Friday, November 05, 2010

A Green Roundup

Some countries have Green parties that participate in elections and hold legislative seats; they are accepted both in the process and in government.

In the United States, Greens have continued difficulty participating in the process, in large part because our country still views itself as a two-party country only. Electoral laws are in place that preserve this duopoly by setting the bar much higher for independents and "third parties." Such candidates are also routinely excluded from candidate debates, even though the candidates often make a big impression when they are allowed in.

Despite these challenges, Green candidates were elected to local offices in Arkansas, California (unsurprisingly), Florida, Maine, and Oregon. In other races, Green candidates did well enough to establish or maintain ballot status. This happened in Texas, New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, and D.C.

Once again, Rich Whitney did very well in a race for Illinois Governor, earning nearly 100,000 votes and some high-profile endorsements during the campaign. Illinois Greens also ran a strong candidate for their state legislature, among others. The Illinois Green Party gives one hope: they seem to understand the need for good, serious candidates, and are slowly gaining ground in a system that is stacked against anybody but Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, the vote was not high enough to maintain ballot status, and besides being shunned at the debates (despite being a recognized state party on the ballot), there were reports of irregularities with electronic voting, with voters under the impression machines had flipped their Green votes to the Democratic candidate. Investigations, lawsuits, oy.

Richmond, California re-elected its Green mayor, Gayle McLaughlin, after a tough campaign. YES! magazine has an interesting story that features some work she has done locally, promoting food sovereignty and a sense of community.

No grand thesis here. I have been registered as an independent (or "decline to state") for quite some time now, but I continue to watch the Green Party and enjoy the best of its candidates. They have, for quite a while, been holding local office all over the United States. It would be good for us to let this party participate in elections and debates.

Aren't these Democrats and Republicans always talking about the virtue of competition?

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I saw quite a few Green Party candidates on my ballot. Often, though, their only opponent was a Democrat.