Labor unions have spent close to $110 million on the elections from January 2015 through the end of August, which is close to 40 percent more than the $78 million spent at the same point in 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has garnered the endorsements from big labor bosses, despite evidence that many rank and file members are drawn to Republican nominee Donald Trump’s message on trade and the economy.
The Center for Responsive Politics found the National Education Association (NEA) has spent $14.1 million so far in 2016, which is up from the $7.7 million that the powerful teachers union spent at this point in 2012. The American Federation of Teachers endorsed Clinton in July, which angered some members who were staunchly behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The United Autoworkers (UAW) have spent $1 million so far in 2016, and The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has also been vocal in its support for the Democratic nominee.
Big labor’s financial support of Clinton comes even though the nominee has been blasted for previous support of trade deals including NAFTA and President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Democrat nominee shifted her support of TPP, a deal she once called the “gold standard,” and voiced her opposition to the deal after Sander’s insurgent campaign in the Democratic primary forced Clinton to change her tune.
Recent WikiLeaks dumps revealed that Clinton has been communicating a message of open trade and open borders to foreign bankers. In a discussion with a Brazilian bank in 2013, Clinton told the audience that her “dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.” Clinton also asked the audience to think of what “doubling” American trade with Latin America “would mean for everybody in this room.” (RELATED: Surrogates Struggle To Explain Clinton’s Open Border, Open Trade Comments)
Trump has received overwhelming support from at least one large union. The Fraternal Order of the Police (FOP) endorsed Trump in September, as have local police union chapters throughout the country. Chuck Canterbury, the national president of the FOP, praised Trump for his “real commitment to law enforcement” and said he “understands and supports our priorities.” (RELATED: Nation’s Largest Police Union Throws Full Endorsement Behind Trump)
The influence of big labor might be shrinking as states pass right to work laws and union membership continues to plummet, but white voters without a college education make up large segments of the population in some critical battleground states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
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