In many respects, the Working Families Party (WFP) in Connecticut is a far less successful state version of the current Tea Party Movement—party-fracturing, vote-siphoning, and extreme-view-holding group that any candidate embraces at his or her own peril.
Democratic candidate and front-runner for governor Dan Malloy has done just about everything right in both the primary, whipping the millionaire-with-no-experience Ned Lamont and the general election so far, contrasting his views and record with millionaire-with-no-experience Tom Foley. Malloy has been successful in part for a very simple reason: His views and positions on the most important issues of the day are in line the average voter’s.
But Malloy is treading into risky territory accepting the endorsement of the WFP which has a spot on the ballot in November. The WFP claims to support middle class values including job creation, health care and quality schools. But in fact, it is at odds with the average Connecticut working family when it demonizes business development and has no problem with huge tax increases as long as their members aren’t paying them.
Malloy has been successful bringing new companies to Stamford and keeping taxes down for everyone. Having a graduated income tax and supporting the concept that those who have more should contribute makes sense to the average voter only when it’s not taken to the extreme.
Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy seized the endorsement as an opportunity to equate Malloy with the WFP’s agenda. Healy, always an effective party chairman even if wrong on issues, will use the endorsement to try to show Malloy is falling over to the left—which he is not. Malloy would do well to continue to remind voters of that.
At the end of the day, Malloy is accepting a second spot on the ballot and hoping independents and some moderate Democrats tired of increased taxes, will still go his way.