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4-year anniversary: How one blue-collar group found a new voice in the national Democratic Party

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First published at the site May 19, 2015

Without question, one of the most important issues of the week is the upcoming presidential election.

Hillary Clinton supporters are solidly convinced that she can carry the day in November.

Donald Trump is counting on a last-minute army of 25 million people to put him in the White House.

This weekend, neither man will be the guest of honor at any big party: Hillary is scheduled to spend the weekend working on her campaign, and Donald is taking a day off to recover from a bum ankle.

Both parties will be holding meetings in the same places where their candidates will come to meet with other Democrats and others seeking to get involved: the Democratic National Committee in Washington D.C., the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (the international arm of the AFL-CIO) in Pittsburgh, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (the blue-collar counterpart of the usual union fiefdom) in Iowa, and the Socialist Workers Party of Ohio in Cleveland.

For years, the Democratic Party has had a serious disconnect between white working-class voters and Clinton, who has worked hard to win over many of them after her failed 2008 presidential campaign. Hillary has been criticized for spending too much time with other folks in her inner circle rather than meeting with these voters one-on-one.

But there was some good news for her supporters this week: Leading Republican candidates, including Trump, had a rough week — and some even came in second in national polls.

The flood of media coverage about that factor means we can anticipate that some of the Clinton camp’s traditional buzzwords — that people who are worried about the economy, want to see America going in a more progressive direction, want a more durable trade policy — will continue to make the rounds.

That said, Bernie Sanders, who is making inroads among whites in a variety of places, may have his admirers raise questions about Hillary’s liberal bona fides.

Her critics will also seize on the fact that she and her husband both raised $900 million and spent about one-third of it.

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