Now that the Chicago teachers’ strike has come to an end (a mostly unsatisfactory one, as chronicled by my colleague at the Manhattan Institute’s Public Sector Inc., Paul Kersey), the issue will likely fall out of national consciousness by week’s end. But there is one fact from this struggle that will remain with me for the foreseeable future. It was buried deep in the recesses of the Wall Street Journal’s interview from last weekend with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and it’s an extremely telling statistic about the party that considers itself the vanguard of civil rights:
We’re seven weeks from a presidential election in which Barack Obama needs all the cash and foot soldiers that organized labor can provide. His Super PAC’s chief fundraiser is none other than Rahm Emanuel. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party’s chief funders remain teachers unions, groups that also accounted for an estimated 20% of delegates at the recent Democratic National Convention. So you can imagine why Chicago’s unionized teachers struck now, gambling that Mr. Emanuel’s killer instinct may be stayed at least for the season.
One out of every five representatives of the Democratic Party on the floor (or at least at the hosted bar) in Charlotte represented institutions whose lust for self-preservation has the practical effect of killing minority achievement and ambition in school districts throughout America. Their parents, who are overwhelmingly expected to vote for Barack Obama, ought to pause on that fact. The sacrifice of generations of schoolchildren is too high a price to pay for identity politics.