Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

John J. Pitney

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1999 Cooper R Pryde


Against all odds, Donald Trump won the 2016 election. A critical reason why this happened was his support amongst union members. Specifically, this helped him with the crucial Rust Belt swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Joe Biden learned from this and ran on the most pro-labour platform in recent history. This platform ingratiated him with union leadership who donated generously to his campaign. Unions also spent considerable resources politically organizing for the campaign. Organized labour’s support was a vital reason why Biden won all three swing Rust Belt states and ultimately the presidency. Organized labour did not only focus on the presidential election though. They donated considerable money to Gary Peters’s campaign for Senate in Michigan as well as seven key House races across the Rust Belt. The labour movement’s support of these down-ballot races enabled the Democrats to take control of both chambers of Congress. The electoral success of labour-backed candidates in 2020 provided much needed hope to organized labour.