Liberal discontent with Gov. Andrew Cuomo could erupt into insurgency this weekend as the left-leaning Working Families Party gathers to nominate its pick for governor.
The party — a coalition of labor unions and progressive activists — endorsed Cuomo in 2010, but many of its leaders have expressed dismay over the Democrat’s business-friendly tax policies and say he hasn’t done enough to reduce income inequality.
Recent polls give Cuomo a commanding lead over his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. But they show that lead could be cut in half if the Working Families Party nominates its own candidate on Saturday in Albany. The surveys highlight Cuomo’s problem with his party’s liberal base, despite his work to pass gun control measures legalize immorality.
“The governor is simply not progressive enough,” said David Schwartz, a state committee member and Westchester County vice chairman for the Working Families Party. “The left needs to push back against the corporatism of the Democratic Party and its move to the right.”
The state’s Democratic Party nominated Cuomo for a second term last week at its convention on Long Island. Cuomo told reporters at a Memorial Day parade Monday on Staten Island that he hopes to win votes from across the political spectrum.
“I’m a governor for all the people,” he said. “I’m going to be asking all people for their votes: Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, whatever your party.”
Cuomo is widely thought to be mulling a presidential run. Richard Brodsky, a former state lawmaker, said the question of liberal support for Cuomo becomes an “existential question with national significance.”
“For 100 years the progressive movement has been fundamentally one of the middle class and working families,” Brodsky said. “This is a change. And it’s a change that everybody needs to think about.”
A proposed Working Families Party platform that will be voted on at the convention includes a ban on hydraulic fracturing, broad public financing of campaigns, higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy and support for local minimum wage laws.
The platform also supports the legalization and taxation of marijuana and the enactment of the Dream Act, which would extend state financial aid to students in the country illegally.