Earn Your Line - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1787170

Earn Your Line

What do the Conservative Party and Working Families Party have in common? Not an awful lot. Actually, the two platforms are quite different, and mostly incompatible. The Working Families Party platform promotes a number of progressive policies and agendas that run counter to Conservative ideology.

So why are former Conservatives switching party affiliation and now looking to run on the Working Families Party line [“In Fight For Ballot Space, Southampton Democrats Launch Clean Water Party,” May 25]? The answer has nothing to do with supporting the Working Families Party platform and everything to do with grabbing a line on a ballot. At a glance that may seem benign. After all, it’s only 200 votes or so, right?

It’s not benign. It confuses voters who assume that the candidate associated with a given line actually believes in a certain set of ideals and policies. It compromises the intended goal of fusion voting, which was designed to give voters alternative choices to the major parties. Conservatives had their alternative line, and progressive voters had theirs in the Working Families Party line.

The Working Families Party screened and selected candidates. Here in Southampton Town, they selected Adam Grossman and Shari Oster for town justice, Tom Neely for highway superintendent, and Robin Long and Tommy John Schiavoni for Town Council. These candidates are now being challenged for the Working Families Party line by a small group of people who are putting line accumulation above the wishes of a minor party and the integrity of process.

The quest for public office is not easy. Every vote should be earned by message, hard work and connecting with people. A name next to a line should have meaning. A candidate should be proud of that connection and look at it as an obligation to promote policies that voters supported when voting for her or him on any given line.

Whose line is it anyway? The Working Families Party selected Adam Grossman, Shari Oster, Tom Neely, Robin Long and Tommy John Schiavoni. Working Families Party members should support them in the June 22 primary.

Craig Catalanotto