Labor’s Primary Victories

Labor’s Primary Victories

Nation Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel appears on a panel to discuss the anti-incumbency mood in Congress that has unseated corporate interests over the interests of working people.


The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel joins a panel on Democracy Now! to discuss the recent primary elections and how Representative Joe Sestak’s victory over Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter yesterday reflects the increasing anti-incumbent mood brewing amongst voters for the midterm elections. The primary battles battles did not focus on Left-Right issues, she says, specifically in Arkansas and Pennsylvania.

Arkansas’ Bill Halter closed in on Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln. Halter had 42 percent to Lincoln’s 44 percent with 92 percent of precincts reporting. "[It’s an issue] of working people versus Wall Street, the banks, corporate interests, the Wal-Marts of the world, and in that sense this becomes kind of an interesting Petri-dish—Arkansas—a state that needs better representation for its working people," says vanden Heuvel.

Blanche’s “flip-flop” record with healthcare voting and ties to corporate interests such as Wal-Mart underscore the extent to which the Arkansas race is one of corporate America versus working America. In Pennsylvania, the late John Murtha’s Democratic seat went to longtime aide Mark Critz, which vanden Heuvel notes is a victory for labor. Richard Trumka, president of AFL-CIO and, organized extensively for jobs—an issue that voters have clearly responded to. “It’s hard to nationalize that race,” says vanden Heuvel. “But it’s a message to Democrats what kind of message they need to run with in this election season.”

—Clarissa León

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