MN-04 - When Republicans Get Concerned with Voting Rights

by: Michael Whitney

Fri Oct 17, 2008 at 17:39


( - promoted by Matt Stoller)

Minnesota's been ground zero this cycle for millions of dollars in attacks on pro-middle class candidates.  Senate candidate Al Franken's been attacked by multiple outside groups, as have Elwyn Tinklenberg (MN-06) and Ashwin Madia (MN-03).  Those candidates have stood up for their support of America's working families and by their endorsement of the Employee Free Choice Act, much to their credit.

But today we learn of a new low in the Minnesota election attacks on pro-middle class candidates.  The difference here: it's a viscious, unfounded, stereotypical attack paid for by a Congressional candidate's campaign - the first of its kind on this issue nationwide.

MN-04 Republican candidate Ed Matthews sent the above mailer to homes in the district.

Michael Whitney :: MN-04 - When Republicans Get Concerned with Voting Rights
Who is this person with the black eye?  Does he live in MN-04, or Minnesota at all?  The mailer doesn't explain, which leads one to believe it's just an actor in makeup.  

What's Matthews' message here?  Scary union thugs will give you a black eye because Rep. Betty McCollum supports making it easier for working people to form unions?  Is that the best argument he has?  Matthews avoids facts and ideas entirely.

This mailer plays into the worst stereotypes about working people, about labor unions, and about our politics.  Here we have a person running to represent his constituents in Congress, and he sends mail with a beat-up person staring you in the face - an actor, nonetheless.

This is the first time in this cycle that a Congressional candidate attacks his opponent on the Employee Free Choice Act.  Previous attacks came from CEO-funded business groups, but not even they sink that low to attack like this.  And now the candidate doesn't have the luxury of brushing off these attacks as not approved by his campaign - not only did Matthews approve of this ad, he paid for it.

Of note on violence and unions.  5 union organizers were outside of a business in Los Angeles and were visciously attacked with 2x4s.  And the government agency charged with prosecuting these cases...declined to prosecute, because our labor law is toothless and needs reform, like the Employee Free Choice Act.

Matthews needs to rethink his approach for talking about working families and catch up with reality.

Here's the rest of the disgusting mailer:


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Again we need to be ready for this come 2009 (4.00 / 4)
This is going to be one hell of a fight. And the business community will spend millions to lobby and fund attack ads like this to defeat the bill.

An opportunity like the card check bill comes along about once every 30 years. The last time a similar bill came up it was 1978 (incidentally, the last time Democrats had the trifecta and a huge majority in the senate). It was killed by southern Democrats afraid of the backlash from whites back home. Taft-Hartley passed 30 years earlier over Truman's veto (again, with help from Southern Democratic senators and representatives).

So we better be prepared for a huge onslaught and for the need to keep our newly elected blue dogish southern senators in line (I'm looking at you Kay Hagan). We need to let them know that we'll fight tooth and nail for them if they're with us on this bill, but that all that grassroots energy, money, and volunteering will be gone for their next election if they fail us here. They don't have to vote for passage, but they'd better vote for g*d-damned cloture.  


May one suggest that if funding is still available, that (4.00 / 4)
this might be the appropriate place to throw money? This needs to be slam dunked, stopped by any means necessary. How long before Saxby sends the same mailer to my fellow citizens?
Georgia is rabidly anti-union to begin with, and this sort of shit might very well put Martin out of business.

FIGHT this bastard with everything we can muster!


No polling? (0.00 / 0)
I can't find any polls for this race -- is this even competitive?

No need for polling (4.00 / 2)
McCollum is safe as safe can be.

But it's still useful to get a pre-emptive look at what NFIB CoC and all the other usual suspects are planning for next year. I wouldn't be surprised if they're going to do some internal polling in a few days to see if these mailers are having any impact. They know it won't be anywhere near enough to challenge Betty, but they probably still want to know which messages work best to turn suburban, ostensibly dem-friendly voters, against card check.  


[ Parent ]
Not remotely (4.00 / 1)
It's more likely that Róger Calero, the Socialist Workers Party candidate will win all 50 states by double digits.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
If I can't be safe at home from the Mormons, where can I be safe? (4.00 / 4)
I was all alone at home one day, when I heard a knock at the door.  There were 2 Mormons -- Elders!! -- and they wanted to talk about my "eternal soul!"  They had me outnumbered!   What can we do about these polygamist thugs?  Will no one stop them?

Barf.

You know, there's a real simple solution if workers are worried about organizers knocking on their doors:  let's amend the Act to give union organizers access to the boss's property (not necessarily work areas, maybe break rooms and cafeterias) so that workers can meet organizers at work.  

Organizers do house visits because it's often the only way to reach workers, and in the face of vicious, union-busting, anti-worker campaigning by the boss, regular contact is essential.  Card-check would make house-visiting really rare.

Not that the Chamber of Commerce gives a shit or anything.


Hahahhaha (0.00 / 0)
This is super funny.

Last time I heard about Ed Mattews?

Was when he mugged a actor at the RNC

http://www.mnblue.com/ed+matth...

And this is my district.

What a horrible person.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


what's the deal with union elections? (0.00 / 0)
Good grief, this is obnoxious.  But could someone explain to me why unions are so hostile to secret ballot elections?  Having dealt with a fraudulent unionization process at my workplace (i.e. fraudulent on the part of the union; what a joke that the UAW is listed as a "liberal organization" on the right), the tremendous chaos it caused, and now the apparent success of its second attempt, I don't get why they're so afraid of elections unless they actually are doing intimidation.

It isn't paranoia if they really are out to get you (0.00 / 0)
Unions suspect secret ballots because there is no way to ensure that the actual ballot on hand was the one cast by the voter. Someone had control of the ballots prior to them being tallied, and they don't know who.

Voice votes allow for surety.


[ Parent ]
That's a scary path too. (0.00 / 0)
Hell, we don't know if the votes we cast in 2000 and 2004 were tallied correctly either for President in all 50 states.  But does that mean we should make voting not anonymous?

Surely there's another solution than voice votes.


[ Parent ]
I'm not defending (0.00 / 0)
just offering an explanation. And, to differ from your statement, we do know that our votes weren't tallied right in 2000 or 2004.


[ Parent ]
Intimidation? (0.00 / 0)
There is no way for workers who want to form unions to get it because of employer intimidation.  I explained this in another diary so I'll copy & paste...

Right now, the problem for people who want to form or join a union is that CEOs have complete veto power over unions.  To start, 4 out of 10 workers who say they want a union never get a chance to vote for one because of delays & intimidation.  And almost half the time when people actually get to vote, CEOs and their businesses willingly violate the law in order to stop their employees from having a choice to join a union.  

What kind of laws do they break?  Specifically, in 46 percent of elections, employers interfere by firing pro-union employees, cutting back on workers' hours, making groundless demotions, and using other intimidating tactics. Ezra Klein compares these extreme pressures faced by workers who want to form unions to a similar environment in a US political election:

 

 The space we're currently occupying is brutal, and makes an utter mockery of the idea of elections. Hearing the status quo defended as free and fair is like imagining a presidential election where you can vote however you'd like, but anyone who votes against the incumbent party is informed they will lose all access to Social Security, Medicare, and the protection of their local police and fire departments. Also, they'll be audited. But nevertheless: Folks can vote however they want.


[ Parent ]
how are cards any better? (0.00 / 0)
How is the system of automatic unionization by submitting signed cards better?  That just allows intimidation and fraud by union supporters one-on-one.  It ought to be a petition system, where if a certain proportion of workers sign cards/petitions then a full secret-ballot vote is held.  And how does the company know who voted what way, especially compared to the card system where your name is right on it stating up front that you support the union??

[ Parent ]
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