Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cuomo Gets 58% Of The Vote At Working Families Convention, But Booed And Jeered At Every Turn

First, there should be no surprise that the Working Families Party endorsed the "Charter School Lobbyist," one Andrew M. Cuomo, for governor.

WFP receives an awful lot of funding from the unions and the union heads had made it perfectly clear in the past few weeks that Andrew M. Cuomo was going to get the WFP ballot line or they were going to stop giving money to the Working Families Party.

Governor Cuomo helped in this effort by having his thugs tell people behind the scenes that if WFP did not give him their ballot line, he would do his best to destroy the party.

So the fix was in before the voting even started and the likelihood was that Cuomo would get the WFP ballot line no matter what the activists at the convention thought, said or wanted.

In the end, party leaders and the union heads whipped up more than enough votes to get Cuomo his WFP ballot line (and more importantly, no third party candidate on the WFP line running at him from the left.)

And yet, in securing that line, Cuomo was booed every chance the crowd got (or more accurately, his video image and voice were booed, since he didn't have the guts to show up at the convention itself to receive the ballot nod.)

Here are some of the tweets from reporters and observers on the scene last night:

Cuomo's opponent at the WFP convention got a different reception:

It wasn't that interesting after the two candidates spoke (though only one actually showed up at the convention) and the crowd registered their reactions to the speeches and the candidates.

The moneyed people pulled enough strings to easily secure Andrew M. Cuomo his ballot line - he got 58% of the vote at the WFP convention.

But he also got a story about how much the people at the WFP convention - not the moneyed class, not the union leaders, but the people - don't like him at all.

Here's how the NY Times wrote up the night's events:

ALBANY — Defusing a tense and potentially campaign-changing challenge from the left, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo secured the endorsement of the Working Families Party on Saturday night, easing the popular Democrat’s path as he runs for re-election and solidifying his broader political prospects.

After weeks of negotiations and last-minute tribulations, Mr. Cuomo was able to mend rifts created by some of his centrist policies and ease the concerns of Working Families, a small but influential group of labor unions and liberal activists. In doing so, the governor — a savvy politician with rumored presidential ambitions — simplified a re-election campaign in which he hopes to win by a large, message-sending margin.

But the fight over the endorsement also appeared to be a rare moment of conciliation and political peril for Mr. Cuomo, whose administration has been noted for its canny — and sometimes cudgel-like — approach to governance, winning deals with little worry about making enemies.
There was no doubt that the Working Families rank and file were angry.

Mr. Cuomo has made a series of legislative agreements, with the help of Republicans, that have alienated many on the left, including tax cuts for corporations and reduced pension benefits for newly hired state employees. Activists have also been disappointed by the governor’s unfulfilled promises to revamp campaign finance laws and bolster women’s rights, as well as a decision this year to dismantle a high-profile anti-corruption panel with little notice.

The governor’s name was loudly booed several times during Saturday night’s meeting of party members, even as a potential challenger for Working Families’s endorsement — Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham law professor — was loudly cheered during her speech.

 And here's Capital NY:

COLONIE—Governor Andrew Cuomo clinched the nomination of the Working Families Party late Saturday, capturing 58 percent of the state committee's weighted vote after promising to campaign for a Democrat-controlled state Senate that would carry forward the party's progressive platform.

The vote followed a raucous, nearly four-hour nominating convention, during which party leaders fought openly, at times bitterly, over whether or not to rebuff Cuomo in favor of Zephyr Teachout. The Fordham professor and former campaign aide to Howard Dean was encouraged by activist groups even as labor leaders coalesced around Cuomo. She took 41 percent of the vote and said she would consider challenging Cuomo in a Democratic primary.

Many W.F.P. priorities have stalled in the state Senate, which is currently controlled by a governing coalition made up of Republicans and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference.

“To make this agenda a reality we must change the senate leadership,” Cuomo told the members in a pre-taped video message, which was initially drowned out by boos and jeers from the crowd. Cuomo said that under the terms of the deal, the I.D.C. “must agree to return to the Democratic party, or face our unified opposition.”


But anti-Cuomo speakers drew the loud, sustained applause and cheers from the committee members, who set out a litany of complaints about Cuomo's educational, economic and environmental policies.
“We gave him four years and we said then, never again,” said Bertha Lewis, the former leader of ACORN, as she placed Teachout's name into nomination.

“There ain’t nothing that was said here about the Senate or minimum wage or schools, not one iota of it depends on someone else other than us fighting for it,” Lewis said.

Phil Rumore, head of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, urged members not to believe the promises included in the endorsement deal.

“This party is supposed to be a party of principle. It always has been. I’d implore you to remember the roots of why this party was formed," he said.

“If you believe that this governor who just in the last day decided he’s going to work against the Democrats, if you believe that this governor is going to really start to work to have a really clean fair elections bill, if you believe any of the things that you heard there today, if you believe all of what he said, I’ve got a bridge for you in Brooklyn that I’m going to sell you real cheap,” he said, to raucous laughter.

And Politics on the Hudson:

A vocal portion of the party has been critical of Cuomo’s fiscal policies, including a recent cut in corporate taxes. But Cuomo had the support of many of the 48,000-member party’s leaders, including several unions representing private workers like the Communications Workers of America.

The split, however, was apparent during the convention. When Cuomo was nominated, polite applause was drowned out in the hotel ballroom by a 20-second chorus of boos and hisses.

“The decision that we’re making tonight is one of the most complex and challenging we’ve ever faced,” said party co-chair Bob Master, a Cuomo supporter and political director of the Communications Workers of America’s Northeast chapter. “I’m not going to make any bones about it.”

As Master listed Cuomo’s accomplishments—passage of same-sex marriage and gun-control laws among them—some members of the crowd heckled him. “He cut AIDS funding,” one yelled. “Tax breaks for the rich!”

When Cuomo addressed the crowd via video, about a dozen people stood with their back to the video screen in silent protest. When he began speaking, they booed, briefly drowning out his voice.

In the end, Cuomo got what he wanted - the WFP ballot line and no WFP candidate running at him from the left.

But securing the ballot line came at a cost - for both Cuomo and the WFP.

The disdain many on the left have for Cuomo was crystallized in tweet form at last night's WFP convention and don't think potential 2016 or 2020 Democratic presidential primary opponents didn't notice.

Cuomo's chances of winning the White House have always been slim-to-none, as he inhabits a center-right wing of the Democratic Party that doesn't do so well in presidential primaries these days (think Joe Lieberman.)

And they most certainly were not helped by last night's jeers, heckles, boos and catcalls throughout his video speech and speaker phone call.

But more concerning to me was the damage done to WFP.

If it wasn't clear before these events that WFP is a front for the union leaderships, it ought to be now.

As Blake Zeff noted in his tweet which I embedded above, the energy and enthusiasm at the WFP convention were on Teachout's side, but in the end, Cuomo easily secured the ballot line.

That's because the WFP is controlled by the union leaders who do not care one whit what the WFP rank-and-file think, say or want.

In that, the WFP rank-and-file are just like many union rank-and-file members who find that their union leaders pursue their own agendas, regardless of what the members think, say or want, and often one that is at odds to the interests of the union's members.

The WFP was exposed last night as a sham party, one that is controlled by the union heads and one that will act as expediently as any other party to deliver the votes to the corporatist candidates.

The same might be said of the politicians who pushed for Cuomo's nomination, including "progressive" Bill de Blasio.

So there was much fun to be had at the convention last night, with the booing and jeering and heckling, but when it was all said and done, the outcome was rigged by the moneyed interests within the party and the corporatist politician named Andrew M. Cuomo got what he wanted and needed - no third party candidate running from his left this November on the WFP line.

As I wrote sometime earlier, it is clearly now TIME TO GO GREEN.


  1. I am actually strongly considering registering as a member of The Green Party. I have always been a independent but I have voted Green in 85% of the elections I could vote in. The Democrats are the same as the Republicans and WFP are just Dems Lite. I will certainly be campaigning for the Hawkins/Jones line and it is time I officially declared my allegiance by registering with the party.

  2. So now what should our union do? What will be the repurcusions if we refuse to endorse Cuomo and he wins? I hate the thought that he might win but look at what happened with WFP last night? They boo him, they jeer him yet they still vote for him.


    1. Our union already endorsed him, just now. And I'm relatively certain that they plan to endorse him again in November.

  3. The best thing that can happen to WFP is to not receive 50,000 votes and to be disbanded. What a fraud! To nominate a reptile,
    a paid servant of Wall Street hedge fundies, is the ultimate sellout of actual working families!

  4. Boycott WFP, as we now see the true colors beneath the facade.
    Vote GREEN!

    Let's do all we can to support Howie Hawkins!

  5. Those who turned their back to Cuomo when he addressed the WFP should have also loosened their belt and dropped their trouser/skirts. Maybe then people would have got the message that no one wants to be sold out--we now have a TEApublican (Astroman), a Republican Lite (Cuomo), and a Green in the race. Teachout would have provided a anti-corruption, pro worker, 99% choice. Howie Hawkins has messaged much better this time and appears to have the resources necessary to get out to regions of the state...the choice is clear--reject whatever Mulgrew, Randi, and Magee say and help the Hawk fly!

  6. The UFT has not yet endorsed Cuomo. So, how does Mulgrew go out and push Cuomo on the WFP without the backing of his the UFT delegates? Is this ground for Mulgrew's "impeachment" from the UFT presidency?

  7. Time to organize teach-ins to build grass roots support for Teachout!