Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 4, 2013

Socialists and communists gave Albany party bosses their power


Niagara Gazette — Wilson-Pakula, however, is being defended by the unlikeliest band of liberals, conservatives, moderates and disenfranchised voters equally disgusted by the Democratic and Republican parties.

Supporters pose a scenario in which a wealthy candidate — for example, a conservative — could organize enough supporters to infiltrate a minor party of liberals and collect votes from liberals who assumed the candidate shared their values. The next step, supporters portend, would include Republicans and Democrats infiltrating the opposition party, resulting in two parties indistinguishable from each other or, worse, a de facto single party.

"We respectfully disagree with anyone who wants to change the Wilson-Pakula law," said Frank MacKay, chairman of the state Independence Party. "Without Wilson-Pakula, a wealthy candidate could override the philosophy of a party which he has nothing in common with."

On this, many liberals and conservatives agree.

"Hey, I don't like the Working Families Party," said state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long. "But they stand for a set of principles and enunciate a set of principles. ... We feel this is important for this nation. It would really end a philosophical bent to political parties in New York."

The liberal Working Families Party agrees.

"The governor's proposal will cause a tremendous amount of confusion and chaos among voters and is a direct attack on the rights of minor parties to be effective participants in New York politics," said Dan Cantor, executive director of the party.

"We know a lot of people vote on our line and we know a lot don't. But they've come to rely on our line meaning something," Cantor said. "The governor is trying to make ideas even less important in politics. And that's a bad thing."

The Green Party, another liberal force, calls efforts to repeal Wilson-Pakula an assault on the First Amendment and a move that would make well-funded candidates even more powerful. Cuomo has more than $20 million in his campaign fund and the Democratic line in a state dominated nearly 2-to-1 by Democratic voters. He has no need to run on a minor party line, but for his Republican opponent, additional lines will be essential.

"Cuomo and the Independent Democratic Conference aren't interested in preventing corruption," said Gloria Mattera, co-chairwoman of the Green Party. "They just want to further weaken political parties and make it easier for the candidates with the most money to buy elections."

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