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newswire article reposts united states

political theory selection 2004

Greens seek support for kerry in key states

Three elected Greens are campaigning for kerry. Atleast they're honest about supporting kerry, unlike many othe Green "leaders".

Dems/kerry, meanwhile, are repaying these Green "leaders" by knocking Cobb/GP off every ballot possible, with Ohio being the most recent; NY will probably be next.

It's definitely a love-hate relationship
Greens seek support for Kerry in key states


By DAVID SEGAL, AUSTIN KING and JOHN EDER


Each of us is an elected official and a member of the Green Party. We are pulled by loyalties both to our growing party and to our constituencies, overwhelmingly composed of non-Greens.



For four years, we have watched a right-wing cabal work to turn our environment into a sewer, our courts into testing grounds for conservative think tanks and our military into an unchecked weapon of mass destruction.


To preserve their global playground, Republicans took to despicable levels of mudslinging and unethical campaign practices leading up to and during their convention. Their tack seems to have worked, despite the convergence of hundreds of thousands of protesters in New York City.


President Bush has pulled ahead in national polls, and he has a taken a slim lead Wisconsin, where Al Gore won by fewer than 6,000 votes in 2000.


With November's election likely to be close, progressives can play kingmaker and must convert their protest passion into an electoral movement. This is particularly important in Wisconsin, with its divided electorate and formidable liberal presence.


Wisconsin gave Nader 95,000 votes in 2000 and is denser than any other state in Green elected officials, making progressive solidarity in the state essential to bringing real change to Washington.


Despite the mainstream media's characterization of Democrats as unified and progressives as mobilized, former consumer advocate Ralph Nader continues to divide the left, by bashing Democrats for their complacency and attacking Green Party nominee David Cobb for challenging his monopoly on the progressive vote.


The Green Party has always put hope for the future at its core, so we are fortunate for the clarity of thought that our troubled democracy brings: We ask progressives to support John Kerry for president in battleground states such as Wisconsin, and Green Party nominee David Cobb in the states where the November outcome is a foregone conclusion.

(Wisconsin backers of Nader filed about twice the 2,000 signatures needed to get his name on the Wisconsin ballot. State Elections Board officials said they would review the names to look for any irregularities and would consider any challenges that had been filed by 4:30 p.m. Friday. A state Democratic Party official said the petitions filed Tuesday would be reviewed, but party leaders assume Nader's name will be on the ballot.)

We are heartened that this year the Green Party nominated the pragmatic and principled Cobb rather than endorse Nader and his scorched earth campaign, with little concern for the way it affects the election's outcome or the lives of voters. We are adamant in our belief that Nader's unilateral, adversarial tactics are counterproductive.


The overwhelming majority of those who share our values believe the difference between Bush and Kerry is significant enough that it is absolutely imperative that Kerry win. We agree, and recognize that we must attain the support of many of these principled voters if we are to be a political force for advancing social justice and to win elections, even at the most local level.


The protesters' mantra, "the people, united, will never be defeated" might be true, but so then is its reverse: The people, divided, will always be defeated.


The upcoming election is not an academic or theoretical exercise. Progressive unity is critical, as the political right will gain from progressives using their votes as merely tools of symbolic, individual expression.

Real people's lives are at stake. The outcome of this election holds tremendous consequences for the future of abortion rights, civil rights, gay rights, spending on social programs and countless other issues affecting those shut out from power.


In 2000, six states - including Wisconsin - were decided by fewer than 7,500 votes, and this year's margins are again potentially so slim that the collective voice of the left, even the far left, could determine the election's outcome.


As such, we believe it critical that progressives living in Wisconsin vote for Kerry in November, in recognition of his superiority to Bush, and despite his many failings.


To further the growth of the Green Party, we advocate support for Cobb in the safe states. Although voting for Nader in these states will not facilitate Bush's re-election, it may threaten the state ballot lines of our nation's only viable progressive party, as in many states ballot status requires attaining a specific amount of votes that Nader threatens to capture.


Even worse, in several states Nader will be the candidate of the right-wing Reform Party, meaning that voting for him in those states will help the Reform Party maintain its ballot lines, thereby aiding in voicing that party's radical xenophobia.


To vanquish "the politics of lesser-evilism" once and for all, we encourage the left to focus its energies on Instant Runoff Voting. Under IRV, voters rank candidates in the order of their preferences. Candidates with the lowest vote totals are eliminated and their votes are transferred to their supporters' next most preferred candidates. This process is repeated until a candidate achieves a majority.


IRV allows voters to vote their consciences without the unintended consequence of aiding their political adversaries, diminishing the "spoiler" problem. San Francisco will use IRV in this fall's municipal elections, but this majoritarian reform must be spread nationally.


David Segal is minority leader of the Providence, R.I., city council and chairman of Greens for Impact; Austin King is a Madison, Wis., alderman; and John Eder is a state representative from Portland, Maine.