MoveOn.org Pummels Cuomo, Promotes Working Families Party

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images) Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org eviscerated Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an e-mail sent to New York supporters this weekend–while simultaneously urging them to vote for him on the labor-backed Working Families Party Line.

The email–entitled “New York: Not your typical nail-biter”–opens by declaring Mr. Cuomo will almost certainly coast to victory, but warns that the future of the left-leaning Working Families Party is not so clear. The message recalls how the WFP reluctantly decided at its convention to endorse the governor for a second time over Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout, and echoes concern that Mr. Cuomo’s new Women’s Equality Party is a ploy to deprive the WFP of the 50,000 votes necessary to maintain its line on the ballot.

“And how does Gov. Cuomo thank the WFP? By trying to destroy it,” Mr. Sheyman writes. “This summer, Gov. Cuomo founded a new party, just one letter off from the WFP—the WEP. It stands for the Women’s Equality Party, and you might have seen its TV commercials by now. But it’s not a party at all—it’s just a cynical attempt to knock out a huge piece of the progressive infrastructure by stealing votes away from the WFP.”

Mr. Sheyman credits the WFP with persuading Mr. Cuomo and the legislature to renew the state’s “millionaires tax” and with stage managing the ascendance of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus. She then argues that only the WFP can successfully push the governor leftward.

“For the past four years, the Working Families Party has been able to pull the often conservative-leaning Gov. Cuomo to sometimes act like a progressive,” the e-mail reads. “Let’s get real: Gov. Cuomo isn’t a reliable progressive. But he can be moved, like any politician, with enough grassroots pressure. And it’s the Working Families Party that has been able to apply that pressure. And because of that, Gov. Cuomo seems to want to see the party vanish.”

It wraps up by reiterating the inevitability of a Cuomo victory, and encouraging voters to vote for Mr. Cuomo on the WFP line to keep the third party alive.

“It is virtually certain that Gov. Cuomo will be re-elected. The practical question that we face is this: Do we want to have a strong progressive movement around to keep the pressure on Gov. Cuomo, or do we want to let Gov. Cuomo destroy a key piece of it?” Mr. Sheyman writes, “If the choice is between those two futures, it should be a clear one. That’s why I hope you’ll join me and MoveOn members across New York State in voting for Gov. Cuomo on the WFP ballot line on Tuesday.”

The email from MoveOn.org is the latest in a wave of electronic entreaties from politicians, politicos and other liberal leaders to help prevent the WFP from being superseded by the WEP and Howie Hawkins’ Green Party.

MoveOn.org formed in 1998 in response to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. It quasi-endorsed Ms. Teachout against Mr. Cuomo in the Democratic primary in September.

Read the entire text of the group’s message below:

Dear New York MoveOn member,
Let’s get this out of the way: The election for Governor of New York on Tuesday won’t be a nail-biter.

Governor Cuomo is far ahead in the polls and appears certain to win. But one thing is still up in the air—and it could very well decide the entire progressive agenda in Albany for the next four years.

That’s the fate of the Working Families Party, one of New York’s most effective progressive political groups.

The WFP will vanish unless 50,000 voters cast their votes on the Working Families Party ballot line for Gov. Cuomo—and MoveOn members can be the ones to push it over the top.

Will you join me in voting on the Working Families Party ballot line in order to make sure that Governor Cuomo is forced to compromise with progressives, instead of just with Republicans?

For the past four years, the Working Families Party has been able to pull the often conservative-leaning Gov. Cuomo to sometimes act like a progressive. In his first year in office, the WFP successfully pressured Gov. Cuomo to abandon billions of dollars in tax cuts for the rich.

This summer, in exchange for the WFP endorsement, Gov. Cuomo agreed to break off his alliance with the State Senate Republicans, and start supporting Democrats. Along with that, he pledged to support a raft of progressive priorities, including a big minimum wage increase, public financing of elections, and the Women’s Equality Act.

And how does Gov. Cuomo thank the WFP? By trying to destroy it.

This summer, Gov. Cuomo founded a new party, just one letter off from the WFP—the WEP. It stands for the Women’s Equality Party, and you might have seen its TV commercials by now. But it’s not a party at all—it’s just a cynical attempt to knock out a huge piece of the progressive infrastructure by stealing votes away from the WFP.

The attack on the WFP is coming because Gov. Cuomo doesn’t want WFP forcing his hand anymore. That’s all the proof I need that the WFP is an effective, and necessary, part of New York politics.

Click here to see an image of the ballot and pledge to vote on the Working Families Party ballot line.

Earlier this year, the Working Families Party recruited Zephyr Teachout to challenge Governor Cuomo, but after his concessions to the party, the WFP wound up endorsing Gov. Cuomo.

Some progressives celebrated the concessions from Gov. Cuomo. Others were upset the party didn’t back Zephyr Teachout. But that’s in the past. What’s clear today is that for progressive voters, the best vote is for the WFP.

Let’s get real: Gov. Cuomo isn’t a reliable progressive. But he can be moved, like any politician, with enough grassroots pressure. And it’s the Working Families Party that has been able to apply that pressure. And because of that, Gov. Cuomo seems to want to see the party vanish.

We can’t let that happen. WFP has been at the forefront of many of the biggest progressive wins in New York, from the Millionaires Tax to the election of the Progressive Caucus in the New York City Council to paid sick days and much more.

It is virtually certain that Gov. Cuomo will be re-elected. The practical question that we face is this: Do we want to have a strong progressive movement around to keep the pressure on Gov. Cuomo, or do we want to let Gov. Cuomo destroy a key piece of it?

If the choice is between those two futures, it should be a clear one. That’s why I hope you’ll join me and MoveOn members across New York State in voting for Gov. Cuomo on the WFP ballot line on Tuesday.

Click here to pledge your vote for the Working Families Party.

Thanks for all you do.

–Ilya, Brian, Stephen, Aiyi’nah, and the rest of the team

This story originally and incorrectly identified Mr. Sheyman as a female.

MoveOn.org Pummels Cuomo, Promotes Working Families Party