Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is winning support from blue-collar workers, raising the possibility that he could steal some union votes away from Democrats in the general election.
Trump’s anti-free trade and border security arguments, coupled with his aggression toward China and other trading partners, are music to the ears of workers who believe globalization policies backed by both parties have shipped U.S. jobs overseas.
No Republican has won the union vote since Richard Nixon in 1972 — though Ronald Reagan twice came close — and if Trump secures the GOP nomination, he’s unlikely to receive the backing of the nation’s top labor leaders.
Still, some political strategists believe Trump could win over a significant portion of rank-and-file union members.
“He could do very well with union members — better than Republicans have done in a long time,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell.
“That would be a real concern for Hillary Clinton, if he is able to grab even just an additional 2 or 3 percent of union households,” O’Connell said. “That could be the difference in Ohio.”