Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voting for Obama as a Working Family

I'm sensitive to the fact that you don't want to do something which will increase the chances of a McCain win, like not vote for Barack Obama. But, voting for the Democratic Party -- the party that gave us NAFTA, gave the president the authority to invade Iraq, poured billions of dollars into the missle defense boondoggle, failed to act around climate change and has passed up or blown every chance to give us national universal health care -- just doesn't make any sense.

I know that at least two of those (pick 'em out!) sound like attacks on Hillary Clinton, but that's only because she's a creature of the Democratic Party.

This idea might have some legs. We don't have a parliamentary system, so regardless of whether you vote for Obama as a Democrat or as the Working Families candidate, you're voting for him. I'll let you make these decisions.

I'm passing on a letter from's Bob Fertik. I will say that I was for Bloomberg's undemocratic power grab. And I would have though would have copyrighted "Thanks for all you do," but I guess it's just a generic progressive activist vague statement of gratitude. Anyway, here's the letter.

Dear Activist,

When you vote for Barack Obama on Tuesday November 4, I hope you'll join me in voting for Obama on Row E - the Working Families Party.

Voting for Obama on Row E is exactly like voting for him on the Democratic Party line, only it lets you make a statement that you're a PROGRESSIVE Democrat who supports economic, social, and environmental justice. That's a message the politicians in Albany and Washington DC will hear and act upon.

Below is a letter from a few of New York's netroots leaders that I'm proud to endorse. I welcome your thoughts here:

Thanks for all you do!

Bob Fertik

Democrats are on the ascent, nationally and in states like ours, where the decades-old Republican stranglehold on Albany may finally be broken in less than one week.

If the Democrats are victorious, then the real battle will begin: how do we hold them accountable to progressive values against the enormous pressure they will face to play it safe?

It's going to be a big challenge, so we'll cut to chase: we need your help. New York needs your help. The single biggest thing we can do right now to boost progressive power in the Empire State is to strengthen our very own progressive third party - the Working Families Party.

As you may well know, they've led many of the big battles over the last ten years, from raising the minimum wage to putting paid family leave on the map, to fighting for affordable healthcare for all, public transportation, and most recently taking on Mayor Bloomberg's extremely undemocratic plan to extend term limits without a public vote.

The term limits fight deserves a close look. The WFP, with the help of bloggers and parts of the city's labor movement, was able to turn what would have been an overnight power grab into a very real - and only narrowly lost - fight. They did it by quickly assembling a grassroots coalition, online and in the streets, to put pressure on a City Council that had expected none.

The term limits battle is another reminder that voter anger is not enough - winning means having progressive institutions with the resources to respond when push comes to shove.

The fights of the future will be no different. The more strength the WFP has, the better our chances are of keeping Democrats from drifting rightward in 2009.

To do it, we need to get every progressive we can reach to vote for Barack Obama - and the Democratic candidates for Congress and the state legislature - on the Working Families ballot line.

That's where you come in. Thousands of Netroots activists in New York already vote on the Working Families line, but need a reminder. Many thousands more would find their happy home on "Row E" - if we let them know (repeatedly) about the opportunity.

They've set up a great website to do just that: Vote Change Like You Mean It.

Our task is to make sure enough people read what's there. Tell your friends, family, all your fellow New York progressives. Blog, Twitter - whatever your thing is, do it.

It's simple. Working Families votes not only let us "vote our progressive values," they carry an important implicit threat. The WFP and its allies online and off have a track record defeating incumbent Democrats through primary challenges when those Democrats let us down.

The more Working Families votes there are this November, the greater that threat becomes, and the more likely we are to win the big votes for affordable housing, campaign finance reform, a fair budget, and everything else next January and beyond.

On November 4th we have a chance not just to kick Republicans out of the White House and Albany, but to start making Democrats better from day one.

We hope you'll join us. Go to: -- tell your friends, fellow activists, and every New Yorker you know. The more votes, the more progressive power.

To contact the WFP about helping directly, email Dan Levitan at


Phil Anderson and Robert Harding, The Albany Project
Michael Bouldin, Daily Gotham
Justin Krebs, Political Organizer
Bob Fertik,

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