It’s time to move past the “lesser of two evils” and toward a greater good.
A revolution is brewing in the United States, and the Green Party is right at the heart of it. And should be. Now get ready for the “lesser of two evils” rhetoric coming from the faux-progressive Democratic Party. It’s time for real change in our electoral process. Do not expect that kind of change from the DNC—you won’t get it. You will get it from the Greens. If Bernie Sanders didn’t prove that to you I’m not sure what it will take.
The “Ralph Nader” Nonsense
Criticisms have already arisen. First, let’s dispense with the Ralph Nader 2000 nonsense. I’ll freely admit that I voted for Nader in 2000. I stand by that vote. It’s what introduced me to the Green Party. And no, I didn’t cost Al Gore the election or cast us into 8 years of Bush administration darkness. I voted for Nader. I exercised my democratic right to vote for who I wanted. But if we have to have this conversation, here are two important facts: 13% of registered Democrats voted for George W. Bush, and Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee. Walter Mondale won Minnesota in President Reagan’s 1984 landslide.
Enough with the Nader nonsense. Also worth noting is the recent non-story about Jill Stein’s position on vaccines. The Green Party supports wise usage of vaccines but does not oppose them. What we oppose is corporate corruption and unnecessary inoculations, which do occur. Mrs. Stein is a doctor and has used vaccines in her practice. But some people will spin the news to serve their purposes into any opening they can find. We have to stay vigilant and defend ourselves from spurious and false reports.
Third Parties Can Win
Second, third parties can win. There are over 100 Greens in office around the country. We are the fourth-highest ranked political party in the United States and our membership is growing. Our candidates have a proven track record of success once they get elected—look at Gayle McLaughlin in Richmond, California as only one sterling example. There will be more successes. What we need is continued organizing, ballot access drives in every state, qualified candidates to run for slots that we can win, and a vision for the future that emphasizes the local. Because that’s where we build the party and build confidence in the electorate. As important as it is to run Presidential candidates to gain attention, we also need to stay local, tied tightly to our communities and the Four Pillars.
New Drumbeat for Millennials
Third, the constant, astonishing drumbeat of not letting the other “side” win has lost its edge. The electorate can no longer be controlled by fear. 60% of millennials no longer feel represented by the two-party system. Many of these young people are moving into an uncertain economy dominated by the wealthy, looking at exorbitant student loan payments for an education that did not help them get the perfect job, possibly looking at endless expensive wars for dwindling resources that get ever farther away from where they’re consumed, and a political system that primarily serves the 1%.
Any progressive impulses the Democratic Party may have had have been ground down under the corporate millstone. The DNC platform won’t even consider single-payer Medicare-for-All, a cornerstone of the Green platform and one of the primary causes of financial insecurity in the United States. No one should go bankrupt because they got sick or injured. That doesn’t happen in any other industrialized democracy.
We are also looking at two parties whose views on the environment seem frighteningly similar. Environmental justice is racial justice: communities of color are disproportionately affected by environmental problems. Here in Nevada one of Hillary Clinton’s primary donors, Warren Buffet, almost singlehandedly destroyed the rooftop solar business to benefit his public utility, killing thousands of jobs in the process.
Worldwide, in the last 40 years the Earth has lost 50% of its wildlife biodiversity.
Besides doing well in protecting some open space as National Monuments, the current Democratic administration has done very little to protect our larger shared environment. The TPP, supported by the DNC, is an unmitigated disaster waiting to happen. It will strip national environmental protections to further international trade goals, only strengthening the grip of the 1% over the rest of us. We need to bring an end to the era of fossil fuels and the endless wars that support it.
The Democrats can’t even support anti-fracking language in their platform, a technology demonstrably destructive to watersheds, wildlife, and the planet at large. The DNC’s current platform also contains language that supports more drilling for fossil fuels and opposes a carbon tax. In our warming world, we will not get the change we need from the current political dynamic. We must have change, from the local to the national level.
Time Over for Politics as Usual
We simply do not have time for politics as usual anymore.
Dr. Cornell West recently endorsed Jill Stein and praised Green values. Progressives, unite! It’s time to move past the “lesser of two evils” and toward a greater good. The Green Party is your true home, and we are ready for you when you’re ready for us.