“The Long Game” – the struggle of a socialist party for signatures

Updated on March 25, 2021 at 9:17 p.m.

With enough ballot petition signatures in New York potentially out of reach, the city’s declared Socialist Workers Party candidates have said they will continue to focus on the New Jersey gubernatorial election where the ballot is more accessible. to third parties.

The party describes itself as a voice for the working class and celebrates the 1959 Cuban Revolution as a victory for workers and an example for other countries to follow. The party has also been a perennial player in local, state, and national politics, but often overlooked by voters. Its 2020 presidential candidate, Alyson Kennedy, received just 6,791 popular votes, second only to the United States Solidarity Party candidate, who received 35,261 votes. This time around, the party’s hopes in the city included Roger Calero for mayor, Willie Cotton for public advocate, and Sara Lobman for Manhattan borough president. They argue that increasingly onerous requirements for nominating third-party candidates is a concerning trend in several states across the country.

As a result, Calero argues, “there is no working class voice. There is no workers’ party. And that’s one of the main things we talked about: the need for a party of the working class. A Labor party independent of Democrats and Republicans. The rules are meant to keep it that way — to make it look like the only two choices you have are Democrats and Republicans.

Recent changes to New York State election laws have been criticized by third parties, including the Green Party of New York and the Libertarian Party of New York. Third parties filed a joint lawsuit last December to oppose a rider attached to the 2021 New York State budget that increased the number of votes for third parties to remain on the ballot – from 50,000 to 130,000 votes or 2% of the total votes, as the case may be. is bigger. Parties that do not maintain certification of votes cast are required to re-certify by petition. To the same extent, the commission raised the number of signatures required for parties to recertify from 15,000 to 45,000.

But bowing to the complications of collecting signatures during a pandemic, Governor Cuomo signed a bill in January temporarily reducing signature requirements by 70% for the 2021 election cycle.

Still, Cotton acknowledged that the Socialist Workers’ Party may not meet the requirement by the end-May deadline. The party’s candidates in New York began to focus their efforts on supporting the party’s candidates for governor and lieutenant governor of New Jersey, Joanne Kuniansky and Candace Wagner, respectively, who in mid-March had obtained more than half of the 800 signatures required to appear on the ballot in that state by the April 5 deadline. Candidates are also hoping for write-in votes in the New York election, although they are not officially on the ballot.

Cotton and Calero are both longtime members of the Socialist Workers Party, which has over 80 years of history in the United States. Cotton ran for New York State Comptroller in 2006 and lost with 14,745 votes, 0.4% of the total vote, to then-incumbent Alan Hevesi. In 2020, Cotton declared his candidacy for New York’s 9th congressional district, but was not officially included on the ballot. Calero ran for President of the United States in 2004 and 2008, United States Senate in 2006, and Bronx Borough President in 2013. Calero received a total of 3,689 and 7,209 votes during his presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

Their campaigns are unconventional. Neither Cotton nor Calero have a Twitter account, for example. Their campaign headquarters in New York is co-located with the newsroom of The activist, a socialist weekly for which Calero volunteers as editor. They hand out copies of the paper as they browse, rather than glossy brochures or bumper stickers. They do not target specific voters as they walk through the neighborhood. They said they were just as likely to approach households displaying Trump flags as they were to knock on the doors of Biden-Harris supporters. They admit their chances are not good, but say running for office presents an opportunity to deliver the party’s message.

It’s a long game, they said. “Our participation in the election is not a gimmick,” Calero said. “The most important thing is an independent workers’ party. This is what we need.

A previous version of this article stated that petition signatures were due March 25. Socialist Workers Party candidates in New York are demanding an independent nomination for which signatures are due May 25.

Comments are closed.