Teacher unions smarting after many members vote for Trump https://t.co/98pc8L6wY3
— Greg Toppo (@gtoppo) November 23, 2016
USA Today ed writer Greg Toppo posted a tweet about the teacher unions “smarting” from the membership vote for Clinton and Trump.
It is estimated 1 in 5 AFT members voted for Trump. They estimate 1 in 3 NEA members voted for Trump.
I tweeted back.
This is old news. IEA estimates a third of the members vote Republican in every state and nat’l election. And this is a blue state. https://t.co/aXkrCSna45
— Fred Klonsky (@fklonsky) November 23, 2016
Toppo then admitted that teacher union members outperformed other union members in voting against Trump.
— Greg Toppo (@gtoppo) November 24, 2016
But that fact was buried deep in his USA Today story since it didn’t fit into the workers voted for Trump narrative.
The truth is that teachers across the nation who are members of the two national unions are slightly more progressive than the general voting population. And teachers who are active in the union fall slightly to the left of center within the Democratic Party. That’s why it was fairly easy to get delegates to the NEA convention to endorse Hillary but also why Bernie had a strong base in both of the unions.
In spite of that, NEA leaders felt worried enough about a Clinton endorsement to manipulate the process, as Wikileaks memos between Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and NEA leaders demonstrated. The Clinton campaign, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and AFT President Randi Weingarten totally coordinated their efforts to ensure the Clinton endorsement, even though delelgates to the earlier Representative Assembly were promised no early endorsement would be made.
IEA membership, which is mainly downstate and suburban Chicago, runs less progressive then the organization as a whole. The leadership believes about a third of the IEA membership votes Republican.
Perhaps this explains their endorsement of Governor Bruce Rauner’s GOP Senate Leader Christine Radogno.
Still, the IEA’s political power is weak. They couldn’t get Governor Quinn elected after his betrayal of union members on pensions. They backed Hillary against Sanders in the Illinois primary and she barely won, dropping 20% points in three weeks, even with a major IEA effort and expense.
The real story is the historic failure of the IEA to lead. They haven’t won a major political battle in the state since we won collective bargaining rights over three decades ago. That is so even with over 130,000 members and one of the top funded political action committees in the state.
With eighteen months before the next gubernatorial election and the chance to oust Bruce Rauner, I’m not expecting much of those folks. It will have to come from somewhere else.