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Here we go again: Parker, the Green candidate in Va, got around 25,000 votes, and its safe to assume a solid chunk of those would have gone to Webb. Had Webb gotten even 15k of those votes it could have well pushed the margin of victory above the line where Allen would have considered a recount worth the fight, and even if he had, would have made success in that recount that much more difficult. The Greens better put on their armor (made from 100% recycled kevlar), because if Webb loses, in Virginia at least they will be in for some acrimony.

To be fair, I'm just not sure what I think. As an eco-voter I've gone Green  many times over the years, and I voted Green in the New York elections yesterday, so I cant exactly begrudge anyone else their choice. But that was in a state where the Dems would have had to get caught on video snorting meth off the naked bellies of congressional pages while strangling their Peruvian mistresses before they would have lost, so it was more symbolic than anything else and a protest vote against Hillary's (and Chuck's to a lesser extent) endless triangulation and refusal to stand still on any one position for more than 5 minutes.

There is also, as in 2000, the argument (valid, if hard to accept) that if Webb (Gore) can't win comfortably on their own then they cant blame the Green party for simply exercising their right to participate in electoral politics. And Gail Parker is not exactly your typical Berkeley environmentalist, as indicated by her willingness to negotiate with both the Allen and Webb campaigns when she did finally consider whether to withdraw. All the same, abstract principles aside, the Green party, if it wants to survive, will need to start making strategic decisions in elections like these. Its a given that the Greens MUST pull votes away from the Dems if they are to succeed, but every time they cost the Dems an important race like this they leave mainstream liberals with a bitter taste in their mouth and far less likely to vote Green the next time around, even for a deserving candidate, even in races that aren't make or break.

Originally posted to brooklynmatt on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 07:09 AM PST.

Poll

Is the Green Party Doing itself More harm than Good?

78%101 votes
10%13 votes
11%15 votes

| 129 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  i thought (0+ / 0-)

    folks were saying that she was a conservative?  

  •  stop this divisive false bullshit (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seamus, thebes, greenskeeper, nakor28, bnasley
  •  INDEPENDENT green (7+ / 0-)

    that woman's not a regular green party.  here's a linky.  "fiscally conservative, socially responsible" is their tag line.  nader-style greens aren't on the hook for this one, at least not this time.

    it's a round world, last time i checked. - bill hicks (-8.00, -7.18)

    by liberalsouth on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 07:10:59 AM PST

  •  Has any Green won any election? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    steve davis, BachFan, TomP

    Until Greens can articulate policies that resonate with enough voters to actually win elections, ANY Green vote is a protest vote.

    Why 25,000 people would "protest" such a clear choice between Webb and Macaca is beyond me.

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

    by kmiddle on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 07:11:29 AM PST

    •  yes (0+ / 0-)

      Greens have won hundreds of elections.  Most Greens run in local races.

      •  Congressional? Statehouse? (0+ / 0-)

        How many Green Party members are in a statehouse? None.
        How many Congressmen? None.
        How many US Senators? None.

        According to this list, it appears that there are several putatively Green mayors, town councilpersons, school board members, and county commissioners.

        http://www.feinstein.org/...

        I say "putatively" because I know that in some states (New York, for example), a candidate can be nominated by more than one party. Rudy Guiliani was both the Republican and the "Conservative Party" candidate for Mayor of New York. So, how many of these are co-Green, I don't know.

        But the fact remains, no Green (co- or otherwise) holds any state or national office.    

        Can anyone possibly be so blind in a crucial election for US Senate that they would think the Green would win? Surely nobody is that idealistic. If not, then it's not just a protest vote, it's a vote for the candidate farthest away from your closely held beliefs.

        I hope I never have those kind of blinders on, no matter how passionate I am about preserving the environment (which happens to be one of my passions).

        The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

        by kmiddle on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 09:04:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Webb won (0+ / 0-)

    It's a non-issue.

    Osama bin Laden? Osama been livin' in Pakistan and the admin ain't done a damn thing about it.

    by nightsweat on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 07:11:38 AM PST

  •  The greens are going (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenskeeper, kaye

    to bedevil the Democrats until we enact instant runoff voting and allow the independents and greens a place at the table without the "spoiler" effect.  Plain and simple.  Minneapolis, Oakland and Davis all voted yesterday on that.  lets see if it won.  That is where we need to go and the Dems should step up and get it done.

    Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities-Voltaire

    by hairspray on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 07:12:03 AM PST

  •  There's A Question the Greens Don't Address (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    inclusiveheart, steve davis

    "Are you more interested in establishing a new political party or in furthering an environmentalist agenda?"

    When they don't address it, they don't do either well.  Not only do they shoot themselves in the foot each election in terms of establishing themselves as a real presence, but (because their activities end up assisting Republicans to victory) they also are hurting the environmentalist agenda.

    They like to argue that there is no difference between the two major parties but, on environmental concerns, that certainly is not the case today.

    Until they answer that question intelligently, there's no way I can look upon the Greens with anything but scorn--for, without a clear direction, they are nothing more than a distraction and a hinderance.

    •  Ironically in the Gore / Bush / Nader (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronBa

      fiasco, Gore has really proven to be the most green of all of the candidates in that election.  I think that is what really gets my goat about the Green Party.  They rarely seem to be running in districts and in states where the Democrat really provides no alternative to the GOP on environmental issues.  Webb seems pretty committed to energy independence and the renewable green energy sources that would get us there, and yet the Green Party fielded a candidate against him.

      What I can never figure out about their platform is why and how it really is that different or superior to a Dem whose agenda includes a committment to the environment - along with a whole host of other really important issues - in Webb's case getting us out of Iraq and economic populism.  I won't vote for single issue candidates so the Greens will never get my vote - unless they actually start to offer a fuller platform that would realistically offer change.  I'll vote for Al Gore again though and old day because I know his environmental emphasis is going to be realistic, aggressive and not only good for the environment, but also good for Americans.

  •  Greens should stay with the local races (0+ / 0-)

    I have no problem with them holding some small town mayoralties or even state legistlative seats, but this is the wrong way to go about building a progressive party.

  •  We say it, over and over and over again..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serrano

    we live in a two-party system. Voting for the Green candidate simply takes votes away from the Democrat, which means all of the Green goals are further from being enacted. Yep. Congratulations, Greens. You voted your conscience. And you may get the joy of living with that, for the next six years.

  •  The Greens... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nina

    ...like any political party, are welcome to compete where they wish.

    That said, they seem to do so on false premises, e.g. "Dems and Repubs are the same".  Further, they claim to be progressive, but hurt their own cause by damaging Dem chances.

    My problem isn't with the fact that they compete.  My problem is the grounds on which they do it.

  •  Actual information: (6+ / 0-)

    Parker was the candidate of the Independent Green Party of Virginia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    which is NOT affiliated with the United States Green Party, which has a Virgina affiliate that did NOT field a candidate in this election.

  •  I am sad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepintheheartoftx

    that I am the only one that has voted no. I did so because two-party system is not the best approach. If the Dems started out by revolutionizing the way elections were conducted so there was considerably more proportional representation I'd be much happier. 3rd party candidates shouldn't be hated because people believe in them--Democracy should allow you to voice your own opinion. You assume that the 25K that voted for the Green would have voted anyway, which isn't necessarily true. And you guess at the break--we won, let's leave it at that.

    •  Two Party System (0+ / 0-)

      As long as our electoral system gives the vote to whoever wins the mosat votes, a two party system is inevitable.  

      If you want to change to something else, you have to change how we elect people to the 'party list' system in Europe.  There, you vote for the party, who has a list of people who get placed in the parliament by rank within the party.  You have potentially more parties, but, you could NEVER get rid of, say, a high rank like Santorum, who would always get a seat as the #3 guy.

      Thats the deal.  Our system forces a two party system. It has advantages (you have a specific, targetable representative), and disdvantages (only two parties are ever viable)

      We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

      by ScrewySquirrel on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 07:22:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Damned Flakes (0+ / 0-)

    The silly woman in Virginia (Issue: Commuter Rail. Period) actually lent her support to Webb at the very end, but that was too late to get the word to supporters to vote for him. Hence, we have a potentially nasty recount ahead of us.

    Does all this remind us of Florida in 2000, where the qioxotic (or is egotistic a better word) Ralph Nader set up the situation that put W. in the White House? Without him, Gore would have cruised to a K. Harris-proof victory.

    I agree with some of what the Greens and other third parties advocate, but they hurt their cause again and again as spoilers in local elections. Sorry, folks, but this is not the way to win friends and influence voters.

    Parker hasn't accomplished anything in Virginia -- except that she's done harm if this turns into a lengthy and protracted fight.

  •  I'm not sure I buy it. (3+ / 0-)

    I used to think this way - Nader cost Gore the election in 2000, etc. And to a degree I still do.

    But, these days I kinda think that it's wrong to assume "a good chunk" of those votes would have gone to a Dem. I personally think a lot more than a good chunk of those votes would have just stayed home. So they're not votes that the Dem has lost.

    Conservatives love America like four-year-old kids love their mommies. -Al Franken

    by leftilicious on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 07:16:20 AM PST

    •  Well the thing is that the Greens (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gecko

      could always be smart and negotiate with candidates that will win to get their narrow agenda onto a winning platform.  Nader held tons of power in the run up to the 2000 election and he really could have walked into Dem HQ and said "Let's talk - what will you give us if I encourage my voters to vote for Gore".  He really could have leveraged his 5% into so much more, but instead he chose to feed his own ego.  That is why I have not and never will forgive him for how he handled that contest.  In the end everyone lost.  I knew a lot of Green voters at the time who would have switched to Gore if Nader had asked them to.  In fact, not a single Nader voter that I knew at the time would have been averse to that especially if he had brokered a deal.  That is how you make a two party system a little more like a coalition government.

    •  These arent the kind of voters who stay home (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure about that. People who vote Green, or 3rd party, tend to be more politically involved and passionate (in every sense of that word), and less likely to just say "screw it" and stay home. I'm sure some of them would have stayed home but I'm willing to bet a majority would have gone to the polls anyways.

  •  Whatever trashing the Green Party .. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyK

    ...may or may not deserve, this race doesn't add to the argument because Parker isn't affiliated with the Green Party, but rather the Independent Greens, which, as other posters have noted, is not the same thing. She had one eco-issue: trains!

  •  I voted for a Green for Senate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EthrDemon

    The Greens a great for sending a quiet little message to D incumbents who are too moderate for their constuencies. Had Lieberman won the D primary, I would have wanted a G against him. In reddish states or agaisnt more liberal, more embattled incumbents, or in  presidential elections the Green party ought not interfere.

    Here in WI, I was happy to vote for Rae Vogeler over Herb Kohl. I would be pissed if the Greens even fielded a candidate against Russ Feingold.

  •  SHE. IS. NOT. A. GREEN. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FredFred, osterizer, NancyK

    She is an Independent Green, whatever the hell that means.

    She is running on the transportation issue.

    She is conservative.

    SHE. IS. NOT. A. GREEN.

    ==== The More You Know *

    by ZT155 on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 07:27:31 AM PST

  •  The problem is this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nightsweat

    After 2000, Greens can't say they don't know what's at stake when the vote Green. It's impossible not to know.

    People vote Green because they don't care what's at stake. They have other priorities and principles. The Green voters in this election weren't going to vote Democratic anyway.

    The fools.

  •  Why is it? (0+ / 0-)

    Why is it that I am expected to just suck it up, when someone who calls themself a Dem won't support my pet issues, yet when it comes to the Green Party, the same logic doesn't apply?

    The mainstream opinion on KOS seems to be that a Dem who doesn't support a woman's right to privacy should still be supported over a Repub, since on the whole we get more of what we want that way.

    Yet when it comes to the Greens, the tone is reversed.  We must support people who vote Green, even though that may turn the tide on an election, leading to war, torture, the loss of our constitutional freedoms and other horrendous nonsense.  For some reason it's ok to stand on principle on this issue, when the results are far worse than in the other situation.

  •  Just like the Libertarians (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    essexgreen, MarketTrustee

    I think a lot of the debate about the Green Party misses what they are. They're a minor party. More of their voters would otherwise vote Democratic than Republican, many would just stay home otherwise, some would vote Republican, some would vote for other third parties - but really, it doesn't matter.

    The Libertarian and the Constitutional parties are just like them, only they get more votes from Republicans. Neither of them has really stopped the Republican party, and they've learned to quietly hurt their efforts to get on the ballot while simply not talking about them and hoping those voters hear a lot more about their party and that some will vote for them. That's probably the only real way for us to deal with the Greens.

  •  ? (libertarian party) (0+ / 0-)

    was there a Libertarian candidate? if so, how many votes did he/she get? thanks.

  •  hmm (0+ / 0-)

    this diary missed the boat that left the harbor months ago. greens didn't steal anything libertarians didn't steal: < 2% is statistically insignificant to the definition of a 2-party system; that 2% is historic. what determines "significance" at canvass-time is the margin of error, mechanical and differential characteteristics that define the two classes.

    the new "third party" is the independent politician of "me". which is to say, so-called independents will not formally caucus or field national  organization but that individuals will embrace ambiguity -- play the odds of polling, MSM "values", and engineered fraud. the trend in voters declining party affiliation is a tell, not a driver.

    didn't you notice how many thugs dropped the elephant?

    didn't you notice how loserman gamed CT perceptions?

    didn't you vote on a diebold machine?

    Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

    by MarketTrustee on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 07:58:33 AM PST

  •  Anybody got a good Pie Recipe? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 08:07:34 AM PST

  •  Look... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the Dems are right of center on every issue. Not being total fascists doesn't make them 'progressive'.

    In Canada, the average ballot has about a dozen candidates including the 3 0r 4 major parties (depending on where you are).

    I've always thrown my vote to the greens, marxist-lenninists, whoever, in protest of the pathetic choices presented to me by the libs ndp or conservative party du jour.

    So if i was in the states, i would probably vote green because the Dems don't stand for anything i do. They're not good, just better than the republicans. That's not enough to garner my vote. And obviously that's not enough to garner the votes of 25,000 people in Virginia who were motivated enough to get off their ass and go down to the polling station.

    Disagree? Well your boys and girls are in control now, so let them prove me wrong.

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