Until the Protest Party has candidates and a demand, we will be identifying candidates from across the nation who champion anti-corruption policies, especially candidates whose opponents are particularly corrupt. Typically, these will be candidates from minor parties, because the insidious nature of the corruption of the Democratic and Republican parties makes it impossible to associate oneself with either party without being complicit with this corruption. However, in extreme cases, a major party candidate may be so much more attractive on corruption issues than their opponent that we feel compelled to endorse them.
Today, New Yorkers are choosing between one Gubernatorial candidate whose corruption is so brazen that it has attracted a Federal investigation, and another candidate whose platform centers around cleaning up state politics. I'm speaking, of course, of incumbent Andrew Cuomo and his challenger Zephyr Teachout. I delayed this endorsement in part because I would not typically endorse casting a ballot in the Democratic Primary at all, for it can be interpreted as support for the party in general. However, the media narrative around Teachout's anti-corruption stance has grown to a point where a vote for her will resonate more as a rebuke to the corruption of the Democratic Party than as staunch support for the Democratic Party with just some minor policy disagreement. As the New York Times editorial board explained when they declined to endorse Cuomo, "those who want to register their disappointment with Mr. Cuomo’s record on changing the culture of Albany may well decide that the best way to do that is to vote for Ms. Teachout...that impulse could send a powerful message to the governor and the many other entrenched incumbents in Albany that a shake-up is overdue." While the Times did not consider their own argument to be a compelling enough reason to endorse Teachout outright, the Protest Party does. Vote Teachout. (Today! September 9.)
Meanwhile, the Times did endorse Teachout's running mate, Tim Wu, over Cuomo's, Kathy Hochul, and the Protest Party follows suit. Like Teachout, Wu has the potential to be a passionate voice for combating corruption. Considering the relatively weak corrupting force of the powerless office of Lieutenant Governor, the inventor of the term "net neutrality" seems somewhat less likely than previous Democrats to abandon his ideology once in office. Wielding an endorsement from the Times, Wu also stands a much better chance than his running mate of actually winning this election. While his willingness to run as a Democrat concerns us, the benefits here outweigh the risks in our view. Vote Wu! (Today, Sept 9.)
While we are excited to have candidates like Teachout and Wu to endorse in the Democratic Primary, this endorsement should not be interpreted to extend to the general election, should Wu or Teachout win their primaries. That endorsement is more likely to go to a minor party candidate.