Monday, November 17, 2008

Know Your Third Parties: Part 1 - The Green Party

The Green Party is part of a worldwide movement that intends to raise environmental awareness. The Global Greens have established political parties across the planet to elect environmentalists to office.

But as is the case with many single-issue parties, the environmental concerns of the Greens have been picked up by the more progressive of the two major parties. Now the Green Party preaches a broader leftist message. Although they continue to decline in electoral success on the national ticket, they have succeeded in electing their members to local offices across the country.

Membership: 304,796 (as of May 2005)

Members Holding Office: 220 (get full list here)

Most Greens hold office in local governments including City Councils, School Boards, and other small entities. They do, however, claim a few State Legislature seats as well.


The Green movement made its way to the United States in 1984, with the establishment of the Greens/Green Party USA. The Association of State Green Parties made Ralph Nader the candidate of its first national ticket in 1996. The ASGP then split from Green Party USA to become the Green Party of the United States. The Greens/Green Party USA remains a political organization today, but is separate from the political party.

Nader was the Green Party nominee again in 2000, though it would be his last time seeking the nomination. Nevertheless, Green Party delegates have supported him in the last two election cycles. The success of Nader split-off several voters that Al Gore could have picked up in order to win the election. As a result, most Democrats have had a negative view towards Nader and the Greens alike.

In 2004 the Green Party nominated David Cobb as its Presidential candidate, but failed to appear on 16 of the 44 state ballots that it managed in 2000. Without the prominent Nader name, the party saw a decrease in support.

In 2006 the Greens led several campaigns for candidates that received 10% - 20% of the vote in Gubernatorial and Congressional races. They also led an effort to put Iraq Withdrawal referenda on many state and local ballots, including a majority of localities in Wisconsin and 11 in Illinois.

In 2008 the party nominated former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and managed to appear on 32 state ballots, but still only garnered a small number of votes.

On the Issues:

The Green Party supports leftist positions on social and economic issues including healthcare, gay rights, civil liberties, and of course the environment. You can read the Green Party Platform here.

The Green Party also stresses their 10 Key Values:

  1. Grassroots Democracy
  2. Social Justice
  3. Ecological Wisdom
  4. Non-Violence
  5. Decentralization
  6. Community-Based Economics
  7. Feminism and Gender Equality
  8. Respect for Diversity
  9. Personal and Global Responsibility
  10. Future Focus and Sustainability

Final Thoughts

For what it is worth, the liberal views of the Green Party have made the Democrats stick closer to their base in recent years so as to not lose voters to a splinter party. As of very recently, both of the major parties have responded more urgently to the concerns of global warming - concerns the Green Party has been pushing now for decades.

Despite the election they cost Gore in 2000, the Green Party has been successful for a Third Party's purpose - namely forcing the major party it splinters from to re-examine itself.

Coming Thursday - the Libertarian Party


Jason Haas said...

Hey, that's Malik! Stacie met him a few years ago when she helped out in New Orleans. Quite a man. I would like to meet him some day myself.

haas414 said...

According to this blog, Malik got 3% of the vote, with a possible RINO-Republican winning the race. We'll have to see whether Mr. Cao (pronounced Gao) votes with the Republicans or not.