Reader Anne writes to recommend an article about the Working Families Party's GOTV efforts.  The WFP has decided to target "blanks" or unaffiliated voters in three Northeast Congressional districts, including the 29th.  WFP internal polls show that these voters are receptive to the WFP's progressive message, which includes universal health care and opposition to free trade.

New York is one of the few states where candidates run on multiple party lines.  Eric Massa is running on the Working Families Party line as well as the Democratic line. 

I'm skeptical that unaffiliated voters, who have shown that they're not committed to the center-left Democrats, will be more receptive to the farther left message of WFP.  But GOTV is GOTV, and Massa can use anything he can get.  The downside of the WFP effort is that it is all direct mail in the 29th.  Direct mail is less effective than the canvassing and phone banks that WFP will use to support candidates in two other districts.


I personally think it very sad that concern for living wage jobs and health care is considered left wing. The Reps have done an excellent job convincing us to vote against our best interests. Universal health care is the only way we will stay competitive - it will level the playing field. And given how much the economy depends on consumer spending, living wage jobs that allow people to spend without increasing their already staggering debt load can only help. It is incredibly short-sighted to consign these concerns to a radical fringe.

Most people don't buy the WFP line because they bet that they'll do better than average. They think that they'll be one of the lucky ones who will get good health care. They think they'll be able to get a job that has more than a living wage. It's part of the innate optimism of Americans, and the ability to harness that optimism is why the Republicans win elections and the WFP is the fringe.

I think good jobs and good health care have broad support. That's particularly true in union households that don't always vote Democratic because of social issues, and explains why increasing the minimum wage is so popular.

From the WFP's phone calling this year, about 11% of the people we talk to say they're voting Republican (these are swing and independent voters, remember). And the WFP experience in providing the margin of victory to Tim Bishop in 2002 and to Brian Higgins in 2004 shows these voters can be won over to our side by a focus on kitchen table issues like good jobs and good health care.

I agree that independents and swing voters are going to swing D (or WFP) this election.

I don't think health care and the minimum wage are what will swing them. I think they're disgusted with the war and corruption, and want a change. However, WFP is smart to put resources into this campaign, because when people are disgusted and want a change, they're receptive to new messages, and WFP will probably change some minds this cycle.

So, good luck to you and WFP, Steve. I think the more alternatives for voters, the better.