Trumka: Tuesday’s Vote Was About Jobs, Not Republican Agenda
by James Parks, Nov 3, 2010
America’s voters are angry about the economy and the lack of jobs, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said this morning during a discussion at the National Journal’s “The Day After” conference. And if Republicans don’t listen to what the voters were saying, they will be thrown out in 2012.
Trumka said the Republicans would be making a big mistake if they believe voters endorsed the Republican agenda. The votes in fact were a rebuke to the party in power, he said. Speaking to Mike Duncan, chairman of American Crossroads, the Republican mega political action group, Trumka said:
The America people know the economy doesn’t work. They’re suffering and they’re angry because of that and you’re going to have to come up with a way to create jobs and get the economy back on the move. They’re frustrated not because too much was done, but too little was done. But now that you’re in the governing structure, you just can’t say no.
He pointed out that 63 percent of voters in the 100 congressional races that swung the election oppose tax breaks for people who make more than $250,000—a key plank in the Republican’s Pledge to America. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) oppose privatizing Social Security—another Republican proposal, and a large number do not want the retirement age raised to 70.
The union movement’s massive mobilization effort worked, Trumka said. Union members received information or contact with their union 15 to 20 times during the election cycle. As a result, unions counteracted the huge sums spent by corporate front groups like American Crossroads, which spent tens of millions on the election, including $3 million alone on a dozen House races. When union members heard the real facts, they voted for progressives in large numbers.
Duncan even acknowledged that the Republicans this year copied the union movement’s model for getting out the vote, although he told Trumka, “We’re not as good as you are on the deployment.”
Trumka advised Democrats and President Obama to do “what we’re going to because beginning today we’re going to have three priorities: jobs, jobs and more jobs.”
We are going to be pushing our five-point plan to create jobs. I think the President should do that and put these guys to the test. They said they could do it. Now let’s make them do it. And I wish you success because for every job you create there’s an American out there who’ll be able to make a living.
He said he would tell Obama and Democrats to work with Republicans, but not to compromise their principles.