it wasn’t his record as a public servant because he never held office. Rather, it was Nader’s sterling character and life-long philosophy.

Which, tangentially, seems to be why Hillary Clinton remains unpopular with some hardcore Democrats. Unfortunately, her personal history seems to indicated that she is predisposed to military action, and way too accommodating to Wall Street. Speeches won’t help her. Compared to the currency of past deeds and actions, “pretty words” are worthless.

Yet one can argue that there is something even “less meaningful” than political rhetoric, and that is endorsements by labor unions. Which is to say, if Bernie Sanders honestly believed that gaining support of the CWA’s (Communication Workers of America) executive board was going to result in hundreds of thousands of CWA union members voting for him, he was deluding himself.

Union endorsements carry about as much weight as being someone’s “friend” on Facebook. People who dig Hillary will continue to dig her even if she crosses some horrid imaginary line, and conversely, people who despise her will continue to despise her even if she appeared to undergo a genuine epiphany. As for organized labor’s “seal of approval,” forget about it. It’s not going to matter.

As for Clinton’s stable of unions, she has lined up an impressive array of big-time players, including the SEIU, AFSCME, the ILA, both national teachers groups (NEA and AFT), along with dozens of others. While Bernie was able to nab the CWA, as well as postal workers, transit workers, nurses, and west coast longshoremen (ILWU), he didn’t come close to matching Hillary.

Still, none of this is going to matter because very few working men and women are going to vote for a candidate simply because their parent union tells them to. People are simply too ornery and independent to do what their nominal “leaders” tell them to do, which, in truth, is fairly commendable.

And of course, we’re talking solely of Democrats here, as precious few Republican presidential candidates have gotten union support. The Teamsters disgraced themselves by endorsing Nixon in 1972, and Ronald Reagan in 1980. Oddly, Donald Trump has actually gotten a union endorsement. Can anyone guess? It’s the National Border Patrol union. How sweet is that?

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail