We’ve seen initial results from that state whose name its residents insist on mispronouncing. Bernie came in first, quite bigly, and Biden in second, so far. There are a lot of results to come in still.
So on we move to South Carolina.
But before we do move on, we should pause and reflect upon the diminished clout of labor unions in the 21st century.
I urge you, if you haven’t already, to listen to Friday’s episode of the New York Times podcast, The Daily. It was titled “The Field: An Anti-Endorsement in Nevada.”
As always, it was good, and educational. It started with reporters making their way through Vegas, baby, Vegas, and asking the workers they encountered whether they belonged to a union, and if so, which one. Time and again the answer was, Culinary Union.
Then — and this is one of the things I love about these podcasts — it embarked on a history of the union. It was formed, or at least took its current form, after one of the longest strikes in U.S. history, lasting more than five years. But that paid off for the union members, who have the kind of medical benefits most of us can only dream about. Need open-heart surgery? It will cost you nothing. It has been called “the best insurance in America.”
The long-time union members remember what they went through to win that, and so they are less than enchanted with Bernie Sanders’ plans to do away their coverage in exchange for his “Medicare-for-all” proposal.
It’s fascinating. One of the Hispanic women who told the epic saga of the strike and what they went through is actually heard questioning Sanders at a campaign event.
Listening, I swing back and forth, rooting for one side, then the other. Of course I love it that the union was against Bernie, because Bernie’s gotta be stopped, right? But then I hear Bernie’s answer to the lady’s question, and I’ve gotta side with Bernie. Of course a plan that (were it to ever exist in any form remotely like what Bernie proposes) provides full coverage to everyone is more important than a plan that covers members of one union in one part of the country, however hard they fought to get it.
So, tell ’em, Bernie.
But they are not satisfied with his answer. A bird in the hand, and all that — and I can hardly blame them, given the political obstacles that stand in the way of Bernie achieving his dream.
The rest of the episode deals with the union’s rather weak way of communicating its opposition to Bernie. Rather than putting on their big-boy pants and endorsing somebody, they put out some sort of voter’s guide that indicates their displeasure with Bernie.
And the effect is less than overwhelming, as the reporters find talking to union members who have done early voting, many of whom had voted for Bernie.
So you come away thinking that Bernie’s probably going to win Nevada — which is what happened today.
I urge you to listen to the podcast. I urge you to do so daily, in fact. I gain a lot of insight into things while listening during my afternoon walks…