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I don't see (the current) Tea Party as a counter to Unions. Unions will do whatever needs to be done as determined by the Democrats.

I think it is worth noting that union members tend to be the conservative wing of the Democrats. They oppose many of the most liberal positions of the Democrats: gun control, abortion, immigration.

Unions have socialist roots and still talk like socialists, but the facts are that most union members are now solidly middle class. They are far more into jobs and benefits than outright social programs that tend to give a leg up to people who compete for their jobs.

Union positions on key issues tend to moderate Democrat policies. Unions still rely on Democrats to protect their existence. They provide manpower and resources to man the phones and get voters to the polls. In return, Democrats sponsor favorable legislation.

It's a coalition that works, but Repubs especially Carl Rove have used wedge issues to split union support for the Democrats, sometimes more successfully than others.
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