Stay Green!Campaigns and Candidates group co-chair calls for Greens to stay registered Green through 2004 to focus on our long-term goals of building a viable progressive party
By Susan King
Here is why we should stay Green: changing your registration to vote in another party's primary is not good for either party. We have our own party, and should not be involved in another's if we are truly invested in the growth of ours.
Many of us Greens used to be Democrats. We do not feel that we left the Democratic party, rather it left us, and our values. In the past 8-10 years, the Democratic party has shifted to the right: they support the death penalty, a ban on gay marriages, so called welfare reform, increased military and prison budgets at the expense of education and social services, They have blocked efforts to pass universal health care, amend the three strikes initiative, provide a living wage, and implement election reforms such as IRV (Instant Runoff Voting) and campaign finance reform. The party, and virtually all of the candidates that run under its banner accept corporate contributions that ensure that true reform will never occur under their watch. Many Greens feel that the occasional progressive Democrat does not signify the reform of the Democratic party.
When a token liberal candidate appears on the national scene, the party mainstream will reject him/her. This is the likely scenario with Kucinich. Changing registration to support him will not provide him with the support he needs to win. Registered Greens make up about 1% of the voters in CA, so even if all Greens switched and voted for him, it would not make a significant difference to his campaign.
The act of switching, or supporting Kucinich (or other presidential candidate in the Democratic primary) is a short sighted, short term act that will impact our long term vision for a better world and could have serious consequences for our party.
To keep our ballot line, we must maintain a minimum of 1% of the voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election. If our numbers dip below this threshold, our party will lose its ballot status.
Our party needs to increase our numbers and continue to demonstrate that we are a vital force in the progressive political arena. Without the Greens, the Democrats could continue their rightward shift unchecked, with no accountability to the more progressive voters they have taken for granted.
Finally, there is so much more to our party than the race for U.S. President. Greens hold office across the country and our numbers are growing incrementally with each election. In 2004, the CA Greens will run a number of partisan races and hopefully over 100 races for local office. There will be a number of contested races for Green Party County Council seats this year. It is important to stay Green to vote in these races, as well as to show our support as Greens for candidates running for local non partisan seats.
In conclusion, Greens are encouraged to stay Green through 2004 and affirm our commitment to the values that attracted us to the party.
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