Lawmakers More Responsive to Working Class in Districts with Strong Unions

Labor News

Reprinted from The Washington Post by Christopher Ingraham on July 27, 2020.

It’s a truism of modern politics that Congress is not particularly responsive to the needs of its middle- and working-class constituents.

The drivers of that dysfunction are legion, including partisan gridlock, electoral gamesmanship and even the structural elements of American democracy itself. But new research points to an overlooked reason Congress is often seen as out of touch with the needs of the non-wealthy: the decline of union membership.

Researchers Michael Becher at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse and Daniel Stegmueller at Duke University study political inequality, or the well-documented tendency among lawmakers to favor the interests of their wealthiest constituents. “The preferences of the poor seem to be virtually ignored,” as the authors characterize the existing research. …

Washington Post 7/27

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at