The fed vote: Does it exist, and who needs It?

Three weeks from today the nation goes to the polls. Most Americans will be picking their president. Federal workers, in addition to picking POTUS, will also be...

Three weeks from today the nation goes to the polls. Most Americans will be picking their president. Federal workers, in addition to picking POTUS, will also be voting for or against their boss for the next four years. Whoever it is will set priorities (Congress willing) that will determine how many civil servants there are, which agencies will gain and which lose people, power and prestige.

The president will also take the lead on the amount of the next four federal pay raises. Will your hometown, with its large federal presence, boom because of new programs, more contractors, and a stable federal workforce? Or will it be designated as a swamp whose residents need to be squashed or move to genuine American territory outside the Beltway?

Will President Donald Trump capture the federal vote — his two home states being New York with 60,000 federal employees and current voting address Florida with 89,000 federal workers — or will it go to former Vice President Joe Biden whose home state of Delaware has the fewest feds, just over 3,000? Meanwhile his sentimental home state of Pennsylvania has 62,000 feds.

Who will get the federal vote? Is there a civil service vote? Do Defense Department workers tend to lean Republican while folks at the Environmental Protection Agency vote the other way? Do the majority of feds in Atlanta (24,000) vote more like other Georgians or along racial, ethnic, religious and party lines? Do civil servants at Hill Air Force Base, the largest employer (12,200) in Ogden, vote like others in Utah or do they vote more along the lines of the 16,200 civilians at Tinker Air Force Base?

Many politicians assume that feds are bloc voters.  A lot of Republicans think civil servants are closet Democrats, and largely ignore or try to punish them accordingly. Many Democrats think they have the federal employee vote in their pocket, and many outside the Washington metro area’s 282,000 feds ignore federal employee issues even though these workers and retirees may hold the electoral balance of power in their hometowns, from New York City to Hunstville, Alabama; to Fayetteville North Carolina; El Paso, Texas; and Cincinnati.

So look at the numbers from this 2017 Office of Personnel Management guide to executive branch employment (note Table 1 on page 4). It shows the importance and presence of federal workers by state and major metro area. Feds are the dominant group in many small towns. They also own or rent homes, buy food and generate an estimated six private sector jobs for each person who works for the Postal Service, Army, Navy, Air Force or the National Park Service. Run the numbers, check out your coworkers and let us (and them, the politicians) know where you stand, and where they ought to be to avoid being trampled.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

Move over gray and red squirrels — the Malabar giant squirrel of Maharashtra state in India is like something out of a child’s coloring book. The tree-dwelling rodents’ fur is a technicolor swirl of brown, orange, maroon and black, and measure about three-feet long.

Source: Atlas Obscura

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