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Which Democrat Will Pass the Working Families Test?

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Reprinted from The Nation

The Working Families Party is asking all of its members to decide whom to back for president.

Clinton, Sanders, O'Malley
Clinton, Sanders, O'Malley
(Image by President Donald J. Trump)
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Every candidate for president says she or he supports working families.

That's a question that will be answered this week by the Working Families Party, in an endorsement process that is designed to put political power in the hands of working men and women across the United States.

The Working Families Party does politics differently. It is not a typical or traditional party, though it sometimes has elected candidates on its own ballot line. It usually works with the Democrats, though it is often and appropriately critical of Democrats who fail to abide by the economic principles of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president who warned that "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."

The WFP is, at once, idealistic and practical. It seeks electoral success, as does any political party; but the measure of that success is not merely made on Election Day. The party endeavors to make elections matter by fighting for a specific program of economic reforms: a living wage, paid sick leave, full funding of public education and public services, progressive taxation that demands the wealthy pay their fair share. It also practices solidarity with trade unions, with immigrant-rights groups, with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and with climate-justice campaigners. The point of WFP politics is to transform individual cities, states, and, ultimately, the nation -- with an eye toward advancing economic and social justice, sustainability, and democracy.

Sometimes the WFP works closely with Democratic allies such as New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio; sometimes it works along the left flank of the Democratic Party; sometimes it works independently. But it always works toward the goal of establishing "an economy that works for all of us, and a democracy in which every voice matters."

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