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Union Launches Third Party in North Carolina Union Launches Third Party in North Carolina

Union Launches Third Party in North Carolina

by Morgan Clendaniel
April 10, 2010

Angered at their Democratic representatives' unwillingness to support health-care reform, and apparently not content to express their anger by simply supporting a pro-reform primary challenger, the large umbrella union Service Employers International Union is hard at work getting signatures to form their own political party and run their own candidates for office in South North Carolina.

A labor-based political party hasn't existed in any strong form (to my knowledge) since Eugene Debs was running for president on the Socialist party ticket while in jail. For any interest group, it's certainly not a crazy desire to be represented in government by people who care specifically about your issues, rather than an umbrella group balancing the concerns of any number of constituents. But as we've seen when libertarians try to form their own offshoots of the Republican party (or when environmentalists go separate ways from Democrats), there isn't a lot of electoral success for single-issue third parties.

Granted, a large and powerful union like the SEIU can motivate a lot of members to vote, and has a lot of cash at its disposal, so it might be a different story. It's interesting then that they're running this experiment in South North Carolina, a right-to-work state where they list no local unions. You would think they might try this experiment in some place a little more union-friendly. But maybe they're happy with how Democrats are representing them in their state.

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