NEW YORK — A New York union leader said Thursday he will lead an effort to oppose Donald Trump in the 2018 election, joining forces with fellow Democrats who have long called for Democrats to back a progressive presidential candidate in 2020.
The New York Federation of Labor announced the formation of the Democratic Progressive Party on Thursday, with Thomas McNamara, a veteran union leader who has been a top critic of Trump, as its president and vice chair, joining fellow Democrats Tom Harkin and Kirsten Gillibrand.
The party, which has no political affiliation, is the latest in a series of labor unions to support progressive presidential candidates, including former President Barack Obama in 2008 and Bernie Sanders in 2016.
The Democratic Progressive party is not a political party.
We don’t endorse candidates.
We just want to say, this is what it means to be a Democrat,” McNamara said in a statement announcing the formation.”
I don’t want to be the Democratic nominee for president.
But if I can help my fellow Democrats understand the values and priorities that they and millions of other Americans share, then I will.
“The Democratic Party is a diverse and inclusive party, and I hope that the new Democratic Party will reflect the diversity and inclusion that I believe the Democratic Party should represent.”
Democratic Progressive Party spokesman Ryan Lattin confirmed McNamara’s affiliation.
The group, which was founded by McNamara and other union leaders, has no plans to formally endorse any candidate in 2018.
But he said the party will be focused on working to elect progressive candidates in the 2020 election.
“The New Yorkers who elected Bernie Sanders, they deserve to be heard,” he said.
“But I think what’s important is that we all come together as a party, a coalition, to help elect Democrats and get the Democratic agenda to pass.”
The party will not officially endorse any candidates, and its members will work with other labor unions on their campaign, he said, noting that they will be seeking out candidates who are willing to work with them.
“We’re not endorsing any candidates in this race, and we are looking for candidates who will be willing to have conversations with us about the Democratic platform and who can build on the momentum that we’ve already built,” Lattina said.
The group has also said it is committed to fighting back against Trump in 2020 and said it will work to support Democratic presidential candidates who back the party’s platform and fight for more progressive policies.
Democratic Progressive party spokeswoman Matt Breen said the group is not trying to make a direct endorsement of any candidate.
“But it is working to make sure that all of our candidates are running with our platform and values,” he told CNN.
“Our goal is to win in 2020,” he added.
The union has long been a leading voice against the Republican agenda and has worked to elect Democratic governors, senators and members of Congress.
It has also worked to bring about progressive legislation to make it easier for unions to bargain for better working conditions and pay.