…article and excerpt:https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/working-families-party/422949/
The Pugnacious, Relentless Progressive Party That Wants to Remake America
The Working Families Party has pushed the political debate to the left in the states where it’s already active. Now—in the era of Occupy and Bernie Sanders—it’s ready to take that fight nationwide.
by Molly Ball
…The Working Families Party’s agenda—frankly redistributionist and devoted to social equality—targets a class of Democratic elected officials who, in the view of many liberals, seem to listen more to their moneyed donors than to the left-wing rank and file. Aggressive, tactical, and dedicated to winning, the WFP would like to force Democrats—and the country—to become more liberal by mobilizing the party base, changing the terms of the debate, and taking out centrist incumbents in primaries.
If there’s ever been a moment for this, it is now. Four years after Occupy Wall Street, with the socialist Bernie Sanders pushing Hillary Clinton leftward in the Democratic presidential primaries, liberal frustration with national politics has reached a boiling point. Enter the WFP: Since its founding nearly two decades ago, it’s become an influential fixture of Democratic politics in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Now, the party is going national. By mid-2016, the WFP plans to be in 11 states, with more on the horizon. Last month, the WFP endorsed Sanders after an online vote of its national membership. They may not yet be a household name, but a few years from now, they aim to be a national force.
…Without the WFP, de Blasio, who may be the most powerful progressive in the country, would not likely be mayor. The party’s Chicago partner helped to force Mayor Rahm Emanuel into Chicago’s first-ever mayoral runoff as he sought reelection last year. It played a key role in increasing the number of blacks on the six-member Ferguson, Missouri, city council from one to three in the wake of that city’s police-brutality protests. WFP-supported candidates have defeated incumbent Democrats in legislative primaries in Connecticut, New York, and Oregon, and party-supported candidates serve on city councils from Hartford to Chicago. The party has been instrumental in pushing issues such as government-mandated paid sick leave and a $15 minimum wage to the forefront of the national Democratic agenda.
As dinner wound down, the group traded war stories about disloyal Democrats and local fights. Charly Carter, the director of Maryland Working Families, complained that some elected officials seemed to lose the fire in the belly once they took office.
“It can be a real letdown,” Carter said. “We are at war. And when you’re at war, you don’t need statesmen—you need gladiators. We elect them to be gladiators, and once they get there they want to be statesmen.” Her tablemates nodded in sympathy. The implication was clear: Their mission was to ensure that Democrats couldn’t get away with selling out their base.