Working Families Party members are voting on whether to endorse Biden
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Wilmington, Del., July 28, 2020. Members of the Working Families Party are deciding whether to give their endorsement to Biden. | Andrew Harnik / AP

NEW YORK (PAI)—The thousands of members of the Working Families Party, the progressive pro-labor group that has backed and campaigned for state and local candidates from coast to coast, are voting on whether to do the same thing for Joe Biden.

The race is between Biden and neutrality in the presidential tilt, the party said in announcing the online voting, which runs through 11:59 pm August 10. Results will be reported August 13. Winning requires a majority vote. GOP President Donald Trump flunks even the party’s principles to be on the ballot, WFP says.

“An endorsement means the Working Families Party will work to elect Joe Biden and defeat Donald Trump in all swing states where the party has membership and capacity,” the party national committee said.

The popular vote will count for half of the decision. The other half will come from the party’s National Committee, which represents chapters and branches in Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York—especially New York City—Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The party has not posted membership numbers on its website. Nor have other political parties, including the Democrats and Republicans. But WFP’s Twitter feed has 55,200 followers. The party says it has hundreds of thousands of dues-paying members.

The party’s biggest influence so far has been in lobbying candidates to move to progressive positions on issues such as Medicare For All, the Green New Deal, and workers’ rights. It also has elected several officeholders, most notably Black social worker and community activist Kendra Brooks as a city councilor in Philadelphia.

If WFP gives Biden it’s nod, it will be a Johnny-come-lately. The former vice president has already clinched the Democratic presidential nomination. WFP’s first presidential pick, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., withdrew in March. It then switched to Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt., Biden’s last primary foe. He withdrew months later and enthusiastically backs Biden. So does Warren.

“While WFP often fields insurgent candidates inside Democratic primaries, and occasionally runs third party candidates in local races where there is a real path to victory, it would be dangerous to back a candidate with no path to win in the general election in this presidential contest. Therefore, in launching this process, the WFP National Committee is putting forward the following question: ‘Should WFP endorse Joe Biden?’” the committee’s statement said.

The question then becomes, the committee said, is whether Biden fulfills the WFP’s values: “In order to build the world we need, we have to dismantle racism and sexism and we need to build an economy that puts people and the planet ahead of profit.”

“It is immoral that some of the richest people on Earth—and political insiders who serve them—have grabbed up so much wealth and power for themselves, while seeking to divide and distract working people from what we have in common,” the statement adds.

“We must transform the United States into a nation that works for the many, not just the few. In transforming the United States, we can start to transform the world into a world run by, and in service of, the people and the thriving of the planet.”


CONTRIBUTOR

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Press Associates Union News Service provides national coverage of news affecting workers, including activism, politics, economics, legislation in Congress and actions by the White House, federal agencies and the courts that affect working people. Mark Gruenberg is Editor in chief and owner of Press Associates Union News Service, Washington, D.C.

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