Recentering America

David Sirota, PLAN's Co-Chair, turns a friendly eye toward fusion voting today in his column in the San Francisco Chronicle. As he highlights, fusion voting, also known as cross-endorsing, has allowed New York's Working Families Party to become a major player in state politics, one of the reasons their fair share health care legislation may become a reality while most third party ideas have taken decades to reach legislative relevance -- if they ever do. How precisely does fusion work? The idea is simple. Once a candidate has secured a place on the ballot, they may seek the nomination of minor parties. In New York, those minor parties that specialize in fusion include the Working Families Party, the Liberal Party, and the Conservative Party. In a close contest, the cross-endorsement of one of these parties that can bring its members on board could make a world of difference for a candidate. And for a set of ideas, making sure that candidates get a loud and clear message that voters who share one set of values put the election in the bag means that Americans can be more assured that their elected officials will represent them. New York's Working Families Party focuses on kitchen-table economic issues: fair wages, a better health care system, and an end to unfair trade policies. But nothing would stop other cross-endorsement parties from forming. We might see Conservation Parties arise, with an eye toward preserving open spaces, wilderness, and access to public lands, all issues that often cut across America's partisan divide.