When you see the rose below on Twitter, it indicates an individual is a member of, or identifies closely with, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).


Since the 2016 presidential election, the DSA's membership has soared to more than 5,000 members in New York and growing, often using social media as an organizing tool.

"I think DSA's role in politics here is that DSA has the volunteers to knock on the thousands of doors that are needed to win a state Senate race, or a DA's race in Queens," said Cea Weaver of the Democratic Socialists of America. "The DSA really has the manpower to get out into the communities and make sure that everyone is spoken to."

And the DSA has had success: from the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to the victories in the state legislature last year over more conservative incumbents, and most recently in the Queens district attorney race between insurgent Tiffany Cabán and establishment candidate Melinda Katz. While that race is currently in a recount, the fact that it's even this close is a triumph for the left-leaning DSA.

It is filling a role that was once mainly occupied by the Working Families Party, or WFP.

"What you've seen in the past several cycles is that WFP hasn't launched a big ship or claimed a big scalp in quite some time," Democratic strategist Jon Reinish said. "So what they are doing is looking for a new partner, a group on the upswing."

The once potent WFP lost much of its union backing and funding last year, giving rise to the more advocate-driven DSA.

"Some of the unions left. Certainly the [Andrew] Cuomo election was a do-or-die moment. Some of them had left before that, some of them left after that," political consultant Chris Coffey said. "But you know what? They've still been really successful. If you look in Queens, they certainly played a role in the Tiffany Cabán race."

WFP is working closely with DSA in races now, although the two groups have no plans to officially merge.

"The labor movement has always been critically important to progressive and socialist victories in New York state, and I think will continue to be," Weaver said. "What we are seeing now is groups like the DSA working alongside groups like the WFP to pull the conversation leftward."

In many ways, the WFP and the DSA complement each other, with the DSA brining sheer numbers of people and new energy, while the WFP offers insight into how to actually organize and win elections. It's perhaps an inevitable and natural fit between the two of them.


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