In a campaign that is increasingly being defined by the public’s weariness with inequality and aspects of free trade, the labor movement has settled on Hillary Clinton as its presumptive presidential preference. The labor movement is fucking up.
Though unions have woefully declined in power over the course of the past generation, they still represent the biggest unified force of average workers in the political sphere. In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton definitively won the union endorsement race over Bernie Sanders months ago. Though Sanders’ policies are objectively closer to the ones that the labor movement calls for, many major unions made the political calculation that Hillary is the likely nominee and the best chance for a Democratic White House, and that it would be wise to get on board with her early on.
In the past few months, the landscape has changed. Donald Trump’s nomination is now a distinct probability. Bernie Sanders, who has steadily polled well against Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup, is still in the race, and engenders a level of grassroots enthusiasm that Hillary does not. After an early wave of union endorsements that mostly went for Hillary, the AFL-CIO decided not to endorse anyone at all in the primary, in a nod to the strength of Sanders’ support. The labor movement could be excused for looking at the political situation as it stands today and wondering why the hell they didn’t endorse Bernie Sanders early on—because if Trump gets nominated, Bernie Sanders could actually win the White House, making him the most pro-labor president in living memory.
Read more: Gawker