Now that Obama's membership in the left-of-leftist New Party is no longer under question, I think it's an appropriate time to review some of the activities of the New Party's offspring, the Working Families Party, which is active in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Oregon.
I can only guess what the Working Families Party is up to in other states, but here in New York State I've gotten campaign calls from them. Here even local political candidates apply to the Working Families Party for help--and get it--but only after making . . . promises. Here's a blog post on the topic (one of many) that I ran in September of 2009:
ACORN Has Own Political Party in NYC--And It's Winning Elections
According to the party's website, WFP is a coalition founded jointly by ACORN, the Communications Workers of America, and the United Automobile Workers. However, ACORN clearly dominates the coalition. New York ACORN leader Steven Kest was the moving force in forming the party, and WFP headquarters are located at the same address as ACORN's national office, at 88 Third Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.That was then.
An outgrowth of the socialist New Party, WFP was created in 1998. According to a 2000 article by the Associated Press, its objective was (and still is) to "help push the Democratic Party toward the left." In pursuit of this goal, WFP runs radical candidates in state and local elections.
The Working Families Party benefits from a quirk of New York State (and Connecticut) election law which allows parties to "cross-endorse" candidates of other parties. Thus when Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate in 2000, she ran both on the Democratic Party ticket and on the Working Families Party ticket. Of the 3.4 million popular votes Ms. Clinton received from New Yorkers, the Working Families Party delivered 103,000.
"Candidates know that when they're on our line, they're committed to certain things," explains Bertha Lewis, who moonlights as WFP co-chair and New York ACORN Executive Director. Speaking days before Mrs. Clinton won her Senate seat in 2000, Lewis noted, "Hillary knows that if she wins, we're going to be knockin' on her door. She won't be able to hide."
During the campaign, Mrs. Clinton spoke at numerous WFP events, most memorably at the party's debut convention, held March 26-27, 2000 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany -- an event which the Communist newspaper People's Weekly World approvingly called "a turning point in New York politics." After receiving WFP's endorsement, Clinton vowed to wage a "people's grassroots campaign." "[T]here have been few candidates in history more supportive of our issues than Al Gore and Hillary Clinton," proclaimed WFP campaign literature.
Along came Barack Obama, one of ACORN's very own "community organizers" and lawyers, and Hillary slipped under the train, reduced to a babbling mouthpiece for Obama's unique Poke-An-Ally-In-The-Eye brand of socialist foreign policy.
Last Tuesday, on Sept. 15, candidates of the Working Families Party forced surprised Democrat incumbents into run-off elections in New York City:
Eric N. Gioia, a city councilman from Queens and a candidate for public advocate, was in a great mood Tuesday as he walked to his car after voting in the Democratic primary. Until he spotted a lone young man who stood on the sidewalk, holding a stack of fliers. “See him?” said Mr. Gioia, his face darkening. “He’s from the Working Families Party.” Much to the chagrin of candidates like Mr. Gioia, the still relatively little-known 10-year-old party had dispatched a small army in the weeks before the primary, selling voters on its candidates in the mayoral, City Council, public advocate and comptroller races. Organizers knocked on 227,928 doors and talked to 62,112 voters, a party official said. On Tuesday, more than 350 workers were stationed throughout the city, most working for a day rate of $100.
Their efforts resulted in the party’s best electoral showing yet. In the public advocate’s race, the Working Families endorsed Bill de Blasio, a city councilman from Brooklyn. Coming from behind, he forced Mark Green into a runoff on Sept. 29, even though Mr. Green was the presumed front-runner based on pre-election polls and had already held the position. In the comptroller’s race, the party backed John C. Liu, a councilman from Queens, who won 38 percent of the vote, more than any other candidate, and will face the second-place finisher, David Yassky, a Brooklyn councilman, in the runoff.
Of the four incumbent council members who were toppled, three faced challengers supported by the Working Families Party.
“To say that it has vastly exceeded expectations would be an understatement,” Dan Cantor, the party’s executive director, said of the primary results. “Nobody saw this coming.”
The party also supported Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. in the mayor’s race, though its endorsement did not make much difference since he had long been expected to win.
The NY Times article, published as the ACORN scandal videos were hitting the blogosphere and Fox News, failed to mention ACORN's connection with the Working Families Party.And it is allied closely with powerful labor unions, whose members tend to be reliable voters, even in low-turnout primary elections like the one on Tuesday.That has resulted in a history of success in local races, as in 2003 when its endorsement and field work helped Letitia James win a City Council seat. But it has never been so deeply involved in citywide races and has never had so much to show for its work.
Interesting, especially considering that the NY Times endorsed seven of the Working Families Party candidates.
But the NY Times did mention that the Working Families Party had "drawn scrutiny" because it has a "for-profit arm, Data and Field Services, which provides staff members to knock on doors, call potential voters and hand out campaign flyers."
The city’s Campaign Finance Board has warned the party that it would be watching its finances closely, prompted by critics who say that the service charges fees lower than such campaign services typically cost. The board also determined that the Working Families Party and Data and Field Services, which share an office and staff, are virtually indistinguishable.
In June, three Working Families staff members started working for the de Blasio campaign, helping recruit volunteers and contact voters. Data and Field Services provided field managers, who organized the 200 people hired to canvass on primary day.
[snip]The three City Council candidates supported by the party were Jumaane Williams, a housing advocate from Brooklyn who beat Councilman Kendall Stewart; Daniel Dromm, a public school teacher who defeated Helen Sears in Queens; and Deborah Rose who defeated Kenneth C. Mitchell and could become the first black member of City Council from Staten Island.
“Getting their endorsement was a tremendous help,” Mr. Dromm said, who won the party’s support months ago after a rigorous round of interviews by members of its Queens chapter and others at the headquarters of the United Federation of Teachers. Mr. Dromm sat alone at a table in the middle of the room, he recalled, as his questioners formed a horseshoe around him.
In the end, he said, the greatest service the party provided was “legitimacy.”
“They validate you as a candidate,” he said.