Writing for Huffington Post, Samantha Lachman reports:
“The Working Families Party endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, after an overwhelming majority of its members backed the progressive candidate. It is the first time the party has formally backed a candidate in a national election.
“Over 87 percent of Working Families Party members voted for Sanders, compared to 11.5 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 1.1 percent for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The final endorsement decision was based on both the membership vote and the votes of the group’s national advisory board. . . .
“The Working Families Party, which has chapters in 10 states, elected its first state legislator on its own party line in a Connecticut state Senate special election in February. It has also elected members to city council and school board seats. The party typically endorses Democrats when it doesn’t have a member in the race, but sometimes will threaten to challenge Democrats who stray too far from its progressive-populist agenda in primaries.
“The party’s chapters have seen issue advocacy success in pressuring Democrats to pass minimum wage and paid sick leave laws. It has emerged as a leading voice on the left, helping to elect Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (De Blasio endorsed Clinton in October.)
“The Sanders endorsement is significant because the Working Families Party’s fellow progressive groups–like MoveOn and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee–have so far held off on endorsing in the Democratic primary, even as most of the country’s major labor unions have already backed Clinton. . . .”
The Working Families Party’s website [http://workingfamilies.org/about-us/] includes the following description of the party:
What We Believe
We believe that our economy is out of whack when wages are stagnant and good jobs are harder and harder to come by, but the very wealthiest just get richer and richer. When college is getting more and more expensive, and retirement more and more insecure. When quality public education is only available for some, but not all, of our children. When as hard as we work, inequality in America is only getting worse.
We also believe the promise of our democracy has been broken when the views of a single wealthy donor can carry more weight that the needs of millions of hard working families. When a moneyed few can pull the strings in our democracy, they rewrite the rules of our economy to benefit them.
The wealthy few are making money by doing harm to working families, whether they’re outsourcing jobs, privatizing schools or poisoning the environment.
Working Families is a growing progressive political organization that fights for an economy that works for all of us, and a democracy in which every voice matters. We believe that our children’s life chances must not be determined at birth, and that America must be a nation that allows all its people to thrive.
What We Do
Working Families is building progressive power to renew the American Dream. Here’s what we do:
We run aggressive campaigns to raise standards for working families. Since our founding, we’ve won minimum wage increases and passed paid sick days laws in states and cities; fought off school privatization schemes; raised taxes on the rich to fund hospitals and schools; created tens of thousands of green jobs and passed the nation’s most innovative plans to tackle student debt.
We are electing the next generation of progressive leaders. Working Families recruits, trains and elects leaders who share our mission to local and state office in a growing number of cities and states. From small-town school boards to big city mayors, from county legislators to members of Congress, we’re sending Working Families Democrats to office to help build an economy that works for all of us.
We organize. We reach hundreds of thousands of people every month, knocking on their door, calling on the phone, or in your inbox, to give people the opportunity to take action. Our work doesn’t end on Election Day. After elections are over, we need to work just as hard to hold all our elected officials accountable to the needs of hard working families.
Who We Are
Working Families is powered by people who believe in a better future for working families. We were launched by a grassroots coalition of community organizations, union activists and progressive elected officials.
Today, hundreds of thousands of individuals are part of the Working Families community, along with a growing number of labor, community, environmental, netroots, youth and faith organizations. You can get involved in one of our state chapters in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon,Pennsylvania or in Washington, DC.