The Working Families Party, which began in New York and has attempted to spread to other states, stirred up considerable controversy in 2014 by supporting Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign for New York Governor. Cuomo has done much to anger New York progressives, including breaking a promise to support independent redistricting and vowing to fight labor unions in his second term.
The Working Families Party’s decision to endorse Cuomo a second time has raised questions about their strategy of urging progressives to vote for right-wing Democrats like Cuomo, as well as possible links between this strategy and the WFP’s sources of funding.
From In These Times, “Andrew Cuomo and the Sad State of the Working Families Party”:
To demonstrate the party’s weakness, one need only look at how far out of its way the WFP went to win voters by not mentioning the candidate at the top of the ticket. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) President Stuart Appelbaum on his Facebook simply said that he was voting for “Governor of New York” on the party line—no mention of who that governor was. Party mailers featured not an image of the governor but of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose plan for progressive taxation to fund universal pre-kindergarten was thwarted by the fiscally conservative Cuomo.
And there are many reasons why the party couldn’t talk about him. Cuomo failed to make good on a central promise he made in exchange for the WFP endorsement: to push for Democrats to regain control in New York’s State Senate.
In These Times recently interviewed Gayle McLaughlin, Green Party member and Mayor of Richmond, California, for an article entitled “The Progressive City on the Bay (and it’s not Berkeley or S.F.). From In These Times:
When we sat down to talk with 60-year old Gayle McLaughlin, the mayor of Richmond, Calif., she had just been through a summer media whirlwind. Policy innovation and political controversies landed McLaughlin and her East Bay city of 100,000 on the front page of The New York Times, on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, and on Democracy Now with Juan González and Amy Goodman. Even Fox News recently hosted a debate between two Richmond city council members about the merits of a new “ban the box” ordinance passed to ease the re-entry of former prisoners into the community.
The national media’s rediscovery of Richmond began last fall when the Times informed an unsuspecting world that McLaughlin’s “small, blue-collar city best known for its Chevron refinery has become the unlikely vanguard for anticorporate, left-wing activism in recent years, having seized the mantle from places like Berkeley, just south of here, or San Francisco, across the Bay.”
Since 2007, Richmond has approved a business tax increase and defeated a casino development scheme; opposed Immigration & Customs Enforcement raids in the city and created a municipal ID card to aid the undocumented; sought fair property taxation of Chevron and sued the giant oil company over the damage done by a huge refinery fire and explosion last year; and supported “community policing” initiatives introduced by Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus, which have helped reduce violence. Continue Reading