Elected Democrats, chief among them President Joe Biden, have for decades portrayed themselves as the only true political friends of union workers, but that prevailing narrative may now be substantially threatened and undermined by former President Donald Trump.
Trump reportedly plans to visit and speak with striking United Auto Workers members next week, before any planned visit by Biden, and that reportedly has Democrats and the Biden White House fretting about how Trump "scooped" them with a "genius" move, Breitbart reported.
To be sure, it remains nearly certain that Trump won't secure an official endorsement from UAW leadership, which is currently withholding its support from Biden's re-election bid, but Trump showing up and siding with union workers striking against the so-called Big Three U.S. auto manufacturers will likely win over increased support from those rank-and-file union members.
ABC News reported this week that former President Trump appears set to skip the second Republican primary debate scheduled for Sept. 27 in California and instead will travel to Detroit, Michigan to deliver a speech to striking UAW members.
The move bears similarities to how Trump skipped the first GOP debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and instead sat for an interview with ex-Fox News host Tucker Carlson that was broadcast on Twitter as counter-programming to the debate and arguably brought in substantially more viewers.
It looks like Trump is once again intending to draw viewers away from the debate involving his Republican primary rivals and challengers, albeit this time with the added benefit of undermining the purported lock Biden and Democrats claim to hold over the roughly 150,000 UAW rank-and-file members.
Politico reported that Team Biden, at least behind the scenes, is begrudgingly acknowledging that it appears as though they were outmaneuvered by former President Trump in terms of being the first to make a strong play to garner the support of the striking UAW members.
One unnamed union advisor told the outlet that Trump apparently "actually has people who know what they’re doing. He boxed Biden in. It was kinda genius."
Given that President Biden has yet to announce any plans to visit the striking auto workers, an anonymous national Democratic strategist lamented, "Trump scooped us. Now if we announce we’re going, it looks like we’re just going because of Trump," and added, "We waited too long. That’s the challenge."
Of course, in public, Biden's allies dismissed and downplayed both the significance and potential for success of Trump beating them to the punch in addressing the workers on strike, but there reportedly was some worrisome handwringing behind closed doors about the development.
One ally and advisor to President Biden who was unafraid to speak frankly on the record is Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who told Politico, "We should not underestimate Donald Trump. He’s a survivor and this is going to be a very hard-fought campaign."
The congressman, who recently visited with striking workers in Michigan and Ohio, added, "We need a message to working-class Americans. Right now, they’re still hurting in terms of gas prices, food prices, housing costs, utilities costs, and they don’t feel like their wages are going up fast enough, and they feel like the very wealthy are getting too much of the rewards. That’s what I heard on the picket lines."
As previously noted, there are virtually no concerns whatsoever, either publicly or in private, that Trump will somehow earn an official 2024 endorsement from UAW leadership, as they have made it abundantly clear that despite their beef with Biden over electric vehicle subsidies they have even bigger qualms about Trump being the president once again.
That said, Trump won substantial support in 2016 from rank-and-file union workers across the country, and this move to upstage the self-proclaimed "union guy" Biden in terms of supporting the striking UAW members could help him garner similar rank-and-file support in next year's election.