January 19, 2004

Iowa Labor Brawl Results

Does anybody remember that this was supposed to be the battle of labor? The two halves of the modern US labor movement had picked different candidates. Government labor unions organized for Dean. Industrial unions stood by Gephardt. Iowa is supposed to be where organization is king and labor is supposed to be the big suppliers of manpower for the Democrat party.

Well, government unions 'won' the battle with their industrial counterparts but together, they pulled only only 28.5% of the vote (1951 of 1993 districts reporting). Kerry, with his own formidable, non-union ground operation, pulled 37.6% of the vote to take first place but the big embarrassment for organized labor was Edwards who had the weakest organization of all four candidates but did better than both labor backed pols put together, winning 31.8% of the vote on a series of positive speeches and a winning smile.

The labor movement fought it out in the fields of Iowa and the trial lawyer won. Edwards is the big winner of the night, making the most of his weak hand. Kerry has to be given his due, keeping his powder dry and surging at just the right time. Organization made a difference, giving Kerry 1st place.

Will labor prove as weak in the rest of the contests? With Gephardt gaining zero delegates and not going on to New Hampshire (he's returning to his native Missouri instead), it seems clear he will withdraw, freeing up the industrial unions to support another candidate. Will it be Dean? Will it even matter?

Posted by TMLutas at January 19, 2004 10:36 PM