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Voting for Bastards and the Question of Institutional Power


Well, it’s Election Day in New York, and progressives here find ourselves in a rare quandary: either you vote for Andrew Cuomo, arch-conservaDem, and thereby keep the Working Families Party on the ballot (and because of New York’s election laws, you can’t just vote Working Families for everything else and still have it count for ballot placement) and at least theoretically able to keep pushing for enactment of the platform Cuomo agreed to when he got their endorsement, or you vote against Andrew Cuomo because he’s aggressively and deliberately antagonistically trying to shift public policy to the right, thereby helping Andrew Cuomo in his mission to destroy the Working Families Party as an institutional power in New York politics.

It’s a strategic and moral dilemma, and worthy of some consideration.

To begin with, it absolutely is the case that Andrew Cuomo is exactly what his opponents accuse him of, and is the ur-example of the DLC/financial lobby/anti-progressive who are lurking around the Democratic Party across the country (see Newsom, Gavin; but also Booker, Corey; O’Malley, Martin; Khanna, Mo, and others). Take for example, this recent statement of Cuomo’s:

“I passed gay marriage! I passed the toughest gun law in the country! I closed more prison cells than any governor in the history of the state! Minority job vouchers! My record of progressive accomplishment tops anyone!” Pause, dramatic reduction in volume. “Now, do you have some voices on the left that are impossible to placate in any realistic way? Yeah … Ask yourself: If he were more liberal, he would have done what? What more could I have possibly done? You’re gonna use the tax code just to take money from the rich and give it to the poor? That’s not liberalism. That’s confiscation! Liberalism was ‘Lift up the poor’ … The problem for liberals and progressives — of which I am proudly one — is you have to demonstrate you can actually do what you talk about. And that’s what I’ve been doing. My government works.”

As with Gavin Newsom’s email, there’s some fascinating ideological work going on in this brief dialogue that deserves unpacking. Note, for example, the way that social liberalism (or at least as it extends to gay marriages, prison closures, and gun control, because there’s a hell of a lot of social liberalism that’s not on there) is used as the sole definition of progressivism. I usually treat arguments that “identity politics” are bad/hurt us with the white working class/distract from the “real issues” with a good amount of scorn, but this parallel phrasing does lend some credence to a weak version of that thesis.

The flip-side of that emphasis on social liberalism is a rooted objection to redistribution full-stop. It’s kind of breath-taking in its audacity – progressive taxation has only been a part of the progressive agenda since the 1890s, was a major centerpiece of the New Deal and was largely responsible for the creation of the more egalitarian distribution of wealth and income that lasted from 1945 through the 1970s, were a cause that his own father championed as governor of New York, and they defined Obama’s presidency post-health care. Here, Cuomo is making his stand on the core principle of Third Wayism: expansion of opportunity is the only allowable social policy. Anything else, any challenge to historic levels of inequality driven by the entrenched power of capital, is verboten.

(remember this speech, Andrew? I sure do, and I wasn’t born yet)

Andrew Cuomo is precisely the embodiment of all those tendencies in the Democratic Party that progressives need to fight, especially given his ambitions to run for the Democratic nomination for president (in 2016 if Hillary doesn’t run, in 2024 if she does) and the amount of Wall Street cash he could put behind his campaign.

Given all this, why did I vote for him on the Working Families ticket?

Well, mostly because Andrew Cuomo doesn’t want me to. And because I believe in institutional power.

See, earlier this year, Andrew Cuomo was genuinely scared of a challenge from his left, worried that if he didn’t get the Working Families nomination and instead the WFP political machine went to work for a challenger, his chances in November would be damaged, if not by an absolute loss at the polls, but by a poor showing that would tarnish his national reputation. And so Cuomo did something that no governor of New York has ever done before – he agreed to adopt the Working Families Party’s policy agenda in exchange for their endorsement (which became an instantly controversial topic on the left).

But, for the first time, the WFP was dictating terms to the Democratic establishment, and the list was pretty comprehensive:

  • endorsement of a working Democratic majority in the Senate – something that normally wouldn’t be an issue for a Democratic governor, but Cuomo liked being able to triangulate with Republicans and the IDC caucus, whereas a Democratic legislature, especially one where WFP had influence, would present him with a real independent power to deal with.
  • public financing of elections – absolutely necessary if the Working Families Party is to make a real play at the state legislature in the same way that it did for the New York City Council, up against the financial power of Wall Street.
  • decriminalization of marijuana – absolutely necessary to actually wind down stop-and-frisk, since the actual outcome of most stops that end with arrests is an arrest on minor possession charges.
  • the Women’s Equality Act – especially in an environment in which women’s rights are going backwards everywhere Republicans rule.
  • increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour statewide, with freedom for NYC to adopt $13 an hour – something Cuomo bitterly opposed as part of his ongoing battle against Bill DeBlasio, and a huge material win for the working class.
  • a state DREAM Act – likewise, a huge win for working-class immigrant kids, trying to get through public higher education, otherwise cut off from financial aid.

To give him credit, Cuomo is a cunning politician. Almost immediately, he tried to back off as many of these commitments as he could, and to exploit his new position to its extent. Now the WFP had endorsed him, they couldn’t easily un-endorse him, so he could split their base all to hell by launching verbal attacks against the teacher’s unions and ginning up an astro-turf “Women’s Equality Party” to try to siphon votes away from the WFP. It’s a no-lose: if progressives hold their noses and vote for him, he gets re-elected; if they get pissed off and vote Green, the Working Families Party might lose its ballot line if it doesn’t get 50,000 votes, crushing them as a force in state politics. If they’re not particularly savvy and vote WEP, then he creates a controllable rival to the WFP, and hopefully the Working Families Party loses their designation anyway.

A common theme here? Cuomo doesn’t want people to vote Working Families Party. His ideal scenario is him winning re-election and WFP losing its ballot designation, and his second-best scenario is that he gets re-elected with as few WFP votes as possible, weakening any leverage they might hold over him. If either of those scenarios happen, no left-wing party would ever be able to dictate terms on public policy.

And ultimately, that’s the important thing. Cuomo is a bastard, but bastards come and go. He might run for president, but it’s not going to be any time soon and he’s beatable if and when it does happen – and it’s not worth tanking the Working Families Party to tank his national political career.

But state-level institutional power, the ability to dictate the policy agenda to the governor and the state legislature? That’s something that can reshape the political economy of a state for decades to come, and reshape the political environment in which state senators and assemblymembers who’ll become future Congressional Representatives, U.S Senators, and governors operate in. And that’s the kind of power that progressives need to prioritize, rather than our ongoing obsession with the presidency and the personality of the holder of that office.

More on that in future installments. Go vote Working Families to spite Andrew Cuomo.

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  • DocAmazing

    Hey, with Gavin Newsom, you got exactly what you paid for.

  • I was one among many who had this dilemma.

    I wanted to vote for Hawkins on the Green party line. I also didn’t want to lose the WFP option in the future.

    However, they sold their birthright for a bowl of Cuomo soup. And he turned around and put the WEP on the ballot to take away the WFP’s spot. This is the old Liberal Party writ small.

    So rather than choose between the lesser of two evils, I voted for myself

    BTW, Hawkins could conceivably end up with more than 10% of the vote. That would make him only the second Green Party candidate in NY state history to pull that off (the first was Lynn Serpe, but hers was a local city council election in Queens)

    • burnspbesq

      Any vote against Cuomo is effectively a vote for Astorino.

      You really want to have that weighing on your conscience?

      • TriforceofNature

        This comment is ridiculous. Cuomo’s up by ~23 points. Why on earth would it weigh on anyone’s conscience?

        • I’m pretty sure said comment is made pretty tongue-in-cheek.

          • TriforceofNature

            *hangs head in shame*

    • But that didn’t actually hurt Cuomo. It helped him. The WFP now needs one more vote to get to 50,000.

      Selling birthrights…we won’t be able to judge until after the 2014 legislative session is done.

    • Sly

      If your upset with WFP getting played like a fiddle – and there are few WFP voters in New York State who aren’t – than that’s a leadership fight to take up within the party itself. Getting the party thrown off the ballot for 2016 makes that fight pointless, since the nomination won’t be worth a damn even if there is a leadership shake up in the interim. Gutting the power of the WFP out of spite now hurts you in the long run.

      BTW, Hawkins could conceivably end up with more than 10% of the vote.

      And what is the significance of that? Other than than fact that, of all the losers, he’ll come in second? It’s a historical footnote, and gives no power to the left in New York State.

  • Origami Isopod

    I usually treat arguments that “identity politics” are bad/hurt us with the white working class/distract from the “real issues” with a good amount of scorn, but this parallel phrasing does lend some credence to a weak version of that thesis.

    Social justice types and class activism types are equally terrible about peeking “across the divide” to get a basic working understanding of the “other” issues and how they intersect with their own areas of focus. Everybody with an interest in left-wing activism should be doing this. “But I only have so much time/energy/etc.!” is a copout. A basic working understanding isn’t a Ph.D.

    (Disclaimer: #NotAllActivists blah blah blah.)

    • Just to explain the “weak version” thesis: I think Cuomo is an example, and he’s not the only one, of the way in which social liberalism is used as a costless (to capital) way for otherwise conservative Democrats to try to steal the progressive label for themselves while outright blocking any movement on economic policy.

      • Murc

        Social liberalism is not only costless to capital, it is actively beneficial to it. Expanding the number of people it is acceptable to employ, sell to, or otherwise do business with is always in the best interests of the capital class.

        • Malaclypse

          While that sounds plausible, you need to consider the fact that libertarians would agree, and that should always make you suspicious. In practice, what is always in the best interest of the capital class is keeping the working class divided. See the Southern Strategy…

          • Origami Isopod

            Yes, this.

            • LeeEsq

              Neither the capital class or working class are unified in their interests as much as we would really like it to be so. Your assuming first, that class identity is primary. This isn’t the case many times. A working class African-American could perceive him or herself as African-American first and identify more easily with a capital class person of color than a white carpenter. As long as identity is a multi-face thing than every class is going to be divided.

              If any class is united in its interests, its neither the capital class or the working class. The most united class is probably what could be called the Liberal Professional Class but its a bit impercise. I generally see more class united and concern about common issues from educated bourgeoisie people than either the working class or capital class.

        • It’s a bit more complicated. You have to weigh the factors you mention against the rents that can be extracted from discrimination, which can be quite lucrative.

          But it certainly can be.

      • LeeEsq

        Social liberalism is also a lot easier to use as a binding point in the Democratic Party. Its easy to unite the desperate factions of the Democratic party around LGBT rights or feminism or other social issues than economic ones. Most Democrats are going to support marriage equality or even a woman’s right to abortion over Medicare for All or wealth redistribution.

        • Linnaeus

          If we assume this premise to be true for the sake of argument, then the question that follows is: why is that the case?

          • LeeEsq

            Because the Democratic Party is a liberal party and liberals have been divided on the issue of the inequalities created by the market since the 1880s. There are Democrats who are New Deal/Great Society types and comfortable with the idea of government leveling capitalisms worse effects through regulation and wealth redistribution measures. You also have a lot of Classical Liberals that are not. Social liberalism is what both groups can agree on.

            • Bufflars

              Plus, a lot of people are a little weird or downright contradictory about money and economics in general. Many of the people who are most active in the Democratic Party also happen to be in the top quintile but may not be in the top 0.5%. You know, the ones who would be paying higher taxes in any redistribution scheme but who don’t see themselves as rich (i.e. not being able to really afford to pay more). It’s a lot easier to support social causes that have little or no financial cost than to face the reality of higher taxes on one’s upper middle class income.

          • Pace to LeeSeq here, but the major change came, starting in 1974, when the “Watergate babies” came into Congress, carrying with them a Baby-Boomer agenda largely focused on feminism, environmentalism, gay rights, etc. and somewhat hostile to the labor movement after what happened with McGovern, and much less interested in economic liberalism.

            You can draw a line from that to the “Atari Democrats” to the DLC/New Democrats to the present day.

            • LeeEsq

              I don’t think I ever heard the term Atari Democrats before.

              • Phil Perspective

                Did they play Space Invaders? Defender? Frogger? Missle Command?

                • LeeEsq

                  I just got images of political disputes being fought over as Pokemon matches.

                • LeeEsq

                  Filibustermon, I chose you.

        • G. Martinez

          Since taxpayers don’t want to have their money given to people sitting on the couch eating Cheatos the only way for the democrat party to win is to become the party of immorality.

          • Origami Isopod

            HI JENBOB

  • I am conflicted about Cuomo, but he kept his promises in WNY. That counts for a lot with me, but it didn’t count for enough to keep me from voting for Teachout/Wu in the primary. I view it as an obligation to vote for the most liberal candidate I can in primaries. In the General, I have a bit of a problem: New York’s minor parties are terrible. Really they are just a vehicle for graft and patronage, and I resist dropping down into those columns unless it is absolutely unavoidable. This seems to be one of those occasions.

  • willstamped

    Thanks for posting this. I don’t live in New York, but I have a friend on Facebook asking about whether to vote for WEP or WFP. This clears up the question nicely, assuming she hasn’t already voted.

    • Oh, WEP is a pure shell party, 89% funded by men.

      • Phil Perspective

        And backed by people like Lena Dunham.

  • I voted Zephyr in the primary and Rat-boy Cuomo on the WFP line today. It’s not like I’ve forgotten the nausea of the Pataki years.

  • shah8


    I’ve always been very suspicious of the Working Families Party. Twice now, I’ve heard that name connected to things I think are very shady.

    • DrS

      Three now, counting this…

      Cue ominous music

    • Is there anything you don’t think is shady? Any rock that a “bankster” isn’t hiding under?

      If memory serves, you thought that free tuition at Oregon public universities was shady.

      • Because it was backed by…drumroll…the Oregon Working Families Party!

        • shah8

          As for the Oregon Working Families Party, how do you think I got such a revulsion?

      • shah8

        Well, there you go, stepped pyramids…You apparently believed that there was anything like “free tuition”. It was not “free tuition”. Nominally, the students were to pay it into a huge fund out of a regular cut of their paychecks, should they earn enough. Maybe the fund gets large enough that it would be free in actuality…

        But these things never happen that way…

        Rei over at Dailykos talks about something very similar in how the Conservatives came back into power in Iceland, and how destructive that was: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/03/1341516/-Not-B-r-arbunga-Politics-Isn-t-A-Bunch-of-Puffins-and-Happy-Elves

    • G. Martinez

      They should rename themselves the Non-Working Families Party; working people don’t like paying taxes.

  • I really can’t stand Ro Khanna, what a shit he is. At least I’m pretty sure Mike Honda will win that vote. In a completely predictable display of servitude to the tech industry, the San Jose Mercury News endorsed Khanna. He also moved into the 17th district just for the purpose of running against Honda. In 2012 he tried to run in the 15th district.

    • Brett

      Was he the guy that Evgeny Morozev described as pushing “enlightened dictatorship” for economic reasons? I vaguely remember that from a TNR essay a few years ago.

    • I’m likewise hopeful. It’s important to start drawing some lines in the sand.

  • Brett

    If I was in New York State, I’d vote for him too – and support anyone who wanted to make him pay in the next primary or when he goes to the state legislature for support for his causes.

    I find it absolutely hilarious that Cuomo thinks he might have a chance at the Presidency with his Third Way Democrat act. That shit might have flown back in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was in office, but he’d be killed by anyone decently competent in the Democratic primaries (like Hillary Clinton). And of course, there’s not much chance he’d generate base-wide enthusiasm, being the Mitt Romney of the Democratic Party.

    • JMP

      He could generate excitement among Wall Street and the Washington Post / Sunday talk show crowd, which just loves them fiscally conservative corporate Democrats. But among a significant portion of the electorate, much less a plurality or majority of Democratic primary voters? Not so much.

    • TriforceofNature

      I find it absolutely hilarious that Cuomo thinks he might have a chance at the Presidency with his Third Way Democrat act. That shit might have flown back in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was in office, but he’d be killed by anyone decently competent in the Democratic primaries (like Hillary Clinton).

      This is kind of odd. You really think the Clintons and Cuomo aren’t cut from the same corporate Democrat cloth?

      • humanoid.panda

        Clinton ran and governed in an era in which the electorate was significantly to the right of the average Democratic politician (and still, his major domestic legislation push was on near-universal health insurance). Cuomo is governing far to the right of the average New York Democratic politician and far, far to the right of his electorate. ’nuff said.

        • TriforceofNature

          This is true, although I still think that even H. Clinton is well to the right of the average NY Democrat. At least the ones I know.

        • I think Gillibrand’s career is evidence of the position of the statewide electorate. She was a centrist when representing a (for NYS) far-right district and immediately moved left when she was running statewide.

      • As far as I can tell, the Clintons have actual beliefs, which they may or may not be willing to compromise. Does A. Cuomo have a belief other than in his own specialness?

        • TriforceofNature

          I really couldn’t give a fuck less what politicians believe, I care about what they do. NAFTA, AEDPA, DOMA, PRWORA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Clinton could be a socialist and it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference.

          If H. Clinton governs at all like her husband, I don’t see how Andy could possibly be any worse.

          • TriforceofNature

            Don’t get me wrong, I’ll vote for Clinton if it comes down to her versus Paul or Cruz, but I’m not the least bit excited about her. Look at what you hate about Cuomo, and then look at Clinton and honestly ask what she would do differently.

            You probably hate Cuomo’s record on labor as much as I do. Absolutely no differentiation on that issue.

            Education reform? The Clintons go way back http://www.nytimes.com/1984/01/17/us/teachers-up-in-arms-over-arkansas-s-skills-test.html

            You could go on and on. Other than the fact that Hillary would be the first female President and seems like much less of a sleazeball, they don’t appear too different on the merits.

            • I don’t believe that she would screw her own party in the lege the way AC has, but she could easily disappoint me there.

              • TriforceofNature

                I think you’re absolutely right about that. The last thing we need is a President Cuomo kowtowing to Republicans.

                • I’m not sure we actually disagree much on any of this.

            • witlesschum

              She hasn’t done much to make me view her better by losing the Democratic nomination for supporting the Iraq War and now whining that Obama is insufficiently hawkish. It’s a shame she’s the front runner for the Democratic nomination, because there’s almost no one in the party demanding a more hawkish candidate.

          • Phil Perspective

            Don’t forget what the Socialists in Spain and Greece did when they got into power. They didn’t change things and people voted the Conservatives back in power. Also, Milliband has already gone on record and said he’d continue austerity if he becomes PM. Way to depress turnout, asshole.

    • It is interesting. To me, the big question is what Hillary does in 2016. She lost in 2012 by being not left enough, so what kind of re-calibration she’ll be up to is something to keep an eye on.

      It’s also funny, because staunch right-wingism is not Clintonian MO – shifting to match the times is. So Cuomo’s not working from the Clintonian playbook as much as he thinks he is.

    • sleepyirv

      It’s clear to me Cuomo perfected the 90s Third Way strategy just in time for that strategy to become obsolete, like inventing the perfect horse harness in the 1910s. Legalizing gay marriage, the crown jewel in protecting his liberal bona fides will be old news by 2016.

    • In what sense is Hillary Clinton “decently competent”? She lost last time because her strategist didn’t know how to count votes, surely a basic requirement for competence. She voted for the Iraq War– a gimme for a New York Senator, and something that I hope haunts her to her grave. Andy is no jewel, and he won’t run against HRC, but I can see his act playing fairly well out in real America.

      • Phil Perspective

        His act will only play with old people, those old enough to remember his father. If that.

      • TriforceofNature

        Right. As people smarter than me have pointed out, H. Clinton’s very first test will be whether or not she shitcans her inner circle this time around. People like, say, Mark Penn are the canaries in her coalmine. If she keeps them around, she demonstrates that she’s learned nothing and doesn’t deserve the Presidency.

        • Malaclypse

          The question is not whether Clinton deserves the Presidency – she doesn’t. That’s just a given. The question is whether the country deserves a Republican President.

  • Anon21

    Wish I’d read this before I voted. I didn’t realize there was any advantage to voting for Cuomo on the WFP line.

    • shah8

      Is it a big loss, though? How effective is the WFP in bringing about actual progressive outcomes, that would benefit normal people materially? Or do you see likely viable pathways to accomplishing anything–because even if I accept WFP as a genuine one, in what way did they have power to push through *any* agenda with their Cuomo maneuver? Again, Nicky Clegg was just not that long ago, why would *anyone* believe that they have a serious seat at the table with success, after the bargains they made?

      Disruptive (and effective) third parties looks like Syriaza or Republican Catalonia/Scottish National Party. They have a plank with alternatives, potentially controversial (which is why nationalist/seperatist tend to do better than other controversial plank parties) and they argue for that plank on the merits and party build with true believers that clot with the dissatisfied normals.

      Voting for a bastard only means that you get a bastard. What happens past the election doesn’t really matter, and party building as an excuse for bad behavior went out with the Naderite Greens.

      • Hogan

        So far, laws guaranteeing paid sick days–or earned sick time, as it’s sometimes called–have only passed in solidly blue areas. Seattle’s went through the first time it reached a vote, buoyed by the support of many progressive business owners. And Portland’s, which went into effect in January, was enacted with the unanimous support of its city council. In Connecticut, New York City, Jersey City and Newark, the Working Families Party had an important role in passing sick days, as did other advocates representing parents, labor and low-wage workers.

      • It’s absolutely a huge loss on a whole host of important policy issues that you don’t seem to care about.

        Millionaire’s tax, green jobs, sick leave, universal pre-K, opposition to the testing/charter agenda, living wage ordinances, ending stop-and-frisk, everything on the 2014 platform, this stuff is important.

        • shah8

          Oh dear.

          I do care about these things, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I cared about them longer than you ever had, depending on your age.

          Steven Attewell, I care about a functional party that delivers on material progress. Whenever I hear about the WFP, it is about some stupid or malevolent gambit that is more of a clever flourish rather than anything likely to result in material gain. Hogan at least cited some stuff the WFP helped enact, but these items probably had the support of a number of agencies besides the WFP. What is something the WFP ever stuck its neck out for and campaigned for as a central goal such that people recognize it as a WFP plank? Something besides that horrid Oregon Initiative? Something besides endorsing Coumo at Teachout’s expense? Something *good* and a bit more of a splash than paid sick leave dotted across the country?

          • If you cared about these issues as you say you do, and you took some time to google them, you’d know that the WFP was instrumental in getting them done in New York, as opposed to Oregon.

            Millionaire’s tax in 2009
            Green Jobs in 2010.
            – Sick leave in NYC in 2013, Connecticut in 2010.
            – pre-K in NYC in 2014.
            – opposition to charter schools/testing. 2014.
            – ending stop-and-frisk. 2014.

            • shah8

              Jesus Christ, man, I know you are invested in thinking of me as some sort of troll, but you strike me as someone who’s just a little too young to properly smell bullshit. The links you provided were interesting in their way, but they don’t actually support your line, and the Jacobin is actually pretty harsh on your line about the vote today, actually.

      • Hogan

        Disruptive (and effective) third parties looks like Syriaza or Republican Catalonia/Scottish National Party.

        And they operate in electoral systems that are very different from New York’s, systems that offer many more opportunities for disruption (from the left and the right).

    • Mellano

      Me too. I voted Wfp for the other races where they had a (dem) candidate, but I just couldn’t add to Cuomo’s triumphant margin.

      Also I didn’t think Working Families were in much danger of falling off the ballot itself? They’ve been around long enough now I figured they’ll be able to protect their line.

      • If their base votes like you did…

        • Mellano

          If the Working Families Party doesn’t have the organization to stay on the ballot then maybe they aren’t a force in New York politics in the first place? And if so, I’d rather cast a protest vote for the non-conservative.

  • Murc

    And on the subject of elections in New York, if anyone at all here besides me lives in NY-55, get your ass out there and vote for Ted O’Brien.

    O’Brien has been running a shitty campaign well to the right of where he should be, and it’s why I haven’t given him money or time, but in his defense he’s up against Rich Funke, who has been running a formidable campaign; he manages the necessary trick for modern Republicans of appearing to be conservative without appearing to be crazy. NY-55 has a lot of well-heeled suburbanites who will vote for Democrats, and vote for Republicans, but won’t vote for crazy. And Funke’s ground game is formidable and he has excellent personal presence, and this is also a district where running against the SAFE Act will win you a fair amount of votes.

    Sadly, O’Brien decided to run as a Republican-lite rather than as a Democrat, which has hurt him in two directions.

    Still, vote for him anyway. Control of the State Senate might hinge on this race.

    • Noah S. McKinnon

      That’s exactly why I went to vote; I wish I’d read this article before I voted, because I considered voting full-WFP and broke that only for Cuomo (yeah, it was stupid – in my defense, I have the flu and I was voting on an empty stomach) but there was no fucking way I was going to let someone knock Ted O’Brien out of the Senate if I could do something about it.

      You’re absolutely right about the campaigns – my students were upset with all the things the Dems have been saying about Funke, because of course their parents are mostly hardcore GOPers – but I knew people who worked on O’Brien’s campaign, and he was a hard sell that turned out well. He deserves another term.

      (EDIT: Well, it’s not the only reason I turned out to vote – but it was the one most looming over me.)

    • Ahenobarbus

      I don’t think I’ve seen a single TV ad in Western NY where you can tell what the candidate’s party is. On the issues, they all sound friendly socially (Funke supports women!), but hate red tape and regulations and those bastards in Albany and NYC.

      The exception is Cuomo’s ad where a Republican County Exec endorses him (“I’m a Republican and I support Andrew Cuomo”).

      • Murc

        That was actually the part that made me most angry about O’Brien. “Standing up for Upstate.”

        No, you fucker. I expect you to do right by all of the peoples. ALL of them.

  • rea

    decriminalization of marijuana – absolutely necessary to actually wind down stop-and-frisk, since the actual outcome of most stops is arrests on minor possession charges.

    Is that really true? I thought (1) most stop and frisks don’t result in any charges, and (2) with the exclusionary rule being the primary remedy for an illegal stop, it’s illegal stops that don’t result in charges that are problematic–illegal, but no remedy. The cops get to display their power and harass minority members . . .

    • The Temporary Name

      Are such stops logged consistently? You could make yourself look nearly psychic if you just kept track of the positives.

    • Anon21

      Yeah, good point. No way do “most” stops result in any charges at all, since the vast majority of people stopped are found to have nothing on them.

    • Sorry, I phrased that sloppily.

      When stop-and-frisk ends in a charge as opposed to being let go, the overwhelming majority of charges are minor possession charges.

  • Joe_JP

    you can’t just vote Working Families for everything else and still have it count for ballot placement

    Can you add a bit more on how that works? Does ballot placement depend on the top state ticket? IOW, let’s say if every candidate, including federal, get a lot of WFP votes, except for governor. In effect, is that the only slot that counts?

    • Sly

      The gubernatorial vote tally determines automatic ballot access. A party doesn’t need to get 50,000 votes on their gubernatorial line to get on the ballot, it just needs that many to stay on the ballot for the next election without the burden of petitioning for access.

      It also determines ballot line order. Generally its Democratic, Republican, and then lines three to five alternate between the Conservative Party, The Second Conservative Independence Party, and the WFP from election to election. The rest of the ballot lines change often, as parties rise and fall consistently in the state. Most of the time the Greens are on. Sometimes the SWP. Then you have the one- or two-election parties like the Tax Revolt Party and The Rent Is Too Damn High Party.

      • What Sly said.

        In recent years, WFP has been doing better and better, moving up the rungs. When I was an undergraduate and voting in NY, WFP was either on Row E or F, significantly down the ballot. With the expiration of the Liberal party and DeBlasio’s election, WFP was up to Row D.

      • Joe_JP

        Thanks. I think that gives one race too much importance.

        • You’re not alone.

  • JMP

    It does sound like the Working Families Party got themselves a great deal here, and it sounds almost as genius as the UK Liberal Democrats’ agreement to make David Cameron PM in return for a couple token cabinet position and some lip service for their issues.

    • nixnutz

      Well they did convince him to support Democrats in the legislature, which the Democrats themselves couldn’t do. That he turned around and screwed them with this WEP bullshit is some next level assholery but WFP seems to the most effective counterweight we have at the moment.

    • We’ll have to see how the 2014 legislative session goes. It may well be they got rolled, or they may walk away with major victories.

  • tonycpsu

    O’Malley, Marvin

    His friends call him Martin (or Tommy Carcetti.)

  • RPF

    I agree with this as a matter of political strategy. I share the LGM editorial stance that third parties are almost always a waste of time and usually counterproductive.

    But I just can’t bring myself to vote for that rotten bastard again.

  • joe from Lowell

    but also Booker, Corey, O’Malley, Marvin, Khanna, Mo, and others

    is really confusing, with the commas doing double duty like that. “Marvin O’Malley” just makes it worse, making me wonder if that is supposed to be just a list of last names after all.

  • Joe_JP

    As a NY voter, this is useful, but I’m more concerned about the re-districting ballot measure, one I fear the general voter is not that informed about. Also:

    he tried to back off as many of these commitments as he could

    Yeah. Not seeing that legalization of marijuana, e.g., quite yet. The working control of the legislature is helped I’d guess by Jeff Klein deciding to be an actual Democrat this time. And, voting for Cuomo just to help the WFP out is something of a hard sell.

  • NewishLawyer

    Did you mean to include a video of Mario Cuomo and not Andrew Cuomo? The text makes it seem like you are talking about Andrew and not the father.

    I always thought Mario was a pretty good guy and liked his principal stand against the death penalty. You don’t see politicians do stuff like that as much anymore.

    I don’t live in NY anymore (maybe one day again) but I always find it interesting that the people I see rant against Cuomo the most are very much my college friends who can be said to represent “new Brooklyn.” I thought it was interesting that Teachout destroyed Cuomo in the Northern suburbs but could not dent him in NYC. Good government campaigns need to figure out how to reach those NY voters who are not white, upper-middle class (or will be), and professional.

    I’m serious about this. Sometimes I think good government types forget about bread and butter issues.

    • shah8

      Good luck with that.

      That 10 hours of street harassment video, and the revelation of the editing and Bliss being behind it (with his history) gave misogynistic black guys a whole lotta ammo with which to flame feminists and black women for siding with feminist or having an issue with street harassment and all of the other dangers of simply being a black woman in public, what with daylit straight grabs off the streets and abusive policemen exercising their authoriteh. And the fucked up part is, those fuckers have a point in believing that stepped up anti-street harassment will become yet another tool, like stop and frisk, in “controlling” minority men.

      Just way too many white progressives do not really want to deal with the nitty gritty of fairly insidery politics of minority communities. Or even just not promote stuff that obviously would create reaction for some needless reason. Or even just sheer survival when one looks at Sirleaf’s government do miscue after violent or suppressive miscue in Liberia’s Ebola story. Attention to detail is a thing, folks. Acting like you care about the opinions of the people you intend to act on, is a thing(whether you do or not), activists…

      • NewishLawyer

        To be fair, a lot of white liberals did realize that there was something deeply wrong with that viral video on cattcalling and that it was deeply problematic and racist to only contain minority men. That probably doesn’t help though.

        I largely think you are spot on in your second paragraph especially with white progressives/liberals not knowing how to deal with nitty gritty urban politics. Interestingly it is the less liberal Democratic types that know how to deal with urban politics and can do so easily. The same thing happened with Ed Lee’s election in San Francisco which really benefited the tech industry. Air BNB has largely been running a brilliant (if diabolical campaign) against David Campos to get David Chiu elected in assemblyman.

      • G. Martinez

        Maybe blacks catcall more; the Feminzis are on the same side as the people who killed Emmett Till.

    • TriforceofNature

      It strikes me as intentional. It’s supposed to be (by my reading) a juxtaposition showing you how far Andy has fallen from the tree.

      If you listen to the M. Cuomo excerpt and go back and read the quoted portion of Andy’s speech, you see that he basically believes the opposite of Daddy Cuomo

      You’re gonna use the tax code just to take money from the rich and give it to the poor? That’s not liberalism. That’s confiscation! Liberalism was ‘Lift up the poor’

    • LeeEsq

      During the First Gilded Age, good government campaigns also had their biggest support among educated middle-class people. The working class continued to happily vote for their machine politicians that could do things for them like getting a relatively cozy government job, a turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas, and out of trouble with the law.

      Good government has always been concerned with corruption and a politician that an average citizen could look to when they needed a favor or something was always big sign of corruption. To the average working class citizen of the Gilded Age trading the votes for a potential favor latter was just the way things were done. Even if modern working class people have access to a better social safety net, a lot of them would also like somebody they could call with political connections if necessary.

      You need a certain amount of money, not too much and not too little, in order to find corruption disturbing. You need to be in a place where you don’t potentially need personal favors from politicians. People that might need personal favors, rich or poor, aren’t going to care that much.

    • I meant to throw in the Mario video to bolster my comment about how Andrew is turning his back on his father’s legacy.

  • Murc

    Actually, Steven, can you chalk me up as another person who doesn’t understand why voting for everyone on the WFP line but Cuomo won’t matter?

    Because that seems wrong and weird to me.

    • It is wrong and weird, but I’ve checked with a couple sources. Apparently, for ballot access, they count from the top of the ticket down.

  • nanute

    I voted for the bastard on the WFP line. What I found troubling was while listening to WNYC’s Brian Lehrer this morning, it was amazing how many woman callers voted for Cuomo on the shell party WEP line.

  • Election day curse in NYC.

    • Origami Isopod

      Goat head? The Mickey Kaus thread is thataway.

      • joe from Lowell

        Well played.

  • R. Johnston

    I could not vote for Cuomo, not on any party line. That useless fucker supported Ballot Proposal 1, an effort to constitutionally mandate the continuation of the ridiculous existing Republican gerrymander of the State Senate and assure that the Senate will return to Republican control even if they lose control temporarily. That useless fucker is actively working to make New York government nonfunctional.

    Given the state of polling, I decided that Astorino was my best protest vote. Nothing can stop Cuomo from winning today, but the smaller his margin of victory over the Republican, the less likely we’ll have to live through a Cuomo campaign for President.

  • Bruce Vail

    Chris Hayes delivered a shortened version of Steve’s post on MSNBC last night.

    “Cuomo is terrible. He fucked over the WFP. I’m voting for Cuomo.”

    Jeez, guys…..

  • calling all toasters

    Fuck the WFP. Or, rather, they fucked themselves by not listening to their core constituency and by listening to a sleazebag instead. They SHOULD circulate petitions to be on the ballot next time. Let’s see if they can get Cuomo to sign them 50,000 times.
    I’m voting Green for the first time ever.

  • And Staten Island is still Staten Island. Sure Grimm is an asshole who’s going to jail, but why not vote for him anyway?

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