The class realignment has come for America’s unions. The same process that has scrambled partisan attachments and discredited party leadership is now remaking the labor movement. There is a disconnect between national union leadership, much of which is culled from the “revolving door of Democratic operatives in Washington,” as one longtime union leader once put it to me, and rank-and-file members, who tend to be more socially conservative. This matters because of how radically the parties have changed.

Once the Democrats were the party of the working class, favoring limits against trade and immigration to protect workers’ wages, while the Republicans represented the country-club set, with their affinity for cheap foreign labor and cheap foreign goods. Now Republicans represent most working-class voters, while the Democrats represent nine of the 10 richest counties in the United States in a coalition made up of the educated rich and the dependent poor.

Get the best of Compact right in your inbox.

Sign up for our free newsletter today.

Great! Check your inbox and click the link.
Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.