Democrats Target Union Workers Who Regret Trump Vote

Inside Knicker’s Saloon, a factory worker hangout here, Jesse Oberbroeckling has just finished his shift at the John Deere plant when he reveals his regret.

Like many union workers, Oberbroeckling voted twice for former Democratic President Barack Obama before backing Donald Trump and other Republicans in 2016.

Now he has buyer’s remorse - and plans to support the Democratic challenger to Rod Blum, the Republican congressman in this blue-collar, eastern Iowa district.

That sentiment should encourage Democrats, who saw their once-reliable labor vote help send Trump to the White House after he vowed to revive Rust Belt factories with trade tariffs and ailing coal mines with environmental deregulation. Now - with coal still struggling and Trump stoking a trade war - many union workers have soured on the president ahead of November’s midterm congressional elections, the Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll shows.

Between March 2017 and March 2018, union members’ approval of Trump fell 15 points, to 47 percent. In more than two dozen interviews with union members, many blasted Trump’s tax cut, arguing most of the benefits will flow to corporations and wealthy people.

But falling support for Trump is no guarantee Democrats can restore the party’s historic dominance of the union vote. Nearly half of members polled still approve of the president, and their support for congressional Democrats has declined slightly from two years ago.

Ford O’Connell - a Republican strategist who was among the first to highlight how voter anger could propel Trump’s candidacy - said the party will appeal to union voters with his tariffs against China, anti-immigration efforts and the tax cut they argue helps all workers.

Read more from Tim Reid and Joseph Ax at Reuters

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