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government | political theory selection 2004

Growing the Green Party

David Cobb is the Green Party Presidential Candidate and this article shows how The Green Party is growing—getting bigger, stronger and better-organized in every election cycle. Even after the infamous 2000 presidential election, when the media and Democrats blamed us for Bush's selection and ignored the blatantly illegal and biased behavior of Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris and a Republican Supreme Court majority, our numbers have grown.
Here's a story that you won't see in the corporate media: The Green Party is growing—getting bigger, stronger and better-organized in every election cycle. Even after the infamous 2000 presidential election, when the media and Democrats blamed us for Bush's selection and ignored the blatantly illegal and biased behavior of Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris and a Republican Supreme Court majority, our numbers have grown.

In 1996, the Green Party was organized in 10 states, guaranteed a ballot line in just five and had elected 40 officeholders. Today, we have parties organized in 44 states, 23 with guaranteed ballot access, and hundreds of Greens elected to public office, including the mayors of Santa Monica, California, and New Paltz, New York, and the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. And, for the first time in our party's history, we have two registered Greens as our presidential and vice presidential candidates, myself and Patricia LaMarche, respectively.

The goals of the Cobb-LaMarche campaign are to present a genuine, progressive alternative, grow the Green Party and have this year's election culminate with the removal of the White House's illegitimate occupant.

We are speaking truth to power in this campaign. We are the only party calling for decisive action on catastrophic global climate change and our addiction to fossil fuels, a living wage, universal healthcare under a national insurance plan, real steps toward racial equality, an end to the so-called USA Patriot Act, and the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

We are also confronting the "spoiler" issue head on. When this question is raised, it provides us with an opportunity to talk about reforming a flawed electoral system. There isn't a spoiler problem. The problem is an antiquated, anti-democratic electoral system that forces people to vote for a candidate they really don't support in order to keep an even worse candidate out of office. We deserve a more democratic and more efficient electoral system, representing the diversity of people and opinions in our country.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is one solution. IRV allows people to rank candidates in order of preference so that if your first-choice candidate doesn't win enough votes to make it into a runoff, your second choice vote is automatically considered. IRV is used to elect officeholders in Australia, Ireland and London and is soon to be implemented in San Francisco. (Learn more about IRV, proportional representation and other reforms to ensure fair elections on the Web site for the Center for Voting & Democracy at  http://www.fairvote.org.)

Third parties have played a critical role throughout American history. In their heyday, third parties elected mayors, governors and members of Congress. In fact, the entire social fabric of our society was woven from ideas that originated within third parties: the abolition of slavery, women's right to vote, Social Security, the 40-hour work week and the direct election of U.S. senators, to name just a few.

What we are trying to accomplish through our work with the Green Party is greater than any one campaign or any one election. We are in this for the long haul. One of the key steps to growing our party and eliminating a dangerous global threat is ensuring the removal of George W. Bush from office. Bush is a huge problem. But he is not the problem. The problem is a corporate-military-industrial-prison-judicial system that is destroying the planet. We need to address the larger problem, but we also need to remove the most immediate threat to global peace—and that means getting Bush out of office.

I am in no way suggesting that anyone vote for John Kerry. Kerry is a corporatist and a militarist who supported the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the passage of the Patriot Act. He also opposes real universal health care and a living wage. However, although the differences between Bush and Kerry may be incremental, they are not inconsequential.

In 40 or so states the Electoral College votes have, for all intents and purposes, already been cast. For example, Massachusetts, California and New York will go to the Democrats; Utah, Wyoming and Texas to the Republicans. In these states, where our message is "Don't waste your vote," a vote for the Green Party is a powerful tool. In the battleground states that will decide the election, we understand if you won't vote for our ticket this time. That's OK. A vote is a powerful and personal decision. You can register Green and support us in every other way possible, especially with votes for state and local Green candidates and contributions of your time and money.

With the strategy we have articulated, we will grow the Green Party, provide voters with a genuine alternative and make the world a safer and saner place to live.

homepage: homepage: http://www.votecobb.org

The "safe states" approach is a sell out to the corporate Dems approach 20.Jul.2004 14:13

Votenader 04

So if he isn't playing to win, if he doesn't even want us to vote for him in all fifty states, if he endorses Kerry by proxy, then he isn't serious.Either you are against the war or you aren't. We have been trying to move the Dems for years to no avail.I will be voting for Nader and will come out of the booth with head held high.

I'm voting for Cobb 20.Jul.2004 16:41

Brian Setzler

I'll come out of the booth with my head high as well. I guess it is easy to be a purist with no realistic strategic goals.

David Cobb and Patricia LaMarche consistently critique and challenge the two-party duopoly. Like many strategic games, sometimes it is better to hold back and conserve resources for a more opportune time to attack, battle or move forward. Neither Cobb nor Nader will be President come January so what are we working for?

David Cobb and Patricia LaMarche are working to build the Green Party. They are working to increase ballot access and to help other Greens win office. We now have 208 elected office holders and many have made the news with radical proposals and actions like allowing immigrant parents to vote in elections and marrying gay partners.

At the end of Nader's campaign, what will exist?

At the end of the Cobb campaign, we hope GW Bu$h is sent packing and that the Green Party has more elected reps, has grown in numbers and ballot access lines. That may not be good enough for you Nader Voter '04, but it makes sense to me.

Vote Cobb / LaMarche. Vote Green. Vote Green in local elections. Join the party. Fuck the Democrats and the Republicans for being corporate pigs!

Rediculus? 20.Jul.2004 17:03

Green Thinking Cap

Green Party needs to go local to get national.

Cobb & Safe States = Nothing Party 20.Jul.2004 17:30

Green and Not For Cobb

Any party that gets on it's knees for occupation will not grow.

Oh, I mean, any party except the DEMOCRAPS.

Safe states is just Democrap Lite.

Here are some facts from a California Green:

4. Many Greens believe that Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo are a better candidates
and better represent our values and strategies
than do David Cobb and Pat LaMarche

5. Many Greens strongly disagree with other Greens who espouse an "Anybody but
Bush" view or a "safe states" idea.

6. The information that I have is that only about 15% of the Greens who voted in
primaries, conventions and caucuses around the
country voted for Cobb. A significant majority voted for either Nader or Camejo.
Yet, 408 out of 769 delegates at the GPUS
convention voted for Cobb, and the California delegation on the 2nd ballot voted
90 for Nader, 35 for Cobb even though Cobb only
got 9% of the vote in the Californai primary!

7. The delegate votes of the small states at the GPUS convention had 3 times the
effect as the votes of CA or NY delegations. That
is, while CA & NY have way more than 50% of the Greens who voted this year
US-wide, these two states had only about 21% of the
delegates. This is much less representational and less democratic than the
delegate apportionment of the so-called "Democratic"
Party or the Republicans. Shouldn't Greens have as close to "One woman, one
vote" as possible, like the other Parties?

8. A 53% vote for the nomination of Cobb cannot be called a mandate and
certainly ain't any form of consensus. The rules and
processes of the Milwaukee Convention alienated a great many Greens from the
national party apparatus.

Think about it.

Oregon 20.Jul.2004 20:53

George Bender

I've heard from Oregon Greens that the number of Green chapters in Oregon has declined. Don't know what is happening with their voter registration, although I recently changed mine from Green to independent. The Oregon Greens have been invisible -- a strange way to build a party.

Greens for Cobb 21.Jul.2004 08:46

Brian Setzler

It is misleading to say that Nader/Camejo have more grassroots support among Greens that Cobb/LaMarche due to the total votes received. In California, Greens get to vote in a convenient, easy to participate in primary, so 100,000 people vote Green. In many states, including Oregon, Greens must hold conventions which by nature, attract far fewer participants.

Oregon Greens 21.Jul.2004 08:54

Brian Setzler

I always love it when armchair activists dis those who are actually doing something.

Oregon Greens are active in the forest. Oregon Greens gave tours and worked with Greenpeace when they were here last week. A number of Oregon Greens are running for office this November to challenge the 2 corporate parties. Oregon Greens have provided the work and leadership to bring a local PUD to inner SE Portland. Oregon Greens played a leadership role in the National GP Convention and play a leadership role within the party with 1 of the National Co-chairs being from Oregon. Local Greens worked hard for James Posey, the only African American in the race for Portland Mayor. Oregon Greens are working on strategies to end coroporate personhood. And this Oregon Green has worked to help Ralph Nader achieve ballot access.

What have you done lately?

Support for Nader??? 21.Jul.2004 10:30

A Green for Unity

In Oregon, another swing state where Nader could tip the election to Bush, he only needed to attract 1,000 registered voters to a nominating convention to get on the ballot. Four years ago, 10,000 activists rallied for Nader in Portland. But in April, he couldn't rally even 1,000 supporters.

Once again, the Right rode to the rescue. When Nader made a second attempt at a convention on June 26, Oregon's Republicans enlisted the anti-choice, anti-gay Oregon Family Council and the corporatist Citizens for a Sound Economy to recruit rightwingers to attend and sign Nader's petition. The CSE's phone script asking Republicans to put Nader on the ballot explained the need to "pull some very crucial votes from John Kerry." Nader's Oregon coordinator said he saw nothing wrong with rightwing help: "It's a free country. People do things in their own interest."

With Democrats engaging in dirty tricks of their own in Oregon (a county leader urged Dems in an email to attend but refuse to sign), Nader again fell short of the needed 1,000 -- despite the Republican help. Nader's campaign hasn't submitted names from the second convention to state officials, apparently embarrassed at how many will be shown to be registered Republicans.

It's the issues 21.Jul.2004 10:31


Will Dave Cobb get meetings with John Kerry and influence his position? Will Dave Cobb be able to speak to a national audience about removing the troops from Iraq, Universal Health care, Increasing corporate accountability, living wage, instant runoff voting, reduction of our military budget (just to name a few issues I know are important to many of us)?

It wasn't the greens that brought me to politics, it was Nader. I know many people who have become active on their own following the Nader 2000 campaign. With the people who are involved in the current campaign, there is a strong desire to keep going past november. There are certainly no shortage of issues. It's more then just building a party, it's making people more participents in our government. (reguardless of political affiliation) To say nothing is going to come out of Nader's campaign is very short sighted and doesn't reflect the history of 3rd parties in this country, and their impacts on national elections.

Besides this is Oregon a swing state...will greens even be running Cobb here?

Will Greens be running Cobb in Oregon? 21.Jul.2004 10:53

Brian Setzler

Cobb is on the ballot in Oregon and I'll be voting for him and Patricia LaMarche. We are a grassroots, decentralized party so no one is stopping you or anyone else from aggressively working on Cobb's campaign.

It is my opinion and feeling that most active Greens here in Oregon are working on issues and local campaigns rather than pumping Cobb. Cobb or LaMarche will visit Oregon during the campaign but primarily to help local candidates more than to promote their own candidacy.

I think their message is positive, flexible and respectful: If you are in one of the 40 states that are already decided, Vote Cobb and Vote Green. If you are in a swing state, vote your conscience. If you are in a swing state and are so afraid of GW Bu$h that you have to vote for a pro-war, pro-corporate pig like Kerry, then do what you have to do. But if you are Green, support Cobb or would rather sit out than vote for Kerry, then by all means vote Green.

And regardless of how you vote for President, vote Green on the rest of your ticket.

Greens don't take corporate money.

Hey, we don't like John Kerry either but what is to be gained from fighting our somewhat progressive friends during this election?

Growing Tired: you've shown me the way 22.Jul.2004 03:03

Dance dancing@theedgeoftheknown.com

The Democrats actually blame Nader more for Bush's taking of the White House than they blame Republican cheating, Supreme Court corruption, or Gore's and the Democrats' ineptness before and after the 2000 Election.

Now the Dems are trying to cheat Nader off the ballot; Nader is running against the Greens; the Greens are blamed for NOT supporting Nader, NOT running hard against Kerry, and, of course, for running in their own right at all.

Bush and Cheney must be having a field day.

Some of us tried to work things out so as to get some election reforms and avoid another election cycle where more energy is spent on working against fellow progressives than with them. But leftists have a propensity for playing the Right's Blame Game - except the other guy WE blame are other progressives. Between that and the ingenious ruthlessness of the Bush team, I'd say we can expect lots of ammunition to use against each other over the next four years blaming each other for why the Republicans are more powerful than ever and why the fascist policies are getting worse.

"A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush." "A vote for Kerry is a vote for BushLite." And "a vote for Cobb is a vote against Nader, or for Kerry, or against Kerry so it's for Bush".

I think the source of all these misdirected votes is the corrupt election process. Democrats had years to straighten things out in Florida before 2000, but they chose to manipulate the system in Democratic strongholds, rather than fix it. What did the Dems do in Congress after the sElection to safeguard future votes? They supported the Republican plan to change the nation's balloting to an all-electronic non-verifiable system, run by Republican Diebold Co. (Never again will we wake up in America to discover our ballots have been tampered with.)

If a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush, etc., etc., there is only one way to be sure my vote does not count for Bush: to vote for him. It takes a village of progressives all arguing with each other to show me the way:

I think I will be marking my ballot XBush. I have not yet decided if I will turn it in.