Lesson for Cuomo: Fusion voting not at the heart of Working Families Party success

It’s been said that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is not a fan of fusion voting. He obviously dislikes challenges to the prevailing political system where you basically have to chose between the two qualified major political parties in the state. Having a candidate who can run on multiple party lines allows for more opportunity of a political upset to occur.

One scenario that could arise is a candidate who pulls votes that would’ve normally gone to one of the two major political parties, but instead goes to a small party that has cross-endorsed said candidate. So you could possibly have registered Democrats not voting for the democratic candidate and instead voting for the republican candidate via a third party line. The democratic voters could say that while they dislike the the politics of the GOP, they support the views of the third party endorsing the GOP’s candidate and in turn vote for them on that line. This then gives that third party a chance to retain ballot access for upcoming elections. It even allows that third party to move up a row on the ballot further establishing their credibility.

In New York State, the three smaller political parties that have benefited the most from what is known as the Wilson Pakula Act are the Independence Party, Conservative Party and the Working Families Party.

Yet even with these realities, it was interesting to hear Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party say that cross-endorsement isn’t the end all be all of their organization.

However, much of the power the WFP built—championing issues, winning primaries—didn’t involve fusion at all, and many of those tactics can be exported to non-fusion states. Cantor, the Working Families national director, says, “As much as we like fusion voting, it’s not essential to the actual advance of the project.”

Truthfully, it’s the involvement of these third parties in the major political parties primary elections that is really what upsets people like Andrew Cuomo the most I think. On one side the Democrats have to contend with the Working Families Party and on the right the Republicans have to deal with the Conservative Party. In NY, this reality allows for both parties to come together to stymie these third parties. In a world of partisanship this is the one issue that unites them–ironically.

So how serious is Governor Cuomo when it comes to the issue of cross-endorsements? After this gubernatorial election we’ll probably learn more.

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