Does Fusion Voting Offer Americans a Way Out of the Partisan Morass?
Eli Lehrer, the president of the R Street Institute, a center-right think tank, said that fusion voting worked best when it encouraged cross-party coalitions. He pointed to New York and Connecticut, where candidates have courted support from fusion parties when they “want to send a signal that they are a different kind of candidate.”
In its heyday, the Liberal Party exerted its greatest influence on New York politics when it backed Republicans: It supported John Lindsay for mayor of New York in 1965, for instance, and Charles Goodell for senator in 1970. Each of those races, oddly enough, was a spirited three-way contest that included a Conservative Party candidate named Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr., the National Review editor, who lost the mayoral race in 1965, and his brother James L. Buckley, who caucused with Republicans after winning a Senate seat.
New York, Lehrer said, “was the home of Rockefeller Republicans for a reason, and one of those reasons was fusion voting.”