Vote totals are in for the Working Class Party. It’s not a spectacular vote, but it shows that a part of the working class responded to the main axis of our campaign: that the working class needs its own party.
Mary Anne Hering, candidate for State Board of Education, had 224,392 votes statewide, the highest of any minor party candidate for a state-wide position. Mary Anne’s votes gave her 2.66% of the vote. (Because her votes came in a contest where voters could vote for two candidates, her percentage was not as high as that of the Libertarian Party candidate for president, Gary Johnson.)
Her votes enable our new party to keep ballot status for future elections. (Her total was almost 14 times the requirement of 16,491.)
Gary Walkowicz, candidate for U.S. Congress, Michigan District 12, had 9,183 votes, with 3.81% of the vote in Wayne County’s part of the district, and 1.21% in Washtenaw County.
Sam Johnson, candidate for U.S. Congress, District 13, which covers part of Detroit and part of Wayne County, had 8,835 votes, or 3.43% of the vote.
The largest number of our votes came from the big working class cities in the state. But Mary Anne had even higher percentages in some semi-rural districts: with more than 4% in Ontonagon, Arenac, Iosco and Lake counties.
Finally, with 38 counties not yet reporting the straight party ticket vote, 15,257 people voted directly for the Working Class Party, a new party that had never been on the ballot before. That includes in a number of counties where we were not able to campaign, and the only information of our campaign may have been in an interview heard on Michigan’s public radio system or an article picked up by small local papers or even simply in the name itself.
These results mean that a part of the working class – even if a small one – is conscious of their own class interests and of the urgent necessity to create a party of their own.
The absence of a working class party helped open the road for a racist and misogynist demagogue like Trump to pretend to be a "populist," to tap the anger of at least part of the working class, and to carry out a campaign that can only be divisive and dangerous for working people everywhere.
The lack of a working class party is the major issue of our day, the one that the organizers of the Working Class Party set out to address.
We know that a real party will be built only through the struggles of the working class to defend itself and impose its answers to the problems of society. But some of those thousands who voted for Working Class Party today can be the impetus for struggles tomorrow.
The work done to put the party on the ballot and let it be heard was important, but it was only a start. The work continues.