From the article:
The anti-tax political activist Grover Norquist recently declared that while President Trump may be historically unpopular, the GOP could still “win big” in 2020. The secret to the Republican party’s long-term success, Norquist argued, involved state-level initiatives to weaken the power of labor unions. As Norquist explained it, if union reforms cutting the power of labor unions to recruit and retain members—like RTW laws—“are enacted in a dozen more states, the modern Democratic Party will cease to be a competitive power in American politics.” A weaker labor movement, Norquist reasoned, would not just have economic consequences. It would also have signiﬁcant political repercussions, meaning that Democrats would have substantially less of a grassroots presence on the ground during elections and less money to invest in politics.
Norquist’s theory is also shared by state-level conservative activists who have been driving the recent push to enact additional RTW laws in newly GOP-controlled state governments. Tracie Sharp runs a national network of state-level conservative think-tanks that have championed the passage of RTW laws in recent years in states such as Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin (Hertel-Fernandez 2017). In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Sharp explained why she was optimistic about the long-run eﬀects of her network’s push against the labor movement, explaining that “When you chip away at one of the [liberal] power sources that also does a lot of get-out-the-vote...I think that helps [conservative activists and GOP politicians]—for sure.”36 Internal documents from Sharp’s organization provide an even clearer message: by passing RTW laws, the work of conservative organizations like hers was “permanently depriving the Left from access to millions of dollars...every election cycle.” That meant dealing “a major blow to the Left’s ability to control government at the state and national levels.”
In this paper, we have brought these arguments to the data, examining the short- and long-run political consequences of state RTW laws. Comparing otherwise similar counties straddling state
(and RTW) borders, we ﬁnd that the passage of RTW laws led Democratic candidates up and down the ballot to receive fewer votes. In Presidential elections, Democratic candidates received about 3.5 percentage points fewer votes following the passage of RTW laws in the counties on the RTW side of the border. RTW laws also lower turnout in both federal and state races. Further survey-based analysis revealed that working class Americans (but not professional workers) were less likely to report get-out-the-vote contact in RTW states following the passage of RTW laws, suggesting that weakened unions have less capacity for turning out Democratic voters. And we showed that union fundraising for state and local races (and Democratic funding in general) falls sharply following the passage of RTW laws.
The eﬀects of RTW laws go beyond elections. We also examined how, by weakening the relationship between unions and the Democrats, RTW laws may have changed the political landscape across the U.S. states. Working class candidates—politicians most likely to be backed by the labor movement—are less likely to hold federal and state oﬃce in states following the passage of RTW laws. State policy as a whole, moreover, moved to the ideological right in RTW states following
the passage of those laws.
Beyond revealing the importance of state RTW laws for a wider set of political outcomes than has been previously appreciated, our paper makes a broader contributions to the study of labor unions and the labor market. In older debates in the literature, scholars have asked what unions do in the United States. While a long line of work has shown the ways that labor unions directly aﬀect the wage and income distributions—by compressing wages in unionized ﬁrms and industries—we emphasize the political nature of labor organizations. Beyond the bargaining table, unions aﬀect inequality through the ballot box, through the politicians and policies they support. The capacity of unions to aﬀect the labor market and the income distribution through this second channel may be waning as labor’s strength—and political clout—diminishes in the face of unfavorable state policy, such as RTW laws.
We're losing as working people and as if we read some of the right wing comments on this blog, we can see that some of our own people are contributing to our defeat.