SEIU's Big Win

Marc Ambinder notes that a majority of SEIU members prefer John Edwards, but as Steven Greenhouse reports he looks like he'll have a lot of trouble picking up an SEIU endorsement for the familiar reason that the union doesn't want to back a loser.

In that context, though, it's worth noting that SEIU's already found a way to be extremely influential in this race that further cements its status as probably the most forward-looking major union. Everyone's noted the similarity of the major candidates' health care plans and the fact that Edwards led the way in this regard. But it's worth saying that before there was Edwards, there was SEIU saying it would only consider endorsing candidates who devised a specific plan for universal health insurance. That's what created the conditions for Edwards' bold stroke and also what made it necessary for the other candidates to play catch-up once Edwards' plan was unveiled. So now we're at a point where no matter who wins, SEIU will have made a major advance on one of its key issues, and where by taking up a slightly broader perspective than raw self-interest the union builds further support in the wider progressive movement.

Photo by Flickr user SEIU International used under a Creative Commons license