Third Party & Independents Archives

Things You Don't Hear About The Green Party

Oftentimes when the Green Party is mentioned in the press, it is mentioned as a spoiler. We have all heard the arguments by Democratic pundits such as James Carville, complaining that the Greens cost them this election or that election. We hear that the Green Party is a party of idealists, who are unelectable. But mostly we hear the Green Party spoken in the same sentence as Ralph Nader.

It is time for us to get some things straight. First, it is important to note, that Ralph Nader is no longer affiliated with the party, in any form. While the Green Party is mainly seen by the average citizen during presidential election's, that is not a representative forum for the party. In recent presidential election's the Green Party has yet to win a state, and oftentimes that leaves the public believing that there is no hope for the party, and that to vote for any third party is a waste of a vote.

When one looks outside of the forum that is the presidential elections, a different view of the Green Party becomes apparent. Logically, this follows the history of the American political system. Our system allows the two major parties, who control Congress and the legislatures of the states, to bring harsh ballot requirements upon third parties. Thus in the presidential elections, where unlike the two major parties, third parties do not have access to all 50 states and must collect signatures and jump through the hoops set up to keep them off of the ballot. This creates the image of the Green Party and other third parties that many Americans hold, that they are unelectable and thus not worth a vote. However this logic of voting for the presidential elections is indeed not vaild when speaking of local elections.

While it may not be told in the mainstream press, the Green Party is in fact our nations fastest growing political party. Only appoximately 20 years old and at the height of its short life. In 2006 the Green Party plans to run over five hundred campaigns in forty states (1). At this point 266 Greens have declared their candidacy, doubling the number of candidates that declared by this date last year (1). Furthermore currently the Green Party has 229 office holders, although with few getting media attention this brings a false perception among the public that the Green Party is unelectable (1). In fact the Green Party is far from being unelectable, with a win rate of 52 percent so far this year (1). Don't believe the hype that you often hear from the two major parties, vote with your wishes and not their wishes.

1. Brent McMillan, Political Director for the Green Party of the United States

Posted by Richard Rhodes at May 13, 2006 11:51 AM
Comments
Comment #147914

But is the Green Party worth voting for?
Most folks (including me) don’t really know what it stands for. And having a complete idiot like Nader associated with it doesn’t help.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 13, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #147920

What is the green party platform? I thought it was just 1 issue, that being environmental issues.
What is the green parties position on public financing of elections?

Posted by: j2t2 at May 13, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #147925

In response to your comments I will write a post concerning the Green Party platform within the next week.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 13, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #147955

The central tenant of the Green Party is restructuring politics in America to more community and local government based action, less corporate money and federal control. Beyond that, most greens follow the ten key values:

(from the Green Party website)
Grassroots Democracy

Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives; no one should be subject to the will of another. Therefore we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations that expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.

Ecological Wisdom

Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society that utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must have agricultural practices that replenish the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.

Social Justice and Equal Opportunity

All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and heterosexism, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.

Nonviolence

It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to our current patterns of violence at all levels, from the family and the streets, to nations and the world. We will work to demilitarize our society and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote nonviolent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

Decentralization

Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system that is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.

Community Based Economics

We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living, for all people, while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a “living wage” which reflects the real value of a person’s work. Local communities must look to economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights, broad citizen participation in planning, and enhancement of our “quality of life”. We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that spread out resources and control to more people through democratic participation.

Feminism

We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control, with more cooperative ways of interacting which respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the -sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.

Respect for Diversity

We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines. We believe the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms and the preservation of biodiversity.

Personal and Global responsibility

We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.

Future Focus and Sustainability

Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counter-balance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions. Our overall goal is not merely to survive, but to share lives that are truly worth living. We believe the quality of our individual lives is enriched by the quality of all of our lives. We encourage everyone to see the dignity and intrinsic worth in all of life, and to take the time to understand and appreciate themselves, their community and the magnificent beauty of this world.

Beyond that, you can see the national party’s official platform here but what is important about that platform is that no member of the green party has to tow any of those lines if they don’t believe in them. I’m personally more of a Jeffersonian Libertarian (in practice, in theory I’m a utilitarian, I don’t believe rights exist ostensibly, they are a social construction, but a good one) than I am a socialist, and I find I fit in well with the Green Party. There are socialists and others in the organization as well, the point is more to change the nature of how politics is looked at, to make it about issues and individuals, to make local politics the most important politics, and to give power back to the state and local governments.

Posted by: iandanger at May 13, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #147961

Our corespondent Ron Brown is misinformed. Ralph Nader is not a complete idiot, not even half an idiot. He is actually extremely intelligent.

Ralph is perhaps the greatest reformer this country has ever seen, surely the greatest reformer of the twentieth century, rivalled only by upton sinclair perhaps, and it is possible Mister Brown would not be alive today if Ralph Nader had not worked on things like auto safety, the clean water act, the clean air act, food labelling. medicine testing, mercury and lead poisoning, pollution, workplace, highway and dam safety, to name a few.

hc

Posted by: Hank Chapot at May 13, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #147970

Party platforms are great, but the key question is how well do members of the Green Party actually follow those tenets. Ideologically I am considered a pretty stauch Democrat in most regards philosophically. However, I can’t think of a single major “Democrat” who actually pays more than lip service to most of the ideas they profess to believe in. Same pretty much goes for the Republicans. Like the Freemasons in the 1820s the “Big Two” are out of control, corrupted, and compromised, and not until they are forced from the confortable ensconcements of power will there be any impetus or possibility for refoms.

Posted by: Don at May 13, 2006 5:27 PM
Comment #148024

Don,

The biggest thing that gives me hope about the green party is the type of people we run for office. Take the two campaigns I am volunteering for this summer:
1. Ed Boyd. Ed is running for governor, he is a retired national guardsman and works for an employment company, makes about what I do a year, and I wait tables while going to college. Ed is amazing and while he isn’t going to win, he is going to grow the party here in Maryland.

2. Kevin Zeese. Kevin is running as a Green and a Libertarian (although the MD state legislature has done their best to screw his campaign up, democrats will do some UNdemocratic things to keep their power), and he is a lawyer and has been an advocate for change on drug laws. He’s been an activist his entire life and has never lost his ideals. Again, amazing guy.

The green party really prides itself on being accessible to everyone, we don’t prejudice about how much money you make or if you fit some image to capture a demographic. Maybe it will keep us from winning in the short term, but I think as people get more jaded they will start looking for something that inspires them close to home.

Posted by: iandanger at May 13, 2006 11:39 PM
Comment #148046

iandanger, what continues to amaze me is the parochial view of the Green and Libertarian parties regarding politics. Independents, Greens and Libertarians have a set of identical obstacles to reaching leadership roles in government. Yet, whenever I or anyone suggests to a Green or Libertarian that their common ground should unite them with independents creating a voting block of all Greens, Libertarians and Independents to unseat Republocrats, we get this deer in the headlights look and response or violent knee jerk reactions about how different their platforms are.

Is the goal to differentiate 3rd party platforms thus remaining divided and unwinnable, or should not the goal be to focus on common ground and obstacles and unite as a coalition, unseating Republocrats in federal office cooperatively and smashing down entrance barriers to third parties which Republocrats maintain?

It seems to me your party’s leadership can’t see the winning strategy for their individual 3rd party differences. This year, I would vote for a Green, a Libertarian, or an Independent for no other reason than I want to unseat the Republocrats who have corrupted our political system and our governance to the point that they create more problems than they solve for the American people.

Unite! Create a 3rd party coalition in which each of your 3rd parties advocate that vote for the other 3rd parties is a vote for your own. Tell your people to vote for your party’s candidate, but, if you party’s candidate isn’t running in a particular district, tell your people to vote for one of the other 3rd party or independent candidates.

With enough 3rd party and independent wins in federal races, the 3rd party representatives could vote to eliminate the obstacles to third party candidates, end preferential treatment for Republocrats, and move common ground agendas like eliminating deficit spending, reducing federal reach to allow more local determination and governance, and promoting a common defense foreign policy and ending our foriegn offense Republocrat policy.

These and more have the Libertarian, Green, and Independents in common. Why for reason’s sake, do they continue to allow their platform differences divide them, preventing their cooperation for common goals and purpose? The power lies in the numbers and a coalition approach would literally triple and quadruple your numbers for your candidates.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 14, 2006 6:23 AM
Comment #148085

Remer, the Greens do work with the Libertarians on specific issues, such as trying to push IRV.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 14, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #148086

David Remer, made this comment:
“Unite! Create a 3rd party coalition in which each of your 3rd parties advocate that vote for the other 3rd parties is a vote for your own. Tell your people to vote for your party’s candidate, but, if you party’s candidate isn’t running in a particular district, tell your people to vote for one of the other 3rd party or independent candidates.”

Remer, although we do work with the Libertarians on specific issues, such as IRV (as I stated above) a overall coalition would be unacceptable for so many reasons. On the Green side we could not accept the anti-regulatory wing of the Libertarians, also many Libertarians want to completely abolish Social Security (which is even worse than creating private accounts). The differences on many issues are just too far, on many issues the Libertarians are far right of the Republicans, that would not be an acceptable coalition to many Green voters.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 14, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #148091

Richard, but what you don’t grasp is that by NOT advocating your membership to vote for other 3rd party candidates in races where you don’t have your own, you ARE advocating they vote for a Republican or Democrat by default if you encourage them to vote at all. So, what’s the difference? A vote for 3rd party candidates favors your cause in the long run. A vote for Republocrats only serves to strengthen the Republocrat barriers to 3rd parties.

Getting you folks to see common ground over differences, as I have said, is like pulling teeth. You all are cutting off your noses to spite your face.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 14, 2006 1:32 PM
Comment #148096

David,

Here in Texas the Greens DO help support other independents and 3rd parties. I am on the Steering Committee for the Kinky for Governor campaign and we have had a couple of events at places run and supported by Green Party members. They even suggested that we have both petitions, ours and theirs, at the events. While they have their views and we have ours, we have found common ground, 2 being bio-diesel fuel and ballot access.

Many, many people I know here are voting Kinky for governor, Green and Libertarian next and anti-incumbent 3rd.

Also, in Kinky’s campaign we ARE seeing a coalition being built. I am a liberal gay man and am working along side very conservative people. We do not argue over our personal beliefs, we merely work toward our common goal.

Kinky turned in over 169,000 signatures and Carole Strayhorn turned in over 223,000. This in a ballot access drive that only required 45,000 signatures each. Everywhere we went we ran into Strayhorn petitioners and were very polite and helpful to each other—-we even sent those who wanted to sign the other’s petition to each other. As a matter of fact, I was chatting with one of them when a woman came up and said, “What are y’all talking to each other for, you are running against each other.” My answer, “This is the future of Texas politics if we win—-cooperation.” She liked the idea.

Posted by: Moksha at May 14, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #148117

Moksha, that is a very encouraging account of what is happening in my own state. Thank you.

One correction, voting for Strayhorn or Kinky is an anti-incumbent vote. There will be far more anti-incumbent votes in Texas than for either Strayhorn or Kinky, since anti-incumbent votes include those for Strayhorn and Friedman.

Now, if we can get your Green Brethren throughout the rest of the country to see the wisdom of what you all are doing in Texas, the status quo in government might actually give way to real change, real solutions to real problems which outnumber the new problems Congress creates.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 14, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #148119

Richard said: “The differences on many issues are just too far,”

The distance from here to the moon was just too far once, too! Learn to set your differences aside WHILE you acquire seats in Congress. The time for differences is after you have your own representatives seated in D.C. Not before.

It is possible to maintain your differences and even focus on them for locally competitive city, county and state races. But for D.C. Congress, which is where you all, and we all want you to get to, you simply must educate your constituents to the overarching value of focusing on coalition and Republocrat defeat, paving the way for your party’s respective candidates. Failing that, federal office will remain an unfulfilled dream for third parties save the occasional fluke like running against Republocrat who dies 2 weeks before election leaving your candidate as the only one.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 14, 2006 4:48 PM
Comment #148155

Notice, I am working with the Kevin Zeese campaign, hes been nominated by the libertarians by a large margin, and is expected to be nominated by the greens, because he’s been a green his whole life.

Unfortunately in response the Maryland General Assembly passed a law blocking someone from having more than one ballot line, which means that he has to be listed EITHER as a green OR a libertarian on the ballot, he can’t get both. This was emergency legislation passed a few weeks ago, and it ONLY effects the Zeese campaign.

So, we are trying, but the two parties have become such institutions that they will do just about anything to keep their power.

Posted by: iandanger at May 14, 2006 8:23 PM
Comment #148180

iandanger
Thanks for your post on the Green Party. Do you have their web address?
Some of the things you mentioned sound good on the surface. But some sound like just more of the same old liberal lines that they’ve been spouting for years. And none of their ideas have worked yet.
But I’d like to research it a little more before making a final judgement on the party.
Another party I know a little more about but not enough to make a judgement on is the Libertarian. I reckon I need to research them a little more to.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 14, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #148209

www.gp.org is the official site for the national party, but each state has its own party. I personally prefer dealing with the Maryland and Baltimore greens than the national party, so I’d recomend talking to your local party (should be a link to your states party from the national page) about where they stand on issues. There are many things on the national level I tend to disagree with, but there is more that I agree with than not.

My problem with the libertarians (and i love them dearly) is that their sollutions tend to be so revolutionary that they aren’t remotely practical, such as my friend Rich’s explanation that the sollution to high medical costs was removing regulation on qualifications for doctors, and allowing the market to sort out the good from the bad. People would prioritize price vs quality and would naturally create the best treatment for their circumstances.

Yeah, great on paper, but does anyone realistically want to let just anyone practice medicine?

So, I think there are elements of good and bad in both parties, what I really like about the green party is that it is so open, ideologically you don’t have to be a hard liner to fit in.

Posted by: iandanger at May 14, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #148245

The Greens are Nice - don’t get me wrong…

Unfortunately, a vote for Green is a vote for a Republican.

Because - as it stands now - the fact is that a vote for a Green takes away a Vote for a Democrat, and - as it stands now - the only thing standing between Your Rights and a Republican is a Democrat.

If anyone thinks voting for the Lesser Of Two Evils is wrong, just wait until the Greater Evil gets the Power. There is nothing even remotely dishonourable about voting for the Lesser Of Two Evils!

I’m not a big fan of Party Machines. But when faced with Nazis, I’ll vote “Churchill” ten times out of ten…

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 15, 2006 6:06 AM
Comment #148280

Some Democrats perpetuate the belief that Republicans are Nazis.

Some Republicans perpetuate the belief that Democrats are the problem and have no ideas.

But, the fact is, too many voters are seduced into that petty partisan warfare, while most incumbent politicians are selling out the voters to:

  • for the politicians’ own self-gain,

  • securing the politicians’ cu$hy incumbency,

  • corporations (corporatism, corpocrisy),

  • illegal aliens (cheap labor),

  • foreign competitors,

  • and brainwashed voters that prefer to wallow in partisan warfare.

Too many irresponsible incumbent politicians (cheaters) of all parties are 51% of the problem.
Slumbering voters that keep re-electing them are 49% of the problem.

That minor differences between parties is not the problem.

The problem with both voters and incumbent politicians is the failure to adequately account for one basic human trait:

When inadequately accounted for, it breeds lies, corruption, greed, apathy, complacency, dependency, ignorance, partiscan warfare, fiscal and moral bankruptcy.

And, if one party gains the majority for a while, it is only temporary, as both main parties merely take turns as gettin’ theirs, and securing their own incumbency, and votin’ themselves raises and cu$hy perk$.

Only when the pain and misery of those failures will finally become severe enough that voters may eventually do something about it, using the one simple thing that is right under their very own noses, to peacefully oust irresponsible incumbents; the one simple, common-sense, responsible thing they were supposed to be doing all along. Unfortunately, it’s usually long overdue, and sadly, the resulting pain and misery is unnecessary. We don’t seem able to snap out of the cycle ( abundance & peace, to apathy & complacency, to dependency & irresponsibility, to pain, misery & oppression, to courage and reform, and back to abundance & peace).

So, vote for Greens, Libertarians, etc.
There is no definitive proof that a vote for them is a vote against only a Democrat or only agasint a Republican. Those that vote Democratic and Republican are almost even over the decades. What does that tell you? Is what we are doin’ workin?

So, don’t believe those that tell you that you are wasting your vote by voting for a third party or independent candidate.

Don’t believe those that try to shame you and accuse you of voting for a Republican by voting for an third party or independent candidate.

If enough people reject those manipulations, a third party or independent could win any election. It has happened before, and it can happen again.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 15, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #148402

Betty,

Your arguement that a Green vote is equal to a Reubliclone vote is part of the old-time party lie. It serves to get those of us who lean liberal to vote for the Democraps out of fear of the others. However, after 30 years’ effort in the gay Rights Movement I can no longer agree with that analysis. For 30 years the Democraps have told the gay community, “Give us your votes, give us your money and be quiet…it is not time yet.” Has this led to more equality for gays and lesbians? NO. It has led to the leader of the world being taken seriously when he suggests using the Constitution to limit Americans’ rights…specifically equal access to licensing, a marriage license.

NO LONGER WILL YOUR ARGUEMENT WORK!!!! We now see it as the other side of the problem — a limited 2 party system similar in popular access limitation to the 1 party in communist nations.

Posted by: moksha at May 15, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #148408

From my piece: Why I am Green, John Kerry, Part 2 of an ongoing series. Moksha I couldnt agree with you more did you know this?

“In dealing with the initiatives seeking to ban gay marriage which appeared on eleven states ballots in 2004, Kerry again did not stand up for progressive values. Kerry never openly opposed or endorsed any of these initiatives; however his many statements regarding marriage as only between a man and a woman could be seen as an implicit endorsement (6). In fact it is interesting to note that Clinton advised Kerry to endorse these hateful ballot initiatives (7). Showing their complete hostility toward progressive values many Democrats across the country came out in favor of these initiatives, in Montana one hundred percent of Democrats running for statewide office endorsed the ban (8).”

Yes that is right every single Democrat running for statewide office in Montana came out in favor of the endorsement to ban gay marriage. Let’s repeat that: Yes that is right every single Democrat running for statewide office in Montana came out in favor of the endorsement to ban gay marriage.

Now Democrats, feel free to try to explain that to me.
Citations:
6.Thomas Harrison, “The 2004 Elections and the Collapse of the Left,” New Politics 10 (2) (38) (Winter, 2005).
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 15, 2006 7:09 PM
Comment #148502

Moksha:

I’m quite certain that You and I agree on the vast majority of all of our Political Beliefs.

However, if voting for Third Parties on the Left occurs without equivalent Third Party Voting on the Right, then all you have done is handed the Fascist Party another victory.

And they can (and will) do a LOT more Damage to the cause of Gay Equity than the slowly-changing but open-minded Democrats ever would.

In fact, what you are bitching about isn’t Damage - such as the Republicans cause - at all. What you are complaining about is that the Democrats aren’t moving Forward fast enough to suit you.

As opposed to the crypto-Nazis, who are intent upon Moving Backwards.

Only a fool would choose to enable their Sworn Enemy merely because their Friend hadn’t Helped them Quickly Enough to suit their tastes…

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 15, 2006 10:25 PM
Comment #148534

Betty explain to me what happened in Montana, please.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 15, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #148536

Moreover I’d like to state that what happened in Montana, so few people know about because Democrats made sure it was kept under the bridge. If you knew about what happened with Dems in Montana before I posted that story and comments, please tell me and if you first heard it hear please tell me that too.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 16, 2006 12:01 AM
Comment #148696

We are talking about a *National Election*. Ralph Nader (Presidential Candidate) was mentioned (*5 Times*) - please don’t try to change the Subject.

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 16, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #148960

Betty,

“In fact, what you are bitching about isn’t Damage - such as the Republicans cause - at all. What you are complaining about is that the Democrats aren’t moving Forward fast enough to suit you”

I have heard this one from the Dems for 30 years also. While it certainly makes sense, all I cab respond is with a cliche:

“Silence is complicity”

Posted by: Moksha at May 17, 2006 1:34 PM
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