Thursday, June 08, 2006

Alliances, the future of politics

Steelworkers and Sierra Club Unite in "Blue-Green Alliance":
"We're going to work together to try to blow up the myth that you can't have a clean environment and good jobs," said Leo Gerard, the president of the steelworkers union, which has 850,000 members.
One of the smartest observations of Crashing the Gate and further emphasized in Mark Schmitt's nice piece at the New America Foundation is that interest groups tend to do themselves harm in the modern political environment by reaching across partisan boundaries. A decade ago it helped them, but at this point politics is so partisan that it isn't worth propping up moderate members across the aisle. Lincoln Chaffee can't do enough as a Republican to help NARAL or the League of Conservation Voters, because he puts Bill Frist and Rick Santorum in charge of the agenda.

It's better for those sorts of interest groups to see themselves as parts of a coalition that forms a party, and to recognize that they all get stronger when they help their allies. These sorts of alliances, unions and environmental groups working together, sportsmen and environmentalists, women and unions, civil rights groups and gun rights groups, etc., have the potential to not only strengthen the party, but to make each individual group more effective at promoting their interests.

Expect to see more like this, and complain to your favorite organizations if they aren't on the bandwagon.