Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

History & Political Science

First Advisor

Marcella Myers

Abstract

This descriptive study seeks to answer the question: How does fusion function in the New York state electoral system, and how does that translate into the operations of the New York Legislature - such as, possible coalitions and the allegiances of candidates who are anomalies in the endorsement they receive? Fusion is when parties cross-endorse a candidate for political office with this support appearing on the general election ballot. Anomalies are defines as legislators who receive support from parties in addition to their own that do not occupy the same position in the left-right ideological continuum as their political registration. The research looks at the impact of fusion historically (the elections in 1934 and 1936 in New York) and more recent demographics (1998 to the present). While there have been some studies on fusion, more research is needed. This study tries to fill part of the void by looking at the elected officials and tracing their history with minor parties from elections to the legislature and seeing the policies where the legislators collaborate together on behalf of the minor parties. In short, the study finds that while minor parties do not appear to be well represented when we analyse party membership among legislators, these parties tend to find ways to overcome this shortcoming by strategically cross-endorsing members from both political parties. In the process, the parties can claim association with numerous senators and assembly members.

Subject Area

Legislative bodies--New York (State), Electoral coalitions--New York (State)

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