SocraticGadfly: Green Party post-mortem and look ahead

November 16, 2016

Green Party post-mortem and look ahead

Unfortunately, the Green Party came nowhere near 5 percent nationally and won't get national campaign money from the government guaranteed in the next election cycle.

More unfortunately, due to the conniving Texas Democratic Party recruiting the unqualified Betsy Johnson to run for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 5, folks like me and Brains will be out in the spring of 2018 (if we both remain in Texas) signing Green Party ballot access petitions instead of voting in the state Democratic primary, where we might weed out the worse of two options.

(Given that state Dems keep having the likes of a Grady Yarbrough getting nominated, followed by state Dem leadership being so apoplectic that it then backs a Libertarian [rather than a Green] for the position, I guess you don't want folks like me and Brains participating?)

That said, beyond the outside issues, at both the state and national levels, the Greens have various ways the party needs to up its game.

(Update, Aug. 6, 2017: Recent events, including a national-level double pants-crapping shortly before this year's national convention, and a state-level Texas Greens crack-up a month earlier, leave me skeptical on how well the check-list items below, or the footnote at the end, will be addressed.)

Among the things that needs to continue to improve is:

1. Recruiting more, and better, candidates. Example No. 1 in Texas? Brandon Parmer, 2014 gubernatorial candidate.

2. Candidate campaign training. Train people on writing press releases to traditional mainstream media and offbeat alike. Train them on public presentation and presence. Train them on a modicum of professional candidacy.

And, train them on taking every opportunity they can. If the Morning News or Chronicle asks you to drop by for a candidate endorsement interview, do it. Work with rearranging your schedule (I know, the typical Green is working a regular day job, but so are many Libertarians) while getting them to work with you.

3. Better Internet presence. Martina Salinas, Texas Railroad Commission candidate, said in early September that she would have a website within a month. She never did. Facebook pages aren't a replacement for a true website presence. (Parmer was worse, not even updating his Facebook page, and also letting it look unprofessional.)

What you can present on FB is limited. Detailed campaign policy statements can't be placed there. PayPal or other campaign donation links can't be placed on a Facebook page, either.

It looks unprofessional in general, if not always as rankly unprofessional as Parmer. It looks cheap along with that.

WordPress websites aren't THAT hard to create. And, they're not THAT expensive to host for a few months. I used to be on the board of directors of a nonprofit social services organization that is 1/100th the size, if that, of its much better known competitor. We have a website with one, half-time paid, executive director the only paid position in the organization.

Yes, she was running for U.S. Senate, not a state-level office, but the website of Maryland's Margarat Flowers, which is a basic template-type setup, is an illustration. I'll contribute to GPTX, and publicize it, if it will just get state candidates to do this here in Texas.

Greens, take note. And I am deliberately highlighting this.

I will seriously look at "undervoting" on your races if you won't address this point at a minimum. (I undervoted Parmer in the 2014 gubernatorial race for Reason No. 1.

4. Other professionalism needs to improve. I'm glad Jill Stein worked hard on her campaign. But, it's simply not cool to send mass blast emails to media outlets that include financial solicitations as part of the email, as she did. (And yes, this was done.) It's certainly not cool for other candidates to do that, if they did.

(Update: Per his link in comments, go read David Bruce Collins, both that post and one or two before it about election results as well. We're in broad agreement on these "professionalism" issues and related ones. He approaches this from a more insider angle to complement what I've written. On a couple of those posts, he tackles some of he issues in points 5-6.)

5. Accept the science on the safety of GMOs just like accepting the science on the reality, and severity, of climate change. If anything, science is even more settled on GMO issues.

6. Get a better presidential candidate. From 2000, the party has gone from a hypocrite on owning Big Oil and Defense stocks (Ralph Nader) to a nice guy who ran too safe of a safe states strategy (David Cobb — note, you run to win, even as a third party) to an anti-Semite and worse who hid it during the election (Cynthia McKinney), to another hypocrite on Big Oil and Defense, etc. (Jill Stein). Green candidates also need to get scrappier with each other to bring these things out, in the case of Nader, then Stein, before the national convention. (They need to do this instead of launching conspiracy theories at the national convention, as Sedinam Moyowasifa-Curry did.)

7. Meanwhile, as noted above, looking to 2018, thanks to Texas Dems recruiting (and they did recruit) a barely functioning, barely competent attorney to run for Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 5, people like me and Brains will have to be signing Green Party ballot access petitions, which means we can't vote in the Dem primary and possibly keep you from choosing the worse candidates in contested primary races.

Texas Dems, you just disincentivized me from protecting you from some of your own bad candidate issues ... Grady Yarbrough come to mind? Or the aforehinted Betsy Johnson of CCA Place 5?

8. I'm not buying the Hillbot line that Greens don't run any local or regional candidates. It was an sneering insult to the party. But, there's plenty of room for more in the way of county commission, state representative, state boards and similar candidacies.


Greens in Texas, as part of a national party, also need to do their part in making sure the party remains a relevant, viable option on the left, per Mark Lause and my take on him. Related to this, as part of a national-level tussle, they need to address the apparent accommodationism with Democrats that Jill Stein, David Cobb and others are showing.


dbcgreentx said...

Agreed, mostly. No need to quibble over the small details.

Here's my take, FWIW. Some may say that it does no good to criticize the Greens' sincere but inadequate efforts, that it's just distributing blame, but I hope my comrades will see this criticism as constructive.

Regarding undervoting: Thanks to the Dems' recruiting any warm body willing to run for various statewide offices in order to make life difficult for the Greens, it's hard to blame the undervotes on straight-ticket voting. However, the undervote total in Texas House District 127, where no Democrat ran, was about 15,000, nearly a fifth of the total ballots cast.

Gadfly said...

Yes, your take IS worth something, and in fact, I was about to visit your site, which mutual friend Brains has made familiar to me, to see what you had and alert you to my posting!