Right-to-work elections are one of the most understudied aspects in the formation of Sunbelt conservatism and the rise of the Right. After World War II, every Southwestern state put some kind of right-to-work referendum on the ballot. Support came from the most dynamic economic sectors whose anti-union activists stood in rebellion against the New Deal regulatory state. They promised prosperity based on laissez-faire growth to transform the region into a manufacturing power. Although not every proposition or bill passed, this ideological argument won over many voters, including members of the middle and working classes worried over labor's rapid growth and new-found power. The discourses in these early campaigns came to dominate national conversations about labor's power and legitimacy, suggesting that a pro-development anti-unionism was a pillar of western Sunbelt conservatism and the modern Right.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.