Interest Groups & Advocacy

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 126–149 | Cite as

Partisan polarization and political access: labor unions and the presidency

  • Taylor E. Dark
Original Article


This article analyzes the effect of increased partisan polarization on the degree and quality of access enjoyed by labor union leaders to the President of the USA. The relationships between union leaders and two sets of presidents, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush and Barack Obama, are analyzed in order to trace change from a time of bipartisan bargaining to one of extreme polarization. The central argument is that the rise of polarization has pushed unions and Democratic presidents closer together, and unions and Republican presidents further apart, irrespective of changes in the level of union resources.


Labor Unions AFL-CIO Polarization Political parties Political access 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceCalifornia State University, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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