(The following was originally published in Jacobin.)
Howie Hawkins’ campaign for governor is part of a renewed vision of electoral activism on the Left.
Fearing disenchantment among its progressive supporters, the union-backedWorking Families Party has worked around the clock to justify its most recent endorsement of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo has run on an anti-tax platform that places blame for the state’s woes on government employees.
Yet silver linings have been found. The most recent victory the WFP claimed was the governor making good on a promise to push five Democratic state senators back into the party caucus, reestablishing Democratic control of the upper house.
There are problems with gloating over this development. The move took the wind out of the sails of progressive primary challengers to these conservative Democrats, essentially winning a concession from Cuomo at the expense of people like former Comptroller John Liu. Beyond that, the new legislature isn’t an assurance of progressive taxation or ceasefire in the privatization of education. Even Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos bragged that the move wouldn’t make a difference.