New York isn’t a presidential swing state. T.V. ads for Obama and McCain aren’t showing here, volunteers won’t come knocking on your door, and your mailbox won’t be overflowing with glossy campaign literature.
But progressives in New York still have a powerful way to make a difference: by voting for Barack Obama on the Working Families Party (WFP) ballot line — “Row E.”
WFP votes for Obama send a message about ending the war, about universal healthcare, about an economy that works for everyone. It’s a powerful way to vote your values.
Every vote on the WFP line for Obama counts the same as a Democratic one. But it also gives progressives and union members a chance to say something more: we don’t just want a change of parties, we want a fundamental shift toward government that works for working families, and an end to the rule by and for the few that marked the Bush years and that a McCain administration would continue.
Working Families votes make it clear, we want change and as excited as we are about Barack Obama’s candidacy, we won’t stop fighting when Democrats retake the White House.
That’s what the WFP is all about. Since our founding 10 years ago, making government work for working people has been the Working Families Party’s driving mission. We’ve led campaigns to raise the minimum wage, give everyone paid family leave, protect healthcare and education and fight for a fair tax system.
Here in New York, we’re on the verge of another major victory.
After years of shrinking the Republican State Senate majority, Democrats (with a big assist from labor and the WFP) are poised to take back Albany this November for the first time in a generation. If they do, it will mean the single biggest obstacle to progressive reform — from protecting and expanding affordable housing, to reforming Albany and passing fair budgets — will be gone.
It will mean a chance to finally pass legislation progressives and unions have talked about for years, but haven’t had the power to pass because of Republican intransigence.
Just like the battle for the Congress and the White House, however, putting Democrats back in office in Albany is only the first battle. The second is holding them accountable and keeping them honest. When the Democrats take complete control of the levers of New York government, they’ll be under tremendous pressure from the big-money crowd to go back on the promises they’ve made to working people.
Taking on corporate interests in Albany won’t be easy, but it’s the fight the WFP was born to wage. Voting on the Working Families Party ballot line for State Senate and Assembly candidates helps show our strength, and support from WFP members makes everything we do possible.
Join the fight at www.WorkingFamiliesParty.org.
Dan Cantor is the Working Families Party Executive Director