The Dakota Access Pipeline protests received a big media boost when Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein managed to earn herself an arrest warrant after vandalizing some construction equipment. Liberals love a good protest if it involves any sort of environmental activism and such gatherings are sure to draw the usual crowd of Gaia worshipers. But that’s only one slice of the Democratic pie, and they run in very different social circles from the labor unions which fund the election efforts of most Democrats. This week these two groups came into direct conflict as the AFL-CIO came out in support of the pipeline and all the jobs it will create, even as the environmentalists insisted that it must be shut down. (Washington Free Beacon)
The AFL-CIO’s endorsement of a pipeline project expected to create thousands of infrastructure jobs has rankled liberals activists, including a member of AFL-CIO’s coalition.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced his support for the Dakota Access Pipeline, a proposed 1,200-mile project capable of transporting nearly 500,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois. Trumka said that union workers and the region will benefit from the 4,500 jobs the project is expected to create and touted the safety and efficiency of pipeline transportation of crude oil.
“The AFL-CIO supports pipeline construction as part of a comprehensive energy policy that creates jobs, makes the United States more competitive and addresses the threat of climate change,” he said in a Friday release. “Pipelines are less costly, more reliable and less energy intensive than other forms of transporting fuels, and pipeline construction and maintenance provides quality jobs to tens of thousands of skilled workers.”
This is yet another example of how the national coalition of Democratic voters is a patchwork affair which brings in people with very different interests which don’t always align. The labor unions are all about jobs. (Mind you, they’re not always about the workers, but rather the number of people who are enlisted to pay dues.) Trumka recognizes that this pipeline represents thousands of high paying jobs which will last for years. At some point you have to set aside the talking points of political activists and get down to business.
But what about the concerns of the Native Americans and environmentalists? The union boss has an easy out on that score. It’s already been shown that the proposed route for the pipeline travels across “well trodden land” where there is already one pipeline and a series of power lines. There’s been construction there before without the world coming to an end and nothing is going to change if the Dakota Access Pipeline is finished.
But the Democrats are in the middle of an election cycle which many of them still view as a tremendous opportunity to not only hold the White House, but make gains in the House and Senate. This is no time for the various factions of their base to fall into internecine warfare. That’s why I’m not expecting to see the pipeline become a big, national bone of contention for Democrats between now and November 8th. Nobody wants to tip over the clown car this close to the finish line.