The labor unions warned Obama they weren’t happy with his economic policies last spring, and the president managed to alienate them even more with his approach to the debt ceiling deal and his failure to concentrate on solving the jobs crisis. But is the AFL-CIO furious enough to cut off Obama’s reelection campaign? Ben Smith reports:
In a sign of the labor movement’s disengagement from the 2012 federal races, my colleague Jonathan Allen reports that a new AFL-CIO Super PAC will be devoted to state legislative contests.
“Labor gave up on federal races,” said a senior Democratic official. Down-ballot races are “where their money is going,” said the source. “That tells you all you need to know about what kind of coattails the president is going to have.”
If the anonymous Democratic official is right about the labor movement, this is a massive blow to the Obama campaign. In 2008, labor unions reportedly spent up to $400 million to help Obama get elected. That includes both direct contributions to the campaign from unions and members, as well as outside spending on advertisements.
If a substantial amount of this money dries up in 2012, Obama will need to make up for it by bringing on other contributors. The problem is, what other groups are out there that aren’t unhappy with the president for one reason or another? He’s managed to alienate allies on both the left and in the center, and there’s no doubt it will make a dent in his fundraising numbers.