Organized labor’s early flirtation with Occupy Wall Street is starting to get serious. [...] “The Occupy movement has changed unions,” said Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “You’re seeing a lot more unions wanting to be aggressive in their messaging and their activity. You’ll see more unions on the street, wanting to tap into the energy of Occupy Wall Street.” Unions have long stuck to traditional tactics like picketing. But inspired by the Occupy protests, labor leaders are talking increasingly of mobilizing the rank and file and trying to flex their muscles through large, boisterous marches, including nationwide marches planned for Nov. 17. Organized labor is also seizing on the simplicity of the Occupy movement’s message, which criticizes the great wealth of the top 1 percent of Americans compared with the economic struggles of much of the bottom 99 percent. – Occupy Movement Inspires Unions to Embrace Bold Tactics
Pres. Obama didn’t lift a rhetorical sentence to help Wisconsin activists fight Scott Walker.
In Ohio, Ed Schultz was on the front line, while Pres. Obama stayed out of it.
In Arizona, the voters kicked out a radical right wing bigot.
Mississippi refused a “personhood” amendment that was so extreme it would have theoretically outlawed some forms of contraception, as well as in vitro fertilization.
But it’s Obama who is benefiting from what happened, taking Ohio as a prime example, which will come as very good news for the White House and national Democrats. It’s good news for progressive activists, too, no matter how much Pres. Obama has infuriated them.
Just months ago, Obama’s chances in Ohio for 2012 were uncertain at best. However, after what labor, teachers, firefighters and cops did on SB-5, the Democratic coalition, joined by Republicans too, have not only made the Democratic Party a little sexier, these activists proved their party actually stands for something.
I’ve been writing about the “coming home” phenomenon for a very long time. PPP today:
The biggest thing Obama has going for him right now is an extremely unified Democratic base. Obama gets 88-92% of his party’s vote against the six Republican candidates. What makes that particularly notable is that [Pres. Obama's] approval rating with Democratic voters is actually only 73%. But these numbers suggest that when election time comes around the party base will get around Obama whether they’re totally thrilled with him or not, and that’s a very good sign for his reelection prospects.
Give people something to rally around, as well as vote for, as they did in Ohio for instance, and they’ll come out every time. Democrats didn’t in 2010 and they got what they deserved, even if the rest of us did not.
Occupy Wall Street is the backdrop.
It is the power helping fuel what’s going on.
The inspiration for people to get up and out and OCCUPY.
What happened in Ohio and in many other places across the country must be seen through the “We are the 99%” prism. Activists and voters who show up to vote in off-year elections know about #OWS, they’re savvy and they’re speaking out about what’s happened to the middle class, because they’re living it.
So, let’s call last night’s election a reset for 2012.
There’s something new afoot.
People are fed up. So they rose up, spoke out and then voted, with their successes washing over national Democrats, including Pres. Obama, most of whom don’t deserve to share the glow. But that’s how these things work. Now if the national politicians could catch the fever of your purpose.
A couple of months ago I said Pres. Obama had until Election Day, yesterday, to change what was going on.
He got lucky. The voters, represented by what happened in Ohio, did it for him.
What’s next? The supercommittee decision. People are watching.