Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Blue Endorsements Matter: How the Fraternal Order of Police Contributed to Donald Trump’s Victory

  • Michael Zoorob (a1)
Abstract

Conventional accounts of Donald Trump’s unexpected electoral victory stress idiosyncratic events and media celebrity because most observers assume this unusual candidate won without much organized support. However, considerable evidence suggests that the support of conservative organizational networks, including police unions such as the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), propelled Trump to victory. The FOP is both a public-sector union and a conservative, mass-membership fraternal association that was courted by the Trump campaign at a time of politically charged debates about policing. Four years before, the FOP had refused to endorse Republican candidate Mitt Romney because he opposed public-sector unionism, which provided fruitful and rare variation in interest-group behavior across electoral cycles. Using a difference-in-differences approach, I find that FOP lodge density contributed to a significant swing in vote share from Romney to Trump. Moreover, survey evidence indicates that police officers reported increased political engagement in 2016 versus 2012. Belying the notion that Trump lacked a “ground game,” this research suggests that he tapped into existing organizational networks, showing their enduring importance in electoral politics.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Ahlquist, John S., Clayton, Amanda B., and Levi, Margaret. 2014. “Provoking Preferences: Unionization, Trade Policy, and the ILWU Puzzle.” International Organization 68 (1): 3375.
Arnesen, Eric, and Lipari, Joseph. 2007. Encyclopedia of US Labor and Working-Class History, Vol. 1. Abingdon, England: Taylor & Francis.
Associated Press. 2016. “Trump Gets Some Target Practice during Iredell County Stop.” AP News, August 18. Available at www.apnews.com/5ed9b572b89b4935868fcfc50a88c271.
Becher, Michael, Stegmueller, Daniel, and Käppner, Konstantin. 2018. “Local Union Organization and Law Making in the US Congress.” Journal of Politics 80 (2): 539–54.
Buffer, Michael. 2016. “Trump Dominates in Luzerne County.” The Citizens Voice, November 10. Available at www.citizensvoice.com/news/trump-dominates-in-luzerne-county-1.2115768.
Butler, Paul. 2017. “Why the Fraternal Order of Police Must Go.” The Marshall Project, October 11. Available at www.themarshallproject.org/2017/10/11/why-the-fraternal-order-of-police-must-go.
Charles, J. Brian. 2017. “Justice Department Ends Era of Pushing Police Reform.” Governing Magazine, September 18. Available at www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/lc-sessions-justice-police-reforms-trump-doj-milwaukee.html.
Connors, Emma. 2016. “Clinton in Ohio: All Red with One Blue Spot.” Lowy Institute, November 16. Available at www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/clinton-ohio-all-red-one-blue-spot.
Delgadillo, Natalie. 2017. “Sessions’ New Order Lets Police Circumvent State Laws on Civil Asset Forfeiture.” Governing Magazine, July 19. Available at www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/gov-civil-asset-forfeiture-directive-jeff-sessions-police.html.
DeLord, Ron, Burpo, Jon, and Shannon, Michael R.. 2008. Police Union Power, Politics, and Confrontation in the 21st Century: New Challenges, New Issues. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.
Fraternal Order of Police. 2004. “F.O.P.: Putting Words into Action in Support of the President!” Grand Lodge FOP, October 14. Available at https://web.archive.org/web/20041208070242.
Fraternal Order of Police. 2013. “H.R. 218, the Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act.” Grand Lodge FOP (no date). Available at www.fop.net/legislative/issues/hr218/hr218faq.pdf.
Gaines, Larry and Worrall, John. 2011. Police Administration. Clifton Park, NY: Cengage Learning.
Gallek, , Ed. 2016. “Internal Review after Police Union Leader Attends Trump Rally in Uniform.” Fox8, October 11. Available at https://fox8.com/2016/10/11/i-team-internal-review-after-police-union-leader-attends-trump-rally.
Gardiner, Dustin. 2016. “Phoenix Demands Trump Campaign Pull Ad with City Police Officers.” The Republic, September 19. Available at www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2016/09/29/phoenix-demands-trump-campaign-pull-ad-over-depiction-officers/91300312.
Giordano, Dom. 2016. “Philly FOP Chief on Presidential Endorsement.” CBS Philly, September 19. Available at https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2016/09/19/philly-fop-chief-on-presidential-endorsment-clinton-blew-the-police-off.
Glunt, Nick. 2016. “Sheriff Steve Barry’s Photo with Donald Trump Draws Criticism, Concerns of Racial Disparities.” Akron Beacon Journal, October 10. Available at www.ohio.com/news/local/sheriff-steve-barry-s-photo-with-donald-trump-draws-criticism-concerns-of-racial-disparities-1.718291.
Griffith, David. 2016. “President Trump and Police.” Police Magazine, December 8. Available at www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/articles/2016/12/president-trump-and-police.aspx.
Grimaldi, James V., and Horwitz, Sari. 2010. “James Pasco, Fraternal Order of Police Lobbyist, Influences Gun Debate and More.” Washington Post, December 15. Available at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/14/AR2010121406068.html.
Hawkins, Derek. 2016. “San Antonio Cops Face Discipline for Wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats in Trump Video.” Washington Post, October 12. Available at www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/10/12/san-antonio-cops-face-discipline-for-wearing-make-america-great-again-hats-in-trump-video.
Hensch, Mark. 2017. “Sessions to DOJ: Review Police Reform Pacts.” The Hill, April 3. Available at https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/327127-sessions-to-doj-review-police-reform-pacts.
Huq, Aziz Z., and McAdams, Richard H.. 2016. “Litigating the Blue Wall of Silence: How to Challenge the Police Privilege to Delay Investigation.” University of Chicago Legal Forum: 213.
Kamisar, Ben. 2016. “Nation’s Largest Police Union Endorses Trump.” The Hill, September 16. Available at https://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/296342-nations-largest-police-union-endorses-trump.
Kaste, Martin. 2016. “What Trump’s Election Means to Police—and Police Reform.” National Public Radio, November 10. Available at www.npr.org/2016/11/10/501613514/many-police-across-the-country-feel-emboldened-by-trumps-victory.
Lee, Kurtis. 2016a. “Campaign 2016 Updates: Donald Trump Concedes Obama Was Born in U.S. after Years of Stoking Conspiracy Theory.” LA Times, September 16. Available at www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-obama-birth-20160916-snap-story.html.
Lee, Kurtis. 2016b. “Campaign 2016 Updates: ‘We Don’t Operate on Innuendo,’ Obama Says of FBI Investigation into Newfound Emails.” LA Times, November 2. Available at www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-11022016-htmlstory.html.
Leighley, Jan E., and Nagler, Jonathan. 2007. “Unions, Voter Turnout, and Class Bias in the US Electorate, 1964–2004.” Journal of Politics 69 (2): 430–41.
Lesher, Stephan. 1994. George Wallace: American Populist. New York: Da Capo Press.
Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1972. “The Politics of the Police.” Reading in Race and Ethnic Relations: The Commonwealth and International Library. Reading in Sociology: 280.
Livingston, Doug, and Cottom, Theresa. 2016. “Trump’s Day in Akron: Early Bird Catches Crowd off Guard.” Akron Beacon Journal, August 22. Available at ohio.com/akron/news/trump-s-day-in-akron-early-bird-catches-crowd-off-guard.
Loftus, Bethan. 2010. “Police Occupational Culture: Classic Themes, Altered Times.” Policing & Society 20 (1): 120.
Love, David. 2017. “Does the Fraternal Order of Police Have A Black People Problem?” Atlanta Black Star, September 7. Available at https://atlantablackstar.com/2017/09/07/fraternal-order-police-black-people-problem.
Lucas, Ryan. 2017. “Trump Administration Lifts Limits on Military Hardware for Police.” National Public Radio, August 18. Available at www.npr.org/2017/08/28/546743742/trump-administration-lifts-limits-on-military-hardware-for-police.
Macgillis, Alec. 2012. “The Battleground.” New Republic, May 18. Available at https://newrepublic.com/article/103409/ohio-battleground-state-election-2012-labor-union-sb5-sherrod-brown-john-kasich.
Martin, Rachel. 2016. “The Nation’s Largest Police Union Endorses Donald Trump.” National Public Radio, September 16. Available at https://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/296342-nations-largest-police-union-endorses-trump.
McPhee, Michele. 2016. “The Hidden Trump Voter: The Police.” Boston Globe, November 9. Available at www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/11/09/the-hidden-trump-voter-police/71MUxHoqBzNCKZZcpH42nO/story.html.
Potomac Local. 2016. “Stafford Sheriff David Decatur Hosts Trump Closed-Door Meeting.” Potomac Local, October 19. Available at https://potomaclocal.com/2016/08/21/stafford-sheriff-david-decatur-hosts-trump-closed-door-meeting.
Rentz, Catherine. 2016. “Maryland Police Stood Apart from Others in ‘No Endorsement’ of Trump.” Baltimore Sun, October 15. Available at www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-sun-investigates-fop-trump-20161015-story.html.
Schneider, Sarah. 2016. “Pittsburgh Police Union Part of Vote to Endorse Trump.” Radio Station WESA, September 21. Available at www.wesa.fm/post/pittsburgh-police-union-part-vote-endorse-trump#stream.
Schreckinger, Ben. 2015. “The Secret Weapon for America’s Beleaguered Police.” Politico, May 9. Available at www.politico.com/story/2015/05/the-secret-weapon-for-police-117779.
Siemaszko, Corky. 2016. “Black Cops at Odds with Fraternal Order of Police over Trump Endorsement.” NBC News, September 22. Available at www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/black-cops-odds-fraternal-order-police-over-trump-endorsement-n652071.
Skocpol, Theda. 2003. Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life, Vol. 8. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Swaine, Jon, and Joseph, George. 2016. “Hackers Post Private Files of America’s Biggest Police Union.” The Guardian, January 18. Available at www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jan/28/fraternal-order-of-police-hacked-fbi-investigation-data-servers.
Swan, Jonathan. 2016. “Police Union: Clinton Snubbed Us.” The Hill, August 6. Available at https://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/290586-police-union-clinton-snubbed-us.
Swicegood, Donna. 2016. “Iredell Sheriff Recalls Trump’s Surprise Visit.” Statesville Record & Landmark, September 16. Available at www.statesville.com/news/iredell-sheriff-recalls-trump-s-surprise-visit/article_14a082d4-7460-11e6-8565-07740544199d.html.
Torry, Jack. 2012. “Ohio Police Union Backs Brown in Senate Race.” Columbia Dispatch, July 18. Available at www.dispatch.com/article/20120718/NEWS/307189843.
Walsh, Justin E. 1977. The Fraternal Order of Police, 1915–1976: A History. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company.
Whack, Errin, and Gurman, Sadie. 2017. “Civil Rights Groups Alarmed over Retreat on Police Reforms.” Chicago Tribune, April 4. Available at www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-civil-rights-groups-police-reforms-20170404-story.html.
Wheaton, Sarah. 2016. “Police Union Meets with Trump as it Weighs Endorsement.” Politico, August 5. Available at www.politico.com/story/2016/08/trump-fraternal-order-of-police-226717.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Zoorob supplementary material
Appendix

 PDF (374 KB)
374 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed