For some of you it does not matter what I write. I'm a Green, therefore I must be given a troll rating and chased away as soon as possible. Better yet if it comes after lots of shouting and belittling.
But some seemed willing to engage and not crucify and asked some good questions. For those interested in nuance, I am happy to answer them. Specifically, why did the Greens run candidates against Paul Wellstone in 2002, and why are they running one against Bernie Sanders this year.
When the Minnesota Greens met to decide what to do in the Wellstone race, that was the topic: Keeping control over their own ballot line. The state party decided to endorse someone because they feared if they did not, someone who did not share Green values might claim that easy-to-get ballot line. Think Pat Buchanan and the Reform Party.
Greens were torn by this decision. A significant number disagreed with it and even formed a Greens for Wellstone group. It also hurt the national party, as a lot of progressive Democrats who donate stopped doing so, especially big donors. But this is a grassroots organization and the national party cannot dictate to the state party what it can and cannot decide. So the national party had to make due with less contributions.
If Wellstone had lived I really doubt the Green candidate would have had any impact on the race whatsoever. It was a weak campaign, even by Green standards. That said, many Greens did have problems with Wellstone.
We expect Rick Santorum and Mitch McConnell to vote against us. When they do so, we barely notice. What we don't expect is for a senator we all admire to side with them over progressive values. And Wellstone had done just that a number of times, including voting for the Defense of Marriage Act.
If we can't get a senator like Paul Wellstone to vote in favor of marriage equality for all Americans, then what chance do we have convincing a Santorum or McConnell?
So in addition to keeping control of the ballot line, a little reminder that his left was pissed wasn't a bad thing either. It wasn't a serious challenge, but it was a reminder that there is a price to be paid for drifting to the center and hurting the people who got you there.
Now, Bernie Sanders this year. I'll let you in on a little secret, the Vermont Green Party is the ugly step-sister of the national Green Party, the one most Greens wish we could dump.
National Greens now realize that it would have been better to affiliate with the Progressive Party in Vermont, the one Sanders started. But, they didn't want to be part of a national group. So instead of working with sane progressives, it was the guys and gals who were too fringe for even the Progressives who were left to start a Green Party chapter in that state.
For some of you, this will no doubt be funny. But the Greens don't all march on the same beat. We have about 30 percent of the membership who think we are too closely tied to Democrats and do their bidding. They were against David Cobb and wanted Ralph Nader and a strong challenge in 2004, instead of the weaker challenge put up by Cobb.
They think the national party is too far to the right and are sell outs. The Vermont Green Party is one of the leaders of this camp.
Am I shocked they are running a candidate against Bernie Sanders? No way, I would expect nothing less from them. In short, they are pain in the butts and that appears to be their only election strategy, to annoy people.
But in the Green Party it is the state parties that tell the national party what to do, not the other way around. So the rest of us Greens will likely support Sanders and look forward to him taking a Senate seat.
And hope for the day when we can convince the Progressive Party to align with the national Green Party and try and figure out how to dump the current loons running the Vermont Green Party.
I don't expect Democrats to agree with those decisions. Bush is right, it would be much easier if we were a dictatorship and could make others do what we wish.
But one of the Greens founding pillars is grassroots democracy. And I know of no Green eager to change that. It can be a pain and drive us all crazy at some point, but we think it beats the alternative.