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No Surprise Except the Timing: AFT Endorses Hillary Clinton for President

July 11, 2015 pm31 5:51 pm

It’s no surprise that the AFT endorsed Hillary Clinton. The close alliance between AFT President Randi Weingarten and Clinton is well-known.

It’s a bit of surprise that it happened today, six months before the first primary, sixteen months before the general election. The AFT Press Release claims that members were engaged in the decision process. That comes as news to me. Unions are organized in locals and chapters… certainly I did not see engagement at that level. But the AFT (and UFT’s) political action wings treat us not as a membership organization, but as a PAC. So I do not doubt that they did an in house poll and some sort of unscientific website survey.

In any case, the question is not about the eventual result – this union’s leadership is clearly pro-Hillary – and not even about the lack of process (though it would be nice to at least make a gesture towards asking members).

No, the question is about the timing. So early??? The answer probably has a lot to do with Bernie Sanders’ recent surge in the polls, especially in early Iowa and New Hampshire.

As pundits have pointed out, even if Sanders somehow slips ahead in those two states, they are outliers, he has only the slightest chance at the nomination. But cautious Clinton is taking no chances, especially after 2008.

From this seat, it was nice that Bernie was pushing the race to the left, raising issues of banking and foreign policy and economic policy. It would have been nice to let the campaign develop before an AFT endorsement. Anyone for an AFTers for Bernie?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Pearl permalink
    July 12, 2015 pm31 12:22 pm 12:22 pm

    Once again, we have an undemocratic union whereas the “leaders” act in a vacuum. How is it that they “reached out” to the rank and file. Is it still a union?! Is there a “paper trail” that reflects how the union polled its members? Or are there too many sheep in the rank and file so that the leadership takes our “nodding” with them for granted? No polling necessary.

  2. July 13, 2015 am31 4:16 am 4:16 am

    I’m in a country with a very shaky (distant?) association with democracy, for which it occasionally gets US criticism. Commentators and comics alike are salivating at the upcoming general election showdown: Clinton vs Bush. You know the type of material they are preparing:

    How is the US like a representative democracy? Anyone with the last name Clinton or Bush has an equal chance of getting elected president.

    Maybe it sounds better before translation?

    • July 13, 2015 am31 9:05 am 9:05 am

      No, it does not sound better before translation.

      What you’ll see on twitter, facebook, and in blogs is that the federation’s local, activist base skews away from Hillary Clinton and towards Bernie Sanders. That’s why the union does not poll through local meetings (those favor activists) and uses telephone polling (favors non-involved, non-active members)


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