This is the second time I’ve read that Malloy claims that he won in November because of the unions, and that the race was as close as it was because of the unions. It’s a clever formulation. Sure, the unions helped push him to victory by busting their asses, but they only needed to bust their asses because of the resentment so many voters felt toward those very unions. Or toward state workers. Or toward people who weren’t them making money, or getting benefits. Or something.
I can buy into the first assertion: he wouldn’t have won without the unions busting their asses. But is there any empirical support for the latter half of his assertion? Malloy’s was the only state wide race that was at all close. Are we to believe that anti-union resentment was focused on the governor’s race, to the exclusion of the other races? Which of the other Democrats was anti-union? Is there any hard evidence that anyone motivated by anti-union animus, as opposed to a generalized sense of misdirected tea party style grievance, would have voted for Malloy but for his support for the unions, or their support for him? My general sense, though I could be seriously misinformed, is that anti-union people, particularly people who make their decisions based on anti-union animus, tend to be hard core Republicans, who wouldn’t vote for Democrats under any circumstances.
Maybe there is polling that supports Malloy’s assertion, but I’m guessing this is something he simply came up with in order to justify his partial (he’s no Scott Walker, and I’m not implying that he is) demonization of state workers. Sure, he says, you helped me, but I’m going to have to stick it to you, and by the way, it’s really your fault.
But, of course, it’s not their fault, or only in a very small way. It’s not their fault that the state chose not to adequately fund their pensions. It’s not their fault that the right wing has been able to spread the myth that they are overpaid, particularly given the typical refusal of Democratic politicians to refute that myth. Maybe it’s their fault for failing to protest that inadequate funding or for not demanding more than lip service from people like Malloy, but those failings didn’t likely lose Malloy many votes.
As Jonathan Pelto has been pointing out on his blog, Malloy seems to be setting up these workers to be the scapegoats when his budgetary “fuzzy math” gets exposed. Blaming the unions for the close election, when, given the margins the other Democrats got, he maybe should be blaming himself, looks to be part of that scapegoating process.