Sunday, November 02, 2008

third party politics (also quote of the day)

You probably haven't heard of the Working Families Party, a small third party outfit here in the great state of New York. I've barely heard of it, and I'm not only practically a native New Yorker, but a New Yorker with at least a passing interest in most things political.

Back in those heady days of late October 2004, family friend Bill McAllister sent out a mass email to his NY friends & cohorts asking us to vote for John Kerry on the Working Families Party ballot line. So I did. And then promptly forgot about it.

But there was an article in the Times last week that I found intriguing, so I've been doing a little research.

The WFP came into existence only ten years ago, as a kind of coalition of local labor unions and progressive community organizations here in New York City, and has slowly been growing into a force to be reckoned with. The party has not only thrown its weight behind various Democrats (Charles Schumer pulled in over 150,000 votes back in 2004 on the WFP line) and even some Republicans (State Senator Nicholas Spano won the WFP's support in 2004 due to his strong stance on increasing the state minimum wage, defeating Andrea Stewart-Cousins by about 18 votes*), but also has one of its own members,
Letitia James, on the New York City Council.

The WFP is committed to progressive advocacy: fighting for universal health care; standing up for gay rights, women's rights, immigrant rights; protecting the environment; improving education; overturning the draconian Rockefeller drug laws; calling a moratorium on the death penalty.

So, in two days' time, I'll be voting for Barack Obama on the Working Families line, and I would encourage all you New Yorkers to do the same. A vote for Obama is a vote for Obama, but a a vote for Obama on the WFP line shows support for a broad range of progressive policies and practices we would all do well to applaud (and helps to keep the WFP on the ballot at all).

(For a much more eloquent, studied take on all this, take a look at Katrina Vanden Heuvel's editorial in The Nation.)

Quote of the Day:
"Yesterday, Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location. He said that he is, and I quote, 'Delighted to support John McCain.' He's delighted. You've never seen Dick Cheney delighted before. But he is. That's kind of hard to picture."
(Barack Obama, I can only imagine, delightedly)

*Oddly enough, Spano was defeated in 2006 by Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who had the backing of Act Now NY, my friend Andrew's political action group. Unfortunately for Spano, in the cut-throat world that is politics, he had not only not won the support of Act Now NY, but had also lost the support of the WFP -- not because he "had stopped being a loyal ally" but rather because he was "no longer viewed as an effective one."* And so it goes. Poor bastard.

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