This Labor Day Weekend political leaders from around Broward County gathered at the annual labor ball. While organized labor is supposed to represent the common working women and men, the labor ball seems to represent each and every year a political shindig that only elites and those connected to powerful interests, usually within the Democratic Party can afford to attend. The average ticket price for the ball was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 which is outrageous.
Organized labor is something I have always supported in my own way. For example, I’ve never used an Uber service, visited the company website or downloaded the app. I continue to use regular, unionized taxi services when I travel, and have no plans to ever use Uber unless the company changes its business practices. Also, for years, I avoided non-union airlines though eventually it became difficult to avoid jetBlue living in the Fort Lauderdale area. Of course, jetBlue is now a unionized carrier but for many years it was not. I have tried to avoid flying on Boeing planes built in South Carolina rather than Washington state, for the same reason. I will admit though I have never had a GM or Ford car, but as I referenced above I have tried to support labor when possible.
However, the leadership of labor in many ways has become more distant from the working people in this state and more involved and tied to political factions and Democratic Party politics than anything else. The Broward labor ball cost illustrated that for me once again. In many cases public employee unions are dominating the labor agenda in the state and while I tend to agree with them on most issues, I don’t have the same sympathy for them I do for private sector unions.
Meanwhile the Broward County Democratic Party will be hosting a “Get out the Vote” Fundraiser on Thursday. Minimum donation is $100. The Broward party does need to be applauded for attempting to raise money. The coffers of the local party in the large county that historically produces the largest Democratic margins in the state have been running dry for many years. The party is so broke that last month, they had to lay off one of two remaining paid staffers.
However, it is interesting to see the host committee for this event which is related to “get out the vote” efforts is largely made up of lobbyists and elected officials. The minimum price for this event makes it cost prohibitive for the types of grassroots activists that the party needs to be engaged and excited about the 2016 election.
This fundraiser mirrors the expense involved in even attending dinners or luncheons for local Democratic clubs in Broward County. Many of these clubs have in time become private fiefdoms of individuals or political factions making little or no effort to engage Democrats in the local municipalities they represent. This is not the case with all Democratic clubs but is with a good number of them.
Fundraising is an important component of political activity no doubt in this day and age. But the Democratic Party which is reliant on the energy and enthusiasm of working people to be successful seems in many ways to be more distant than ever from those on the grassroots level. It’s one thing for the FDP or DNC to be off in the clouds to a certain extent as they represent larger population areas. However, for county parties and local Democratic clubs to make participation in big events cost prohibitive for most of the members they represent is an unwise political strategy. For the unions it is especially distasteful given the types of people and issues they fight for.