Inspired by a discussion on the National Popular Vote Plan, Hendrik Hertzberg recently wrote a blog post about third parties in New York state and the state’s practice of fusion, in which more than one party can endorse one candidate. Tied in with the history is Hertzberg’s personal history, as his father was a key official in the Liberal Party during the 1950s. You can read the full piece here, and an excerpt below.
Nowadays I sometimes vote for Democratic candidates on the ballot line of the Working Families Party, which rose to fill the spot the Liberals once occupied. The WFP helps keep the Democrats from wandering off into Lieberman-land. That’s the theory, anyhow, and so far it also appears to be the practice.
The New York system—Two Parties Plus, you might call it—is a distant cousin of instant-runoff voting, which, if you’ve read this far, you probably know I’m a big fan of. Opinions differ about whether 2P+ (get it?) is a Good Thing or a Bad one. From the left, Huffpo’s Dan Collins opts for Bad, arguing that “the whole cross-endorsement system is an invitation to corruption.” From the (sane) right, Harry Siegel and Fred Siegel of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal don’t like it, either; in their view, its effect is mainly to leave the city at the mercy of Bloombergian billionnaires on the one hand and public-employee unions (which provide the WFP’s muscle) on the other.