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The pointlessness of fusion parties like Working Families II

Recently, we chronicled why supposed-progressive candidate Richard Aborn’s support for the non-progressive Cy Vance Jr even though Aborn has his own supposed progressive Working Families line to run on just proves the pointlessness of fusion parties like Working Families,

Now the story of the race for the seat of incumbent New York City Councilman Al Vann shows that the pointlessness of fusion parties like Working Families is a core value of such parties.  In the Vann race, Mark Winston Griffith lost the Democratic Primary to Vann 29%-22%.  (There were several other candidates in the race which consider themselves anti-Vann candidates which make a very good argument for Instant Run-off Voting.  But that’s another post.)

Griffith who is now running solely on the Working Families line has said that he will be “running as a Democrat” on their line.  Does he mean that ascribing to the values of the fusion party on whose line he is running is not good enough?  Then, I ask again what is the good of having fusion parties such as Working Families?

The Working Families leadership themselves answer that question.  There is no point in being a Working Families candidates as they stated in the City Hall article:

But even WFP supporters and party leaders admit that running on the party’s ballot line against a Democratic nominee—one who has represented the community in the Council and State Legislature for more than three decades—will be difficult. The party itself is unlikely to provide Griffith with anything more than token support in the general election.

“If he chooses that route, it’s a very hard route,” said Dorothy Siegel, a state executive committee member and early supporter of Griffith who was recently named the new treasurer of the party. “The WFP could decide to support him, but it doesn’t usually happen.”

So unlike the Aborn situation, Working Families has a supposedly progressive candidate still willing to run on their supposedly progressive line after losing the primary to a supposedly non-progressive candidate, and the Working Families Party still won’t support their own candidate.

This is what I would expect from a party that tells anti-war voters to support pro-war candidates on their line in 2006, and after they win never says another word about being anti-war.


*from Wikipedia: Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is the American English term for a voting system used for single-winner elections, in which voters rank candidates in an order of preference. If no candidate is the first preference of a majority of voters, the candidate with the fewest number of first preference rankings is eliminated and that candidate’s ballots are redistributed at full value to the remaining candidates according to the next ranking on each ballot. This process is repeated until one candidate obtains a majority of votes among candidates not eliminated. The term “instant runoff” is used because the method is said to simulate a series of runoff elections tallied in rounds, as in an exhaustive ballot election.

2 Responses

  1. “Then, I ask again what is the good of having fusion parties such as Working Families?”

    Because they helped turn the State Senate from Republican to Democrat. This helped them raise taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers instead of imposing severe budget cuts.

    Because they played the lead role in making sure a green jobs/energy efficiency bill would get passed, making New York State a leader in this area.

    Because they helped defeat 3 out of 4 incumbents who lost in the City Council.

    Because of the fantastic work on passing a paid sick days bill.

    Because of the minimum wage increase they won a few years ago.

    Because they supported so many community organizer candidates with an endorsement.

    As David Sirota writes here:

    “Just as important, they have succeeded in a crucial task for progressives: Holding Democrats accountable once we help elect them. From its inception, the Working Families Party has used the power of fusion to improve the lives of the non-wealthy – minimum wage, reform of the racist Rockefeller Drug Laws, tax reform, paid sick days and a groundbreaking Green Jobs bill, to name just a few.”

    (FYI, once Aborn lost, Cy Vance was a much better choice than the alternative, Snyder. Calling Vance a ‘non-progressive’ sort of implies that Aborn and the WFP committed an act of hypocrisy. That’s silly. They lost the race and did the next best thing.)

    It feels a bit like you hate the WFP just because they represent a more successful third party route than the Greens do.

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