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View Diary: Working Families Party endorsement of Cuomo shows progressive political power (133 comments)

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    The WFP has a record of progressive accomplishment with limited resources in difficult terrain.

    'In 2003, the party deviated from its usual practice and ran community activist Letitia James only on the WFP line against an unqualified Democratic nominee for a Brooklyn City Council seat. James won with 72 percent of the vote, becoming the first strictly third-party candidate elected to the council in nearly 50 years.

    'The campaign that made the WFP’s reputation in New York state was its 2004 effort to elect a little-known lawyer named David Soares as Albany’s district attorney. Cantor conceived the campaign as a way to dismantle the so-called Rockefeller drug laws, which for decades had wreaked havoc in minority communities by imposing lengthy prison sentences on people apprehended with small amounts of drugs. Civil-rights groups had tried and failed repeatedly to get the law reformed or repealed. “Dan came up with the notion,” Master says, “that if we could win a D.A. race in which the candidate says the Rockefeller drug laws are terrible policy, it could break the legislative gridlock holding up their modification or repeal.”

    '“I didn’t understand their strategy initially,” Soares says. “They placed huge emphasis on educating the electorate on reforming the Rockefeller drug laws. Most people don’t understand how a D.A.’s race could be a force for change, but the party did a great job on messaging.” Cantor raised money from sentencing--reform advocates, Scharff turned out precinct walkers, and Lipton ran the campaign in perpetual overdrive. “After a day of knocking on doors in the rain, 30 volunteers and I come back to the campaign headquarters, wet and exhausted,” Soares says. “It’s nine o’clock. Lipton gets up on a desk to thank everybody and gets them to stuff envelopes for another two hours.”

    'Soares defeated Clyne by 25 percentage points. Six weeks later, the legislature pared back the Rockefeller laws, and when the Democrats captured the state senate four years after that, the laws were repealed altogether.'

    There's no such thing as a free market!

    by Albanius on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:30:58 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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