Good News #2
peterk at enteract.com
Thu Jul 30 21:25:42 PDT 1998
What do people think of the Green Party? I like these two quotes which appear in the article that follows:"The draft platform of the Green Party includes aneclectic list of positions that are largely left ofcenter: national health insurance, limits on campaignspending, cutting military spending in half, a nationalcampaign against AIDS, civilian review boards for policeforces, more recycling and solar power and an end to'corporate welfare.' "&"The party's strongest support comes from the nation'syoungest voters. In surveys of two statewide races inNew Mexico and Rhode Island in 1994, Green candidateswon majorities of voters under the age of 29. In NewMexico's Congressional race last month, Anderson, aUniversity of New Mexico instructor, won a majority ofvotes cast in the university voting precinct."As Chomsky argues, though, cutting that much military spending will cripple the economy. New York TimesJuly 30, 1998Green Party Grows (So Does Democrats' Dismay)By JAMES BROOKESANTA FE, N.M. -- Campaigning in a patchwork districtof Indians and cowboys, Hispanic residents withcenturies-old ties and New Age Anglo transplants, CarolMiller is determined to become the United States' firstGreen in Congress. If recent election returns in NewMexico are a guide, that ambition makes her theDemocratic Party's worst nightmare.Tapping into discontent with what they call"Republi-crats," members of New Mexico's Green Partyhave used a populist and environmentalist platform toachieve rare influence for a third party in Americanpolitics: the ability to determine an election.In three major races since 1994, the Greens have wonenough votes to allow Republicans to win thegovernorship and two Congressional seats, in a statewhere Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2 to 1."There is no question that the Greens hurt theDemocrats," said former Gov. Bruce King, a Democrat whosays the cause of his 1994 re-election defeat was aGreen candidate who drew 10.5 percent of the votes."By and large," King said, "the party they split offfrom was the Democratic Party."Ms. Miller, who won 17 percent of the votes in a specialelection for Congress last year, in Northern NewMexico's Third District, says she believes that theelectoral math shows how the Greens are tappingalienated voters. In another special Congressionalelection last month, in the First District inAlbuquerque, the losing Democrat, Phillip Maloof, spent$35 a vote, and the winning Republican, Heather Wilson,$18 a vote. But the Green, Robert Anderson, spent 19cents a vote in gaining 15 percent."People in New Mexico don't like the money going intothe campaigns," said Ms. Miller, a rural health planner."They like our low-budget approach. We go out and talkto people wherever they are. We don't rely on televisionads."The greening of New Mexico voters bears watching becausethey may be the vanguard of a national electoralemergence of American Greens, belatedly following GreenParty inroads in Western Europe. And while the Greensare still unlikely to elect major candidates of theirown, the New Mexico races show their potential fordeciding close contests between major party candidatesand even in keeping Democrats from regaining a majorityin the House this fall."Go, Green, Go," Dan Lungren, the Republican candidatefor governor in California, chanted on July 19.Lungren, the state's Attorney General, was tipping hishat to the potential of the Green Party candidate, DanHamburg, for drawing votes from Lieut. Gov. Gray Davis,the Democratic candidate.Nationwide, there are 57 elected Greens, largely CityCouncil members. Half of these officials are inCalifornia, which has 93,000 registered Green Partyvoters, 81 percent of the national registration. ElectedGreens serve in 12 other states, largely in the West andNortheast.More important, Green candidates have earned automaticballot access in nine states: Alaska, California,Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermontand Wisconsin. Automatic ballot access means a party hasgained enough votes in past elections so that it doesnot have to petition to get candidates on the ballot.Earning that status in more states, including New York,is a major goal this year, said Dean Myerson, thesecretary of a new national network, the Association ofState Green Parties.The draft platform of the Green Party includes aneclectic list of positions that are largely left ofcenter: national health insurance, limits on campaignspending, cutting military spending in half, a nationalcampaign against AIDS, civilian review boards for policeforces, more recycling and solar power and an end to"corporate welfare."The party's strongest support comes from the nation'syoungest voters. In surveys of two statewide races inNew Mexico and Rhode Island in 1994, Green candidateswon majorities of voters under the age of 29. In NewMexico's Congressional race last month, Anderson, aUniversity of New Mexico instructor, won a majority ofvotes cast in the university voting precinct."We are trying to create new Green parties where theydon't exist, to get better ballot access, and to preparethe groundwork for a national Green Party, hopefully forthe year 2000," Myerson said.New Mexico's Greens are fielding 12 candidates this fallfor offices from Congress to county commissioner.Ms. Miller and Anderson are running again and areexpected to repeat their double-digit performances intheir Congressional races.New Mexico Republicans have given the Greens the redcarpet. Gov. Gary E. Johnson, a Republican, hasappointed a Green, Steven J. Schmidt, to the State Boardof Education."This is the best thing for the Republican Party heresince they won the Civil War," said Roger Morris, apolitical writer here."It has enabled them to win these races that otherwisewould have been closer."Moving into electoral politics after Ralph Nader's 1996campaign for President, the new national network wasformed by Green Parties from 23 states."We have a plan: local-issue activism, then building abase with local races," said Mike Feinstein, a two-termGreen member of the City Council of Santa Monica, Calif."We are not going to be top down, like the Reform Partywith Ross Perot."Factionalism, the chronic plague of the American left,has split the Greens into two groups: the newer andlarger association and a smaller group, the Green PartyUSA. New York State voters will see two Green lists inNovember, a Green Choice Party and the Green Party ofNew York State.The latter group's candidate for governor is Al Lewis,who portrayed Grandpa in the 1960's television series"The Munsters."In Colorado, Green candidates are running this fall inBoulder and Fort Collins, cities with the state's twolargest universities. In California, Greens control theCity Council in Arcata, a northern coastal universitytown.In Wyoming, Green support is growing in Laramie, home tothe University of Wyoming.In New Mexico's campaigns, Greens emphasize issues witha strong local resonance, but they can take advantage ofnational issues, too.Anderson, a 53-year-old combat veteran of Vietnam, wonpoints among some veterans and retirees for hisarguments against cuts in the Veterans Administrationbudget and against privatization of Social Security. "Mysupport is more blue collar, union people," Andersonsaid.Tom Udall, New Mexico's Attorney General and theDemocratic candidate for the Third CongressionalDistrict seat, noted that Ms. Miller won 17,000 voteslast year in the district that had only 3,500 registeredGreen Party voters."We are talking about voters other than Greens votingfor Green Party candidates," said Udall, who hopes tounseat Representative Bill Redmond, the Republican whowon the seat in last year's special election. "I seethat as my challenge: bringing voters back to theDemocratic Party."Some liberal voters anguish over voting their conscience-- and thereby perhaps handing victory to a conservativeRepublican."I support most of what I know about the Green Party,"said Mark Matthiessen, an AIDS nurse and a Green voterin Santa Fe. "Everything I know about Carol Miller Ireally like. But it is one of those cases where Idislike Redmond so much that I might vote for Udall."New Mexico's mainstream newspapers editorialize againstthe Greens, while the state's alternative tabloidsincreasingly endorse Green candidates.A recent editorial in the Santa Fe Reporter, a freenewspaper with a strong readership among the young,said. "Perhaps it is time for the Democrats to considerthe idea that the Greens are not siphoning votes away,they are winning votes away."The New York Times Company
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