It wasn't an easy decision, clearly. 41 percent of WFP delegates voted against Cuomo. But the party's activist wing was trumped by its labor backers, afraid of running afoul of Cuomo for the next four years. And the party's inability to recruit a top-flight challenger made that decision that much easier.
And that's the WFP's biggest failure. With polling showing them tied with Republicans for second place, they had a historic opportunity to replace Republicans as the second major party in New York, and with that, premier ballot line positioning and seats on county boards of election. And heck, their generic candidate wasn't too far behind Cuomo (only 14-15 points). A WFP governor was a long shot at best, but within the realm of possibilities. Instead of embracing this chance to become a major power broker, they recruited a joke of a potential candidate, one that would threaten their 50,000-vote threshold needed for continued ballot access. Capitulation was pretty much their best option.
But it's not all bad. Cuomo has carefully crafted his Wall Street-friendly image by building a bulwark against genuine progressivism in his state. He seems to think this will help him with the Third Way corporatist crowd when running for president. (No one tell him the primary electorate has changed since 1992.) Yet despite cultivating an image of inevitability, the polling was clear: the state's liberal base had abandoned him. In polling, half of Democrats were abandoning him for an unnamed WFP candidate. He's got some weird desperate need for a crushing electoral victory (probably thinks it'll catapult him to the White House), and that was all slipping away.
So despite the WFP's failure in candidate recruitment, Cuomo went crawling to them, begging for love. He promised them the world, including a $10-million fund to retake the state Senate, legislative work toward a state DREAM Act and a minimum wage increase (something Cuomo prevented New York City and other local municipalities from doing, and apparently still opposes).
Will Cuomo come through on this stuff? I wouldn't bet on it. It's Cuomo, after all. But given a choice, he would've promised none of this. He's been happy with GOP control of the Senate, and now he's verbally committed to changing that. He's been forced to publicly repudiate his cherished bullshit "bipartisanship" persona.
Is that worth surrendering their ballot line to a governor who is anathema to much of the Working Families Party agenda? In a perfect world, not even close. But given the lack of an alternative, credible candidate, it's amazing that they got anything at all.