The ties of the Working Families Party

Every once in a while a little quirk of a state’s politics makes national news. A recent example is New York’ 23rd, where two of the three major third parties made news–the Conservatives for embracing Doug Hoffman over the Republican nominee, and the Working Families Party for having had allowed Dede Scozzafava to run on its line in the past. New York law allows candidates to run on multiple party lines and to have those votes added to their total. Generally speaking the Liberal Party endorses the Democratic candidate and the Conservatives the Republican, but this is not always the case. A key case of this was the 1980 Senate race, when Republican nominee Alfonse D’Amato won over Democrat Elizabeth Holtzman and Republican turned Liberal nominee Jacob Javits. It happened the other way in 1968 when liberal Republican/Liberal Party cincumbent Charles Goodell split the liberal vote with the Democrat, leading to the election of Conservative Jim Buckley.

At any rate, the Atlantic (courtesy of City Hall) shows how the Working Families Party actually has four different avenues to wield influence. The graph is below, but the post is more detailed.

There may be something to be learned here for state parties, even those affiliated with “the big two.”

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