Voting in NYS
I meant to post this yesterday but my tsuris with WBAI hijacked all my attention.
This is for people registered to vote in New York State. I admire a lot of the work that the Working Families Party has done. They’ve been crucial to getting the state minimum wage raised, reducing the penalties in the Rockefeller drug laws, and getting a bill of rights for domestic workers, among many other things. For that reason, they’ve been under intense attack by Wall Street and real estate interests and the ideological right (the New York Post has run something like 80 articles and editorials attacking the WFP). Every attempt has been made to make them politically radioactive, and identify them with their allies in ACORN, which the right has already destroyed.
Because of that radioactivity, Andrew Cuomo, a wretched human being, made the party jump through all sorts of hoops before he’d accept their endorsement. New York state ballot access laws are the worst in the U.S.—among other things, they require a party to get 50,000 votes for their gubernatorial candidate to remain on the ballot in the next election. The WFP needs those 50,000 votes—and, I’m told, they need at least 100,000 to remain a credible force.
Among the hoops that Cuomo made the party jump through was endorsing his agenda, an agenda that includes letting the millionaire’s tax that the party fought for expire. This is outrageous in itself, but especially so in the midst of a fiscal crisis in a state with perhaps the most unequal distribution of income in the country. More recently, Cuomo told the New York Times that he wants to hammer the public employee unions. The scuttlebutt is that this worthless heir to his overrated father’s dubious legacy (tax cuts for the rich! massive prison building!) wants to run for president, and there’s nothing like easing the burden on investment bankers and increasing it on public workers to grease your way to higher office.
This is what the WFP was forced to endorse if it wanted to remain on the ballot. I’ve long worried that for all its many virtues—and they’re considerable—the party was ultimately constrained by its lack of a credible threat of exit from the Democrats. Cuomo is just the kind of Democrat (and how many other kinds are there, really?) that an independent progressive party should be running against. But the WFP is dependent on the support of unions who don’t want to alienate the Democratic party. So, as Althusser might say, the Dems dominate the WFP in the last instance.
What is to be done? For their many programmatic successes, the WFP deserves to remain credible. If the FIRE sector and Rupert Murdoch hate them enough to want to destroy them they must be doing something right. But voting for Cuomo, even on their line, is really painful.
So here’s how I’m resolving the dilemma: I’m going to vote for Cuomo on the WFP line. (Don’t vote twice! It won’t count!! More crazy New York ballot laws!!!) And Eric Schneiderman, who’s as good as Dems come, for AG too.
But if, after a few months of honeymoon pass, the WFP doesn’t fight Cuomo’s odious agenda, then it’s all over between us.