By Mark Wachtler
December 10, 2015. Brooklyn, NY. (ONN) For years, the Working Families Party has swayed between an opposition political party and an establishment political organization. At first glance, those efforts seem to contradict each other. But their strategy has paid off in recent years and they are applying it once again in the 2016 Presidential race. Instead of running a candidate of their own, the WFP has officially endorsed independent US Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary.
87% of WFP members voted to endorse Sanders over Clinton or O’Malley. Image courtesy of WFP.
Opposition or Establishment
When people ask us here at Opposition News why we don’t cover the Tea Party, we explain that the Tea Party isn’t an opposition party. They’re not a political party at all. Instead, they are merely a wing of the establishment Republican Party. Likewise, the Working Families Party has traditionally been a wing of the establishment Democratic Party. But at least the WFP occasionally runs opposition candidates on its own ballot line.
With the endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), WFP has managed to combine the best of both worlds. They are endorsing a fellow independent who has infiltrated the Democratic Party to run for President. Another important item to remember is that the Working Families endorsement only covers the 2016 Democratic Primary. That leaves the Party free to make a separate endorsement for President in the General Election, possibly a Green or a Socialist, depending on who the eventual Democratic nominee is.
WFP endorses Sanders
For the past two weeks, the Working Families Party has been polling its membership via an online caucus to determine which candidate to endorse in the Democratic Primary. Party leaders offered three choices - Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley. When the votes were counted, the WFP rank and file shunned the two establishment candidates and overwhelmingly voted to endorse the independent Sanders.
“The votes are in,” WFP National Director Dan Cantor announced Tuesday, “With the support of 87% of WFP members, the Working Families Party is officially endorsing Bernie Sanders for President in the Democratic Party Primary.” This is the first time in the WFP’s 17-year history that it has endorsed a candidate for President.
Cantor went on to say, “We're proud to stand with Senator Sanders. Our members overwhelmingly see him as a progressive who understands the problems our country faces, who understands that it will take a ‘political revolution’ to challenge the power of the big money crowd that puts greed above all other values.”
What WFP members are saying
While announcing their endorsement of Bernie Sanders, Party leaders also provided a handful of statements from Working Families members on the local level explaining why they voted for Bernie Sanders:
Patricia in WV: I voted for Bernie because I don't want to see my mother working two jobs until she's 65 only to retire in poverty.
Tracey in WI: We need to move the Democrats back to being true progressives and not corporate Democrats. That is the basic of the Working Families Party - a party that works for the people, not Wall Street.
Dan in NY: In casting my vote for Bernie Sanders, I was expressing my deepest hopes for racial, social and economic justice and environmental stewardship, not exploitation.
Wayne in VA: The WFP is the only organization on the scene capable of advancing his agenda after the 2016 election.
One final observation Party leaders made came in the form of a Google map showing where each WFP voter lives in the US. The map shows support for Working Families coming from all corners of the nation. But the most dense concentrations of support are found around Seattle, Portland, Chicago, southern California, south Florida, and a massive stretch of coverage throughout the northeast’s New England states.
For more information, visit WorkingFamilies.org.
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