Bad for Party Discipline: Why Unions Attacked the Single Transferable Vote in Cincinnati


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Description: This paper documents conditions leading to the repeal of proportional representation in Cincinnati, which used the open-endorsement single transferable vote from 1925-57. I find that national AFL-CIO officials convened local Steelworkers to support the referendum. They did this because labor lost its privileged place in council decision-making, which it had gained in the late 1930s. The proximate cause was an independent Republican's refusal to vote with the rest of her caucus on labor legislation. By reconstructing coalitions in the Cincinnati council, 1925-57, I can organize otherwise dissonant facts -- such as the participation of racially liberal CIO leaders in an overtly racist campaign to change the voting system.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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