Special Interests Will Hold Parties Back from Reaching Out to Independents

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In the ring of partisan politics, the California Democratic Party received a blow from one of its most faithful financial supporters.

The LA Times reports that Bill Lloyd, president of the Service Employees Union (SEIU) of California, warned that his union will cease funding the party for its support of a group no longer associated with the union.

“They threatened me,” said John Burton, the party’s chairman, in regard to the union pulling their support.

Burton was scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for the National Union of Healthcare Workers, the group that split from the SEIU. According to a previous report by the Sacramento Bee, the SEIU and the NUHW are rival unions. They competed against each other in an election earlier this year to represent more than 10,000 home healthcare workers in Fresno County. The SEIU narrowly won the election; however, the NUHW charged its rival with winning the election unfairly.

The California Democratic Party faces an interesting scenario in losing support from one of their biggest financial beneficiaries. Will the party distance themselves from the NUHW and reconcile with the SEIU? Will there be some compromise reached so that the party can have the support of both unions? Or, will the party distance itself from the two unions altogether?

It is unrealistic to assert that the California Democratic Party will end its reliance on union support. This particular situation reveals the deep entanglement of blue state politicians with union bosses, bosses who can use union dues to pander to political favorites. Since 2007, the SEIU’s state council funneled more than $700,000 to the Democratic Party, candidates, and other related causes. As long as the California Democratic Party is tied down by special interests, independent voters will have to look elsewhere for a party truly willing to reach and represent them.