Against the Grain: Unions and Evangelicals

[Editor's Note: This is a partial transcript of Against the Grain, a radio show hosted and co-produced by C.S. Soong and produced by Sasha Lilley. Against the Grain airs Monday through Wednesday on Pacifica Radio station KPFA 94.1 in Berkeley, Calif. This show originally aired on March 13, 2006, and is available as a podcast from]

C.S. Soong: The Nov. 2004 official polling results in Ohio dismayed those who dreaded a second term for George W. Bush. In that all-important rust-belt state, the results showed Bush beating John Kerry by 136,000 votes. How could this happen?

Well, one possible answer is that it didn't, that pro-Bush forces manipulated the vote in his favor. Another answer has to do with the electorate, the people who by the millions turned out to cast their votes for Bush -- working-class people who, like those in Thomas Frank's Kansas, voted against their economic self-interest.

Why would they do this? Is there something happening in so-called battleground states that threatens to turn them permanently into right-wing bastions? My guest today, Jim Straub, has written an essay in the January edition of Monthly Review magazine entitled "What Was the Matter with Ohio? Unions and Evangelicals in the Rust Belt." Jim Straub is an organizer with SEIU Local 1107 hospital workers in Las Vegas, he joins us now by phone; welcome to the program. Well, I've sketched out some of the gory details of Bush's official victory in Ohio. Remind us of what was at stake in that state in November 2004.

The rest of this episode of Against the Grain is available for download from AlterNet and by podcast from

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