Photo: Erik Schelzig/AP

Today concludes a historic vote in Tennessee, where autoworkers are determining whether the Chattanooga VW plant will be the first foreign-owned auto plant in the South to unionize.

Why it matters: If the United Auto Workers prevail "in unionizing the plant, it will be a historic win for a labor organization that has spent decades trying to build influence outside of Detroit and represent more factory workers across the car-manufacturing sector," the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • "The union’s membership, which hit a peak of 1.5 million workers in 1979, has fallen to about 400,000 last year," according to the WSJ.
  • "While the foreign-car companies build millions of vehicles each year in the U.S., none of their assembly plants," is unionized, per the WSJ.

Be smart: This story line has been running for two decades, Axios' Joann Muller says.

  • "I’ve written that southern toehold headline for 15 or 20 years. Usually politicians have their thumb on the scale. Last time at VW, it was [then-Sen. Bob Corker]. He’s gone now, but I still would be surprised if this unionization vote passes."

The bottom line: Toyota and Nissan's major manufacturing operations lie in the deep South, in Alabama and Mississippi, which lack Tennessee’s history of some unionization, Reuters notes.

  • Cox Automotive analyst Michelle Krebs tells Reuters: A"win in the Deep South is not in the cards."

Go deeper

20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ to "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making," the letter says.
Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes cable and satellite TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.