Anytime I discuss unions, one of the commenters will undoubtedly bring up campaign contributions and how the Democrats are being bought by unions. If the idea is that money is ruining our democracy, I agree. That, however, never seems to be their point, since the criticism always stops at union contributions. It appears that there are some who truly believe that unions and unions alone are setting the agenda for Democrats.
It is no secret that Democrats fight for labor but they do so because of a shared ideology, not because of political contributions. The same is true of organizations like the NRA and anti-abortion groups and their unabashed support for Republicans. Groups like this spend money to convince voters who to vote for, not to convince politicians to support their agenda.
So just what percentage of the contributions to Democrats are coming from labor? 75%? Nope. 50%? Not quite. 25%? Still too high. The reality is that labor makes up only 5% of the contributions to Democrats. Business, on the other hand, accounts for nearly 75% of contributions to Democrats and 83% of the contributions to Republicans.
The idea of labor wagging the dog is just a political tactic meant to fool voters into believing that labor and business represent an equal force in the election process. The fact is business is outspending labor by a margin of 15 to 1, so this fallacy of labor’s political spending power is yet another false equivalency being propagated by the media.
Even politicians have bought into the illusion. As an example, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enacted an executive order to limit the political contributions by labor unions, which was later ruled unconstitutional.
The flap over labor contributions is just a diversion to keep people from some of the more disturbing contribution trends, such as the rise in dollar amounts in individual contributions. This year the top 100 individual contributors have contributed nearly as much to political campaigns as labor has contributed to Democrats. The reason this should concern people is how much influence is being concentrated in such a small number of people. Labor represents more than 14 million people but they are being outspent by less than 0.000001% of the population. This is a clear perversion of the principles of democracy.
Is money ruining our democratic process? Absolutely. But the reality is that labor is a drop in the bucket when compared to the influence of business and individuals.