Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dear Greens: We Don't HAVE To Run For President

The two-party duopoly is as powerful as ever, keeping America safe from meaningful change in its politics and assuring us we need not choose anything different than the familiar brand of politician, since they have done so well for us.

The Green Party is not polluting the news with a contentious primary race of its own; but we are having a nominating convention in July, and I suppose a Green candidate for president will be named. Ralph Nader has dropped word of his interest in running yet again.

Interestingly, Ralph has never consented to be a member of the Green Party, despite looking to us to support his campaigns over and over. Ralph may view us, like much of America, as a catch-all liberal-left party, an alternative to the Democrats, without a distinct platform and identity of its own. If Ralph wants to be the Green candidate, can we put him up on a stage and ask him some questions about the Green Party? Simple challenge: can he name the Ten Key values?

My wish is that the Green Party preserve its identity and stick to its values and mission, and work on expanding the number of local offices it has while running, perhaps, a candidate or two for the Congress. Establishing a Green in the United States Congress would be a much better beachhead for us than running a presidential candidate and having the quadrennial fight about spoilers and access to debates. Whether we succeed in that or not, the campaign allows us to talk to people about the Green Party and register new members without getting people all in a pother about the presidential contest. We could even bring up the "spoiler" issue ourselves in these conversations and educate people about the necessity of Instant Runoff Voting.

By and large, the Greens don't want to hear that.

Here is my plea, then, since the Green Party is moving forward with plans to vet presidential candidates in Chicago next summer:

If we are going to expend resources and energy putting up a presidential campaign - and there are good reasons not to do that - we don't need Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney (yes, her name came up in 2003). We don't need a celebrity candidate and won't necessarily be served well by them.

Let us promote a candidate who is a mature person, who has learned a trade and does it well, who values the land and small places; who trusts democracy, who isn't afraid to use the language of patriotism in promoting the ten key values of the Green Party; someone the press will have a difficult time portraying as a nutball; someone sensible, likeable, and brave.

1 comment:

SystemsThinker said...

Algernon,

Thank you for voicing something I've been trying to get across for years. Greens and other third parties need to band together and make IRV their #1 issue (perhaps along with campaign finance reform). To be totally honest, there is almost no point in running at this point beyond pressuring the major parties AND calling for IRV at the same time. Neither or just one of those two is not enough.

The Green Party may as well for the time being become the IRV party and spend all their energy on that issue. And Nader has been a very poor example of this, as I discuss in my post at Instant Runoff Voting Excluded: An Unreasonable Omission from An Unreasonable Man.