Showing posts sorted by relevance for query 2010 green party. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query 2010 green party. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, February 28, 2019

You won't have Jill Stein to kick around any more


Somewhat buried inside this New Republic piece by Emily Atkin on the Green New Deal are some interesting reveals about the US Green Party's 2020 presidential aspirations.  I'll break up the excerpts quite a bit, so if you want to read the full piece but get stopped by NR's subscription wall, there's an easy workaround.  If you can't figure it out then ask me how in the comments.

Howie Hawkins, a 66-year-old Green Party member from New York, says he was the first American political candidate to run on the promise of a Green New Deal. During his run for governor in 2010, he proposed a plan to fight climate change “with the same urgency, speed, and commitment of resources that our country demonstrated in converting to war production for the mobilization for World War II.”

[...]

“It’s a little frustrating to not have a dialogue between those of us who have been working on the Green New Deal for quite some time, and people who want to keep it solely in the realm of the Democratic Party,” said Ian Schlakman, a Baltimore-based Green Party member who’s running for president.“There are some Democrats who acknowledge the existence of third parties and independents. Congresswoman Cortez is not one of those people.”

Hawkins -- who told me he’s launching a presidential exploratory committee in the coming weeks -- also thinks the Green New Deal is being unfairly co-opted. But he’s happy that it’s become mainstream, because now the Green Party can expose the Democrats for the corporatists they truly are. “It’s our opportunity to explain how the Democratic establishment ... chopped away the pieces,” he said.

Pause for news update/explainer: AOC's GND proposal, co-sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey, is just a resolution, not a bill, and Mitch McConnell's power play to put petroleum-soaked Democrats on the spot about it is producing some breathless pearl-clutching from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.  Protests outside McConnell's office earlier this week had no effect.  Schumer has already countered McConnell with a milquetoast Senate resolution.

Back to the central point of this post.

Stein has suggested she won’t seek the party’s nomination in 2020, so there’s potential for a new Green voice. But it’s not yet clear who that will be. Aside from Hawkins and Schlakman, only 12 people have officially declared their candidacy for the Green Party nomination. It’s hard to tell which are serious. Kanye Deez Nutz West most likely is not. But Dario Hunter is, and he’s about as diverse as candidates come: black, gay, Iranian, and Jewish. He’s also an ordained rabbi, a former environmental attorney, and a school board member in Youngstown, Ohio. These qualities all make him an ideal new voice for the party, he said. “If we want to cut through the lack of attention given [to Greens], we need someone who has a loud and clear voice and a tough skin,” he said. “It takes a tough skin to be an openly gay black son-of-an immigrant Jewish rabbi.”

Why should there be attention given to Greens, though, now that Democrats have embraced the Green New Deal? Simple, said Hunter: “This Democratic version of the Green New Deal is watered down. It pales in comparison to ours.”

I'm leaving out some good parts, but the following is the best of the entire article, IMO.

This is why some Greens say the 2020 presidential race is not a challenge so much as an opportunity to expose Democrats. “There is this growing cafeteria socialism where Democrats pick and choose elements here and there and put them on a platter because they sound conducive to running a progressive-sounding campaign,” Hunter said. “If you are espousing Medicare for All and free college for everyone, but ultimately still allowing for capitalist interests to run amok … then you are not a socialist. You’re just running on a platform that draws people in falsely.”

Calling Ocasio-Cortez a fake progressive is a risky game, given that she’s one of the most popular Democrats in America. But it does seem like the natural place for the Green Party to go in 2020. Third parties, after all, are historically for people who not only dislike the two major parties, but don’t believe the major parties will ever change. “I think if you work within the Democratic system, you have to be incredibly honest about who the Democrats are, which is that they are pro-capitalism, very moderate, and don’t want to move very far left to tackle the challenges we see worldwide,” Schlakman said. “Sure there’s an avenue for socialists to upend the Democratic Party from the inside, but they’d really have to be at war with their own party. And I don’t see that in Congresswoman Cortez.”

The chances of a socialist revolution within the Democratic Party is unlikely. Only one of its presidential candidates even uses that term to refer to himself, with the modifier “democratic” -- and Bernie Sanders isn’t even a member of the party. So the Green Party surely still appeals to those who want the American economy to become fully eco-socialist; an inconsequential niche of voters, electorally speaking. But that’s not to say the party is without political influence. The Greens’ history as a spoiler threat might keep the Democrats honest, ensuring they don’t nominate a moderate who won’t at least entertain Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

Then again, leftist voters may be so motivated to remove Trump from office that they’d hold their noses and vote for, say, Amy Klobuchar or Joe Biden.

So while I read a few mischaracterizations and "mal-assumptions" in there, nevertheless some kernels of thought were germinated about how Dems see Greens, Greens view Dems, and each see -- and fail to see -- themselves.

I would wish that Ajamu Baraka, the 2016 vice-presidential nominee, would be willing to stand for Green Party president in 2020, but Kevin Zeese at Independent Political Report -- who has some extended thoughts on this topic as well -- says he has 'decided not to run'.  And that Texans most likely will not have a GP candidate to vote for on their ballot next year anyway makes this conversation from a Lone Star perspective unfortunately moot.

That's why I'm #BernieorBust.  Again.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Green means go; Dems drop SCOTX challenge

The right course of action.

The Texas Democratic Party today cleared the way for Green Party candidates to remain on the ballot this year by dropping its state Supreme Court challenge to the legality of the Green's ballot access petition drive.

However, the Democrats indicated the party will continue its lawsuit at a lower court level in an effort to obtain civil penalties in the case.

"Although the motion we filed today means it is almost certain that Green Party candidates will remain on the ballot in 2010, the facts demonstrate that the participants in this petition gathering scam acted improperly and we continue to seek penalties allowed by law," said Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie.

Silencing the whine that Democrats aren't interested in democratic principles was a significant step in the right direction. More from News8Austin, courtesy Half Empty...

Officials with the Democratic Party said they didn't want to be accused of obstructing voters from choosing their candidate of choice, but encourage Green Party candidates to consider their campaigns.

“Green Party leaders should remember that actions speak louder than words. It is up to the Green Party candidates to decide whether they want to continue candidacies that were bought and paid for by Republicans who hold the Green Party in contempt," Richie said.

The truth for this writer is that I am sympathetic to the Green Party issues and efforts. They deserve to be heard  by the voters of Texas. But they were worked like week-old laundry by Rick Perry's henchmen in this regard, and when they learned about it they decided that was all right with them.

If there is any new news here, it is that Rick Perry is quite obviously pursuing another 39% strategy in the 2010 election.

Update: Burnt Orange's comprehensive aggre-post includes video from last Friday's press conference that Green Party coordinator kat swift and others held following the Supreme's decision to set aside the lower court's block of their ballot effort.

Update II: there's a good back-and-forth going on between Democratic activist and my friend Stan Merriman at his blog Torches and Pitchforks and my friend and former Democrat/current Green currently unaligned Kris Graham and Green candidate for Harris County clerk Don Cook.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Texas Greens get an assist from an Arizona Republican

Via STC, this news is grating.

The liberal Green Party's uphill battle to get on the Texas ballot this fall has been fueled by a surprising benefactor: an out-of-state Republican consultant with a history of helping conservative causes and GOP candidates. ...

What's unknown is who paid for the previously undisclosed arrangement, pieced together by The Dallas Morning News. Green Party officials said they don't know who funded the effort. The Perry campaign denied any involvement. And Arizona Republican operative Tim Mooney, who set up the petition drive, refused to say.

Green Party officials said an outside group gathered the 92,000 signatures and gave them as "a gift" to the party, which delivered them to the secretary of state ...

Christina Tobin, who heads a Chicago-based petition-gathering company called Free and Equal Inc., said she was approached by Mooney to collect signatures for the Green Party of Texas.

Another group, Take Initiative America, based in Missouri, would provide payment, Mooney said.

Mooney estimated the cost at $200,000, but declined to give a specific figure or say who put up the money.

"Take Initiative America, being a nonprofit, doesn't disclose its donors, nor is it required to," said Mooney, who has little history of working in Texas. "Take Initiative America is a nonpartisan organization. They'd like to see everybody have a chance to get on the ballot – the more choices the better."

More from the Examiner:

Names of private citizens, especially Texan Republicans, are being bandied about, including but not limited to billionaire Harold Simmons of Dallas. Simmons could certainly afford it and there are those who point to the $3 million he contributed to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, to defeat John Kerry. Certainly as a man who likes to be known as someone who knows "more than a thousand ways to skin a cat", this would be an easy and relatively inexpensive amusing  last-minute surprise for Simmons, who has been called both Dallas' Angel of Grace and  Most Evil Genius

Whatever satisfaction one might take in the idea that additional choices are good for "little d" democracy is outweighed by the premise that the whole ploy is a result of conservatives being so afraid that Rick Perry will lost to Bill White that they had to resort to dirty tricks.

Update: Boyd Richie reacts ...

“The Green Party has become just another arm of the Republican Party and Governor Rick Perry's re-election effort and the Republican/Green Party coordination is a blow to the integrity of our election system,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie. “The signatures gained through this Republican effort should be withdrawn and Green Party candidates, officials and supporters should save their integrity and repudiate petitions that undermine democracy and fair elections.”

... as does Burnt Orange.

Update II: Harvey Kronberg's commentary for News8Austin ...

The first mystery money in the 2010 election surfaced just this week. According to Wayne Slater at the Dallas Morning News, a secret out-of-state benefactor has coughed up an estimated $200,000 to pay for a petition drive to get the Green Party on the November ballot. The secret money was laundered through an Arizona Republican political consultant who won’t identify the actual source.

A Green Party slate will siphon off a few votes from Bill White and other Democratic candidates. A handful of votes can be significant. Republicans retained control of the Texas House last year when they won a single legislative race by seventeen votes.

Here we go again. Mysterious out-of-state money from secret sources poisoning Texas elections.

Friday, June 11, 2010

OpenSourceDem on the Green challenge to Texas Democrats

A GOP operative in Arizona has rigged a reported $200,000 in-kind contribution to the Green Party in the form of sufficient signatures to get their candidates -- to be nominated this weekend -- on the statewide and select countywide ballots.

The Democratic Party perceives this as a short-term threat to Bill White’s campaign and is sensitive to a longer term threat to the status quo, particularly if the Green candidate for state comptroller gets enough votes to meet the statutory threshold (5%) for continued ballot access.

The GOP doubtless regards this as a “dirty trick” in the short term. They love such mischief almost as much as Democratic incumbents in Arkansas like vote suppression techniques such as reducing polling locations in a run-off.

GOP operatives such as the Club for Growth or intellectuals like the Federalist Society may see this ploy as a new wrinkle in their notion of a “Permanent Republican Majority”. That “majority” actually consists of money-driven pluralities in a mix of ratification elections and plebiscites wherein the lower the turnout, the better. Call this the “Citizens United” plutocracy.

In fact, both party establishments in Texas are plutocratic:

For the Democratic Party establishment (TDP), a “Way We’ve Always Done It!” sort of decrepit plutocracy is based on what was for a long time professional and more recently racial patronage, derived from bi-partisan concession-tending (“Jim Crow”). But, the GOP in Texas has long commanded more money, technology, and concessions. So, “Jim Crow” is just an epithet now, not really the regime here today. And TDP plutocracy is really just nostalgia -- Matt Angle’s wannabe plutocracy.

While profoundly reactionary, the GOP is conforming Texas government to radical privatization, deregulation, and economic discrimination using the state and federal Supreme courts. They now dominate the emerging police state it takes to levy and collect indirect and regressive taxes. But like East German Communists, they run as the anti-government, pseudo-populist party. Thus they innovate just enough in electoral politics and roll out sufficiently clever waves of earthy rhetoric to keep Texas a red state bastion despite its latent Democratic majority.

The GOP prevails by further dividing and demoralizing a Democratic Party already broken by professional patronage and further mediated by racial gerrymandering and quotas. A “green” party consisting of not so much anti-corporate as well-educated but chronically underemployed and mostly white environmental activists may do in the general election what the Tea Party has done in GOP primaries. (The Tea Party appears to be well-educated but chronically underemployed, property-rights and gun-rights-favoring, mostly white activists.)

If the jobless recovery continues, of course, there will be more and more well-educated but chronically underemployed (fill-in-the-blank), with increasingly non-white activists out there raging against both plutocracies.

Still, GOP operatives hope to focus the alienation in Texas right now on well-funded Democratic challengers who they can portray as “liberal” or in any case “corporate” establishment, while GOP incumbents portray themselves as moralistic, “small-government”, “cloth coat”, rubber wader”, libertarians or eat-what-you-catch-or-kill hunter/gatherers like Sarah and Todd Palin.

None of this theatrical politics was new even before Citizens United. The Green Party thing is just another wrinkle in a story now decades old.

It could backfire several different ways:

1. Techno-Legal

The Red-Green petition drive can probably be voided by invalidating individual signatures under the exclusive affiliation provisions of state law using the TEAM and VEMACS voter registration systems. But that will take a tech-savvy lawyer who understands those systems. The Green petitions are probably legal under the state exemption on corporate funding for “party-building” activities. In any case, the GOP Secretary of State cannot be trusted to do the signature validation competently or even disinterestedly. (Note: The SOS has approved the Greens' petition signatures, but the Greens and the Democrats have agreed to a two-week moratorium in order to authenticate the legality of the Greens' benefactor.)

2. Trust and Confidence: Try It For A Change!

The GOP noise machine has reached maximum volume very early and is getting very tiresome. By speaking intelligently and calmly, both Barack Obama and Bill White may well elicit the sort of confidence and trust that may be more important in this mid-term election than enthusiasm, especially fake Astroturf  “enthusiasm” or “rage”.

3. Take ‘Em Head On

While the Tea Party will fall in lockstep with the GOP or stay home and sulk, loyal Oil Patch and Texas Environmental Democrats can compete head on and outnumber Green Party activists in every venue, including the Democratic state convention, taking place in two weeks in Corpus Christi.

4. Hey Diddle Diddle, Straight Up The Middle

Even more importantly, Bill White and Jeff Weems can provide real leadership on environmental issues and energy policy ... provided they can break out from the lame Lone Star Project strategy of empty rhetoric in targeted races underwritten by the TDP.

5. Straight D Plus

Finally, if and only if a few of the big, urban county Democratic Parties can mobilize high-information “surge” voters -- a legacy of 2008 primary and general elections -- then Democrats can co-opt more voters from a would-be Green Party than the other way around. The key will be “straight D plus” voting instructions. It is true that a straight G vote is just another spoiler campaign. But a straight D plus a vote for the Green comptroller candidate (where the TDP left a void) would help Bill White (and Ann Harris Bennett in Harris County) and hurt the GOP. Of course, that assumes Democrats have tech-savvy political operatives, something more than just nostalgia to run on and run with.

The downside on Straight D Plus is that the Greens, having gotten on the ballot in service to the GOP in 2010, would be on the ballot in 2012 courtesy of Democrats. That poses a fundamental question for Democrats:

-- Do we want or expect to be the dominant one of two collaborating parties in a bi-partisan plutocracy (“Jim Crow”) ever again, or do we want or have any expectation of ever being a robustly competitive party in a multi-party democracy, not any sort of plutocracy?

That is the sort of historic challenge that a placeholder like Boyd Richie does not recognize and has not faced. It is one Bill White may have to overcome in addition to running his own race if he expects to win statewide, in effect with no more than half a party. If Democrats expect to win elections in Texas, they will have to embrace change as a party. We need to realize that parties which nominate by convention and take unlimited corporate contributions have a huge advantage over parties nominating by primary election and using small donations to leverage corporate contributions and other large donations. That is the way to perpetuate plutocracy without regard to colorful rhetoric or other aesthetic devices to distinguish our brand of plutocracy from the other one. The plutocrats with the most money cannot govern well, but they can win elections dominated by mercenary consultants and mass media.

So behind all the tricks of mercenary political operatives, theirs and ours, there really are some profound questions for Democrats to answer if we are ever to make anything out of our latent majority statewide, our transient one in Harris County, a fairly reliable one in Dallas County, and of course the potentially valuable one in Houston.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Perry's former chief of staff coordinated Greens' ballot petition drive *update*

The Perry campaign has lied their asses off about their involvement. LSP:

Earlier today, a key witness testified under oath that a top member of Rick Perry’s inner circle paid him about $12,000 to convince Green Party of Texas leaders to participate in an elaborate ballot petition scam. (Source: Austin American-Statesman, June 24, 2010)

Mike Toomey, the former chief of staff for the governor, paid Garrett Mize, a 22-year-old University of Texas student, from his personal checking account to present a formal proposal to Green Party leaders. The proposal suggests using out-of-state funds to gather signatures needed to field candidates in the upcoming Texas election. The memo notes that, “many of the donors will be people that simply do not want to see the Democratic Party win.” The proposal by Mize can be seen here.

Toomey’s direct involvement elevates the matter to a level of wrongdoing not seen since the Sharpstown scandal of the 1970s. Mike Toomey is a member of Perry’s inner circle and described as “close friends” (Source: Texas Monthly, February 2005). It is irrational to believe that Toomey would have made such an elaborate -- and likely illegal -- effort to field Green Party candidates without the knowledge and approval of the governor. 


The morning testimony left it unclear what happened after the original plan proposed by Mize fell apart. A second plan was formulated just two weeks before the deadline to turn in ballot petitions. This second plan funneled $532,500 in corporate money to pay for the effort to gather signatures for the Green Party in order to qualify candidates for the Texas ballot. Documents and testimony in the coming days should reveal whether Toomey masterminded this plan as well. (Source: Austin American-Statesman, June 24, 2010)

Their hands are as dirty as we thought.

This would not be the first time Mike Toomey has used secret corporate donations to illegally help elect Republicans in Texas. Toomey was implicated in the TRMPAC scandal and the Texas Association of Business lawsuit after the 2002 elections. The TRMPAC “indictments …noted that TAB board members Mike Toomey and Eric Glenn, both lobbyists, played prominent roles in soliciting money.” (Austin American-Statesman, September 8, 2005)

And a bit more from Postcards (the Statesman):

Mize was approached to run the effort by a family friend, Stuart Moss, who at the time worked for a Republican political consulting and public relations firm run by former Perry communications director Eric Bearse. Bearse said Moss no longer works for him.

Mize quit the effort in April after he grew uncomfortable that Republican interests were driving the initiative and not informing the Green Party.

“Do you know what a Trojan horse is?” questioned state District Judge John Dietz. “Were you a Trojan horse?”

Wow, the Republicans are crooked. Imagine that.

But the revelation here is that should the Greens proceed with this tainted ballot bid, the TDP will sue the living daylights out of them. And the Greens will lose.

The best thing they can do now is withdraw their petition. And really, that is a damn shame. And not just for them.

I think -- unlike the brain trust at the TDP -- that the Greens on the ballot would be a good thing; it would force Richie, Angle, et.al. to stop taking the progressive base of the Democratic Party for granted. If they were honestly threatened with losing a few percentage points because they are too conservative, then they could either adapt to the new world or get used to minority status for a generation or more.

The key word there being 'honestly', of course.

Update: TRO granted.

A state judge on Thursday granted the Democratic Party a temporary restraining order to block Green Party candidates from being certified for the November ballot.

Democrats contended that a petition drive to put Green candidates on the ballot actually was an effort to help GOP Gov. Rick Perry by diverting votes from his Democratic challenger, former Houston Mayor Bill White.

State District Judge John Dietz ruled that the effort was “an unauthorized, illegal contribution.”

Lawyers for the Green Party said they plan to appeal.

Monday, August 17, 2020

The TexProgBlog Wrangle (DNC Week)



The leftists in the Texas Progressive Alliance won't be tuning in to the DNC convention this week (not even to Bernie and AOC).  The DSA and progressive Democrats in the Alliance may or may not be, depending on how strenuously they define 'progressive'.  The Blue Dogs, shitlibs, Blue MAGAts, neoliberals, establishment Dems and their paid consultants, lobbyists, pollsters, and associated lickspittles -- and of course the RINOs and the Never-Trump Republicans -- will have their eyes glued to the screen every single night.


Lone Star Latinxs in particular seem a little put out about it ...

"I think that we could win the battle and lose the war," (Julian) Castro told "Axios on HBO" of Democrats' chances this fall. "We could win in November, but you could see a potential slide of Latino support for Democrats."

... even Stace, reverting to his milquetoasty form.  But the Texas Signal, your home away from Kuffner with all the insidery establishment goodness you can tolerate without any clues to what's actually going on with the Donkey Party's eroding youth base, is there for you.  Their opinion editor -- a Latina -- even managed an English-only interview with the "Spanish press secretary" for the TDP.  Somebody let me know if they get around to posting a transcript en Espanol.  At least they mentioned "the" chancla.

And all this time I thought Texas was a swing state ...

Updates:

-- Can Joe Biden win over the young Latinxs that flocked to Bernie Sanders?

Houston PD chief Art Acevedo apparently spoke last night.  Acevedo, who's welcoming furloughed cops from other cities to come to Houston, probably delivered a real puke-a-thon about law and order and Blue Lives Mattering and such.  I didn't look too hard to find anything about his talk.  If you did, hit me up.  Update: Stace, coming a little stronger.  Judge Hidalgo, by contrast, belonged at the top of this schedule.

Then there's Matt Angle of the Lone Star Project, who resurrected his ten-year-old grievance with the Texas Green Party.


And sure enough:

Charles Waterbury, the Green Party candidate for Texas Supreme Court chief justice, has dropped out of the race after an opponent questioned his eligibility to run.

Waterbury’s withdrawal notice was submitted to the Texas secretary of state’s office Monday after being notarized Friday, the same day his Democratic opponent, Amy Clark Meachum, sought a court order declaring his candidacy invalid.

Meachum’s emergency petition to the Supreme Court, the same body she hopes to join, argued that Waterbury is prohibited from appearing on the ballot as the Green Party nominee because he voted in the March 3 Democratic primary.

State law prohibits candidates for state or county office from representing one political party in the general election if they voted in another party’s primary in the same election cycle.

I have three things to say about this.

1. If you search the archives of this blog hard enough (yesyes, I should have tagged posts long ago) you'll find one where I actually agreed with Angle on this point of his. Along about in 2009 when I became disillusioned with Obama's capitualtion on health care and began to look at the Green Party more seriously, I asked them about this business of having the TXGOP fund their ballot access. The response was quick and certain: "no permanent enemies, no permanent allies". That's kind of how it it with Donkeys and Elephants, too yes?  Isn't John Kasich demonstrating precisely that premise by speaking at the DNC, endorsing Joe Biden, but declaring he's not abandoning the GOP and has been assured that Biden "isn't moving left", toward AOC, as the Jackasses applaud?

2. Amy Clark Meachum just lost my vote in November.

3. If this affects any other Texas Green Party candidates' eligibility, then that's on them, too.  As a member of the Harris County Ballot Board in 2010, the presiding judge disqualified me for the exact same reason (voting in the D primary and serving as a Green judge).  It's a chickenshit play, and in that case, it did not withstand scrutiny; the County Clerk -- Stan Stanart at that time -- asserted that his office selected HCBB judges and that nobody other than him had authority to disqualify them.  (I chose to say off the Board anyway, FWIW, until a new presiding judge took over.)  I have not blogged about this until now for many reasons, as you might suspect.

We're still waiting for that court ruling.

Since I turned this post into a rant, I'll have an actual Wrangle in short order.


(Here's the original for a bigger view)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Feeling vindicated

What I've been saying -- and doing -- for a couple of years now seems to be what others are also now saying and doing.  The idea of an independent progressive movement seems to have found purchase.

This piece at Down With Tyranny! -- which has the details of the New York governor's race -- links to this piece at Jacobin and this piece at The Guardian.  Two excerpts from those follow.

-- "Building outside the Democratic Party":

Everything about this election points to widespread dissatisfaction with a rightward-moving Democratic Party. Democratic voters stayed home. The turnout was a record low in New York State, with Cuomo receiving nearly a million fewer votes than he did in 2010. The Working Families Party (WFP) deployed all their resources to maintain their ballot line, but their campaign literature didn’t mention their candidate for governor: Cuomo. Only the Green Party significantly increased their vote.

Our gubernatorial candidate, Howie Hawkins, got 5 percent and 175,000 votes — nearly triple the number that voted for him in 2010 and quadruple the percentage. Instead of just voting against the Republicans or for a lesser evil, countless people expressed glee at the prospect of voting for someone running on a progressive platform.

Could only happen in in New York, you say?  Happened in California also, where 23 Greens won election across that big blue state, bringing their numbers to 64.

Could only happen in New York and California, you say?  A Texas Green candidate earned 10% in a statewide race for the first time in as long as anyone can remember.  A Texas Green in a contested statewide race with a strong Democratic candidate got 2% of the vote, at least twice as much as the historical average.

-- "America just took a wrong turn. It's time to take a hard left":

(T)here were real victories this week for progressive alternatives on clean energy, economic security and social justice. The extremist blood bath may have painted the country more red, but there were more than a few important – and extremely promising – tea leaves of green. It was even enough to suggest a new, independent, hard-left turn in American politics is still very much possible.

Fracking bans just passed in cities from California to Ohio and even in Denton, Texas – the town at the heart of America’s oil-and-gas boom. In Richmond, California, progressives beat back a multi-million dollar campaign funded by Chevron to defeat Green and allied candidates. Voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington DC joined Washington State and Colorado in legalizing marijuana, adding to the growing momentum to call off the failed “war on drugs” that has given the US the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Still not buying it?  Would you open your mind a little about it if you read it in the Waco Tribune?

McLennan Community College professor Ashley Cruseturner astutely observed in a recent Tribune-Herald article that one-party rule allows the party faithful to dictate outcomes: “You have this situation where 5 percent of Texas is picking a statewide candidate for the whole state. Whoever is the most motivated in the spring, who can get this tiny group moving, that’s a lot of power.”

It is a lot of power, and concentrated power is not a good thing in a democracy. The results are predictable; we all find it hard not to reward our friends if it is within our power to do so.

(Notice that the author didn't mention the Green Party there.)  What else is being said about this strange phenomenon of the Democratic Party being abandoned by those who voted and those who did not?

-- "Why the Democrats lost... if they really did":

American voters — the ones that bothered to turn out for the elections — made a few things pretty clear. They’re tired of the party infighting. They’re tired of Democrat and Republican extremes. They’re tired of being held hostage by politicians who aren’t actually representing their wants and needs. The odd combination of Democratic policies and Republican politicians that were approved in this last election shows that Americans aren’t defined by two parties and the ideals encompassed by those parties. They are not black or white, but shades of grey, and need to be represented as such. Was it the Democrats who lost? Or the American people speaking in the limited voice allowed them by a two party system? It seems as though the populace of the United States is tired of party rhetoric, and is seeking a middle ground. It may be that the time is ripe to introduce a third party, one that is interested in representing the people, not collecting political gains like so many trophies.

-- And here's your argument for working within the Democratic Party to affect progressive change, from Bonddad.  "The importance of state-level third parties":

As spelled out above, corporatists are thoroughly in charge of the democratic establishment, to the point, it is widely reported, that they would prefer GOP election wins over progressive democratic candidates. See, for example, here.

So, how to make corporatist democrats extinct?  By showing them that they can never win.  And how do you show them that they will never win?  By borrowing a page from the career of Joe Lieberman.

It isn't enough for progressives to primary corporatists. State level third parties, like New York's Green Party, give progressives the ability to stay in elections right through the general election, even if they lose a democratic primary to corporatists.

Yes, this strategy will mean some general election losses over a few cycles.  But when corporatist democrats learn that they cannot win, they will start to disappear.  Progressives will win either as Democrats, or under another party banner.

By the way, this happened before. One hundred years ago, there were active Populist and Progressive Parties in the states (remember Robert LaFollette?). Ultimately they became part of the winning New Deal coalition.

Progressives shouldn't abandon the Democratic Party.  But they should target the corporatists as mercilessly as Tea Party republicans targeted their less-extremist wing, and state level Third Parties are an indispensable part of that attack.

-- And there's still room in my brain for this, which disagrees that reforming the Democratic Party is the best way to go.

If progressives can learn one thing from the 2014 election cycle, it is that they no longer have a place in the Democratic Party.

With Republicans on the offensive, Democratic incumbents and hopefuls spent the entire election running away from anything perceived to be associated with President Obama. In effect, this created numerous Democratic campaigns that ran to the right of a president that was already on a long-standing drift to the right of his own. This is in contrast to the normal state of affairs, which is where Democrats campaign on ideas that appeal to the progressive base and then do not deliver when elected.

This set of events left progressives and even many liberals without the party that they would normally identify with and vote for. The result was a sweeping defeat for Democrats in the congressional and gubernatorial elections, losing their Senate majority in the process.

Warning: a full reading of these links will be extraordinarily provocative for those on the left still trying to make some sense of last week's wipeout.  (Was it just a week ago that some Democrats were feeling hopeful about the end of the day's results?  I confess I had given up some time before early voting concluded; just didn't want to be Debbie Downer to my hard-working friends and neighbors.)

It's definitely going to challenge your thinking about the kind of Democrat you should support in 2016, in 2018, etc.

And that needs to happen.  Either the Democratic Party nationally -- and the Texas Democratic Party as well -- can get its shit together, or it's further on down the road to perdition.   I still like the idea of tempting them with my vote and support in exchange for nominating the right left kind of candidates.  But if they can't manage that then I can easily go Green.

Sure hope I see more discussions on this topic in the future.

Update: In case anybody might wonder, I wouldn't follow David Alameel to the nearest liquor store, much less any revolution he thinks he's going to lead.  You do have to like how he throws Gilberto Hinojosa, et. al. under the bus, though.  That signals some fun times ahead for the TDP.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Texas Greens file for 57 state and local offices in 2016

Kuff and Stace both have your Democratic rundown; I had some first-take POV on Tuesday, and yesterday the Green Party of Texas offered their slate for next year.

A total of 57 filed for offices across Texas, and here's the full list.  (I only counted one presidential candidate because recent polling shows Jill Stein with 63%, but she has four challengers, including Kent Mesplay of Texas).  The GPUS presidential nominating convention will be held in Houston next August, with most events occurring in and around the University of Houston.  The state convention will held in April, in San Antonio.

Regular readers here will note that I have been advancing a vote for Stein for president on the expectation that Bernie Sanders will eventually be eliminated from contention as the Democratic Party's nominee, and that his supporters should be welcomed to join the only real progressive campaign remaining after this spring.  Both Stein and the GPTX agree with me.

“The Democratic Party is not going to allow Bernie Sanders to squeak through, so where would we be if we don’t have a Plan B? When Bernie gets knocked out of contention, there would be no place for people to go if not for our campaign. The difference between our campaign and Bernie’s is that we’re not looking for the Democratic Party to save us. We are establishing an independent base for political resistance where we can continue to grow, because there is no relief on the horizon and we need to get busy right now building the lifeboat we’ll need to rescue ourselves and our children.”

Sanders is riding a populist wave in the Democratic primary that closely aligns with Green positions. For Greens who are committed to building an electoral alternative outside of the Democratic Party, we must be prepared to capture as much of this momentum as possible when the super-delegates and other Democratic Party machinery finally close the door on the Sanders campaign. To do this, we will put forward a solid and coordinated slate of candidates this cycle, and we will conduct a Green Party brand awareness campaign intended to let voters know that they still have an opportunity to vote their values and put people, peace, and planet before profit.

Since Texas Democrats and Republicans finally figured out that the way to reduce the electorate's choices back down to two was to file a candidate for every statewide office and let the mindlessness of straight ticket voting works its magic, it becomes imperative that to avoid having to petition for signatures for ballot access in 2018, a statewide Green (and Libertarian, for that matter) needs to hit the 5% threshold in next year's elections.

The statewide offices on the ballot in 2016 are Railroad Commissioner, state Supreme Court (Places 3, 5 and 9), and state Court of Criminal Appeals (Places 2, 5 and 6).  Multiple Democrats and Republicans have filed for those seats, most of them incumbents, and the primary elections in March will determine who bears the D and R standard in November.

The Railroad Commissioner's contest will be the liveliest, with over half a dozen candidates, including former Republican state representative Wayne Christian and three other goombah Republicans trying to out-"most conservative" each other in the GOP primary.  Former Land Commisioner Jerry Patterson's in-and-out dance prior to the filing deadline last Monday ended when he decided he couldn't be a ticketmate with Trump.

Former statehouse Democrat Lon Burnham, infamous perennial Grady Yarbrough -- you should remember him from his 2012 US Senate runoff against Paul Sadler -- and one other are vying to represent the Blue Team.  The Greens re-submit Martina Salinas, who got north of 2% in a 2014 bid for the RRC in a four-way race.

Gadfly had a good suggestion as the best shot for the Greens to hit their 5% number, and I won't disagree.  Quoting...

Cheryl Johnson is NOT running for Place 5 on the CCA, though. And the Democratic candidate, Betsy Johnson, is in a solo practice, which means she probably doesn't have a lot of legal depth she brings to the race. Her Texas Bar page lists, besides criminal practice, real estate and wills/probate.

Judith Sanders-Castro is the Green here; she got 10.45% against a Republican and a Libertarian in the CCA contest in 2014.  She had a long career as a voting rights activist going back to the '80's and early '90's with MALDEF.  Both Sanders-Castro and Salinas should campaign together and work the RGV and urban areas for Latin@ votes in their respective races.  Their success will be key in the bid for continued ballot access.

Besides those two excellent candidates, longtime Travis County activist Debbie Russell is running for sheriff there.  She and I spent time working on David Van Os' campaign for TXAG in 2006.  Deb Shafto, the Green Party's gubernatorial nominee in 2010, will make a run at Sylvia Garcia in Texas Senate 6, and her husband, George Reiter, the past co-chair of the state party, takes aim at Congressman Al Green in CD-9.

The godmother of the Texas Green Party, katia gruene, is a candidate for the statehouse (District 51, incumbent Eddie Rodriguez) and Joseph McElligott, fresh off his bid for Houston city council, will run against Dan Huberty in HD127.  Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee also draws a Green challenge from Adam Socki, a transit/urban planner with engineering outfit HDR.

David Collins, the Harris County Green Co-Chair, posts more.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Texas Greens build momentum

This ought to piss off both Carl Whitmarsh and Bethany a little more. And that's never a bad thing. (Update: Noting the correction sent out by cewdem last weekend, he did not make the erroneous assertion. Somebody *ahem* put colored words on his e-mail. Or something.)

From the San Antonio Current:

David Collins walked to the front of the Hill Country cabin with a green toga draped over shirt, tie and slacks, a throwback, he said, to mankind's first republic: the Roman Senate. "The toga has great symbolic significance for me," he said, "and I've felt myself to be politically and spiritually green for a long time." Staring down at the getup, Collins laughed. "I would run for office naked if I thought the Green Party would benefit from it."

Collins, a Houston-based longshot candidate for Texas' open U.S. Senate seat, was among a smattering of candidates and activists working to dismantle the country's two-party dominated political system meeting at a small Hill Country retreat in Grey Forest Saturday and Sunday for the Green Party of Texas' convention. Far outside the clubby, insidery scenes of political officialdom on display in Houston and Fort Worth at the weekend's state Democratic and Republican conventions, Texas Greens held a quiet, low-key gathering on the outskirts of San Antonio to tap nominees and chat philosophy, politics, and revolution.

You really need to read the whole piece. Laugh, cry, gnash your teeth, get motivated to help or power up to thwart, whatever floats your boat.


The Texas Greens ultimately, and unsurprisingly, threw support behind Jill Stein for the party's nomination for president. Stein, who once ran against Mitt Romney for governor of Massachusetts, says her win in the California primary last week guaranteed her place as the Green Party nominee for president at the party's national convention in Baltimore next month. Sitcom comedienne and celebrity Roseanne Barr, who didn't show at the Texas convention, spoke to Texas Green members via phone conference Saturday, saying she'd continue to seek the Green nomination for president.

Stein, an eloquent Harvard-educated physician keen on quoting Frederick Douglass ("Power concedes nothing without a demand") and Alice Walker ("The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any"), seems to embody the type of voter Greens across the country are fighting to win over: liberals, progressives, peace activists, and environmentalists who feel ditched by rightward-drifting Democrats.

Stein wrote off the so-called spoiler effect of third parties, that the major impact is to tip close races between Democrats and Republicans by siphoning off small, crucial pieces of the party base. "We've been told to be quiet, that this silence is an effective strategy," she said. "Well, how's that 'lesser evil' thing working out for you exactly? … We have assured the policies of expansive war, of ignoring a climate meltdown, of economic collapse by silencing ourselves as the only real, non-corporate voice of public interest," she said. "So many progressives have muzzled themselves."

More Jill Stein, from last weekend's convention outside San Antone.



Texas is thisclose to qualifying for federal matching funds. When that happens, the momentum hits a higher gear.

Finally, a terrific Q&A with Kat Swift, Bexar County godmother of the Texas Green Party, which resolves some of the lingering mythological questions people always seem to have about the Greens. Didn't they keep Al Gore from getting elected in 2000? (No.) Didn't they take Republican money to get on the ballot in 2010? (Not exactly, no.)

Go read the whole two things from the SAC and then let's hear what you have to say about it in the comments.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Texas Greens ready to begin ballot access work

The first step -- for anyone who did not vote last Tuesday -- is to find your precinct nominating convention, consolidated in the counties listed here across the state, and happening this evening.


Organizing this duty belonged to David Collins until recently, but he got mad and quit because the Harris County Greens finally succeeded in clearing out their dead wood.  You can pick up petition forms at the convention, or you can print them from the link here, or below.

This petition sheet is your tool for expanding and enhancing democracy in Texas. Make multiple copies (legal size!) of page 1. Read the instructions on page 2 very carefully. Talk to friends, relatives, and total strangers about its importance. If they are eligible to sign, convince them to sign.
In order to be valid, a signature must be gathered in the 75 days, beginning March 14th, from:
  • a registered Texas voter
  • who did not vote in any primary election this year
  • and did not sign any other party's petition or attend any other party's conventions.
Those who gather signatures need not meet these criteria. They need only be of legal age to sign their petition sheets. Each petition sheet has space for 10 signatures. A signature line contains places for the voter's full name, street address, home county, birthdate, and (optionally) voter registration number. Yes, the birthdate is required for verification.

All petition sheets submitted to the state must be signed by the signature collector in the presence of a Notary Public. The actual deadline for submitting petition sheets to the Secretary of State's office is the Tuesday following Memorial Day, or May 29, 2018.

For more detailed information about the petition drive, see this page at txgreens.org.

Candidly, if I knew a week -- more like two -- ago what I know today, I would not have voted in the Democratic primary, and instead helped the Greens try to get on the ballot.  The factors for that change of heart include:

-- Bernadine Williams' H-Town takeover of the Greens.  After we -- she, I, others -- failed to do so a year ago, I didn't think it could be done this year.  I was wrong.

-- The extraordinarily shabby treatment of progressive candidates by the Texas Democratic establishment.  Two examples, one from this Truthout piece regarding Sema Hernandez ...

... The Texas Democratic Party push backed against Sema Hernandez, a Bernie Sanders-inspired progressive activist challenging O'Rourke for the nomination.

"When I arrived to Texas Democratic Party headquarters in December 2017, I was asked if I was sure I wanted to run because there was already two other people in the race," she said.

When Hernandez paid in cash the $5,000 fee to be put on the ballot for the Democratic primary, she said that the Democratic Party official who accepted the fee jokingly asked if it was drug money. The Texas Democratic Party did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

... and the other, this reply to Tom Wakely on Twitter.


Hover your mouse over "Notorious RKGM", or click on her name, and take note that she appears to identify herself as a Tarrant County Democratic Party official.  What did I just blog the other day about Tarrant County Democrats (scroll to CD-12, Vanessa Adia).

-- And then there's that whole nasty business regarding the DCCC and Laura Moser that I won't rehash at this time.

I'm ready to #DemExit again.  Sure didn't take long, did it?  There are some cold, hard realities associated with this circumstance and the effort needed to accomplish it.

Let's be honest about this: Given the political climate and the current state of the Green Party in Texas, the prognosis for success in 2018 is not great. GPTX has undertaken five ballot access drives. It was successful in 2000 and 2010, but fell short in 2004, '06, and '08.

Even in a state where 85% of voters skip the primaries, finding willing signatories can be difficult. People who desperately want a third option on the ballot may still have trouble thinking beyond the two-party paradigm. They may also be reluctant to give anybody their addresses for fear of being sold to mailing lists.

Typically, the number of signatures gathered should exceed the requirement by 50%. Historically, about one-third of signatures collected in these drives do not satisfy all the criteria.

Even if the Greens get their ballot line back, at least one candidate must top 5% to keep the party going in 2020. However, difficult though it may be ...

... with enough volunteers and enough enthusiasm, this is entirely feasible!

The numbers are daunting.

In order to qualify (for ballot access), the Green Party of Texas must collect 47,183 verified signatures, equal to 1% of the total votes cast in the last (2014) gubernatorial election, from registered voters who did NOT cast a ballot in either primary election within a 75-day period beginning March 14th ...

If you can do something more than blog -- like me -- in helping the Texas Greens get back on the November ballot, it will be worth it to send a message to these toxic neoliberals that their party cannot, will not win a goddamn thing if they choose to keep shitting on the FDR/Bernie Sanders wing of the Donkey Party.  Twenty-sixteen's lesson was not learned, so we're gonna hafta rub these Blue Dogs' noses in their own shit again.  Maybe they'll get it in time for 2020.

Once more, consolidated precinct conventions in these counties tonight, 7p.m.:

Bell County - Killeen Fire Station #1, 3800 Westcliff Road, Killeen, TX 76543
Bexar County - Bill Miller's Restaurant, 1004 San Pedro, San Antonio TX
Collin County - Market Place, 6100 Eldorado Pkwy, McKinney, Texas 75070
Denton County - Agua Dulce Mexican Kitchen, 115 S Elm St, Denton, TX 76201
Harris County - Havens Center, 1827 W. Alabama, Houston, TX 77098
Tarrant County - Root's CoffeeHouse, 9101 Boulevard 26, North Richland Hills, TX 76180
Travis County - Green Party Space, 1105 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78741

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Texas Shorts

We're going briefs, not boxers, as we catch up with the news.

-- The Republican Party of Texas opens its state convention this weekend. We'll be posting occasional updates on the free-flowing crazy (hey, there's only so much we can all take). Here's a teaser from the Fort Worth Startlegram; the header is "Texas GOP delegates not keen on 'sensible immigration reform'"; emphasis at the end is mine:

Norm Adams wants Texas to find middle ground in the nationwide immigration debate.

The 65-year-old Houston insurance agent caused a ruckus Tuesday by presenting his "sensible immigration policy" -- a proposal that the Texas Republican Party reverse course and support a path to legalization -- to party faithful gathered in Dallas to prepare for their state convention.

His proposal is designed to secure the borders, deport noncitizens with violent records and give visas to illegal immigrants, who would pay taxes at a higher rate than citizens. In the process, he said, Republicans might regain countless Hispanic voters who shifted to the Democratic Party.

"The Republican Party needs to come together on a sensible immigration policy -- one that is not amnesty, one that is not deportation," Adams told a committee working on party platform issues. "If we get this passed, Texas will set the standard.

"I want this party to come together, folks," he said. "I hope and pray you people give this serious consideration."

Adams' proposal drew heated responses. More than 10,000 Republicans are expected in Dallas for their two-day convention, where they will approve a 2010 platform.

Sara Legvold, a delegate from Keller, was among those to speak against Adams' proposal.

"No compromises, no guest work, until we have our borders under control," she said. "I want to deport everybody who is illegal -- children, dogs, pets, birds.

"My compassion has dried up, just as my tax dollars have dried up."

Your compassion, your tax dollars, your brain, your soul. I hope your God calls you home very soon, Sara.

Update: they've got a three-way of nuts going for the chair.  Get your corn popped now.

-- The Greens made the ballot. Let the lawsuits begin. In Harris County, their candidates for county clerk and statehouse representative in District 144 will very likely be problematic for the Dems.

Update: once again via South Texas Chisme, the Greens won't be on the ballot if it turns out their Republican benefactor has violated the law:

Kat Swift, state coordinator for the Green Party in Texas, said the party's attorney is awaiting written confirmation that an outside group that bankrolled the effort is not a corporation.

Texas law forbids campaign contributions from corporations.

"Unless that paperwork comes through, all of it on the up and up, we're not moving forward with it," Swift said. ...

Swift said if the party gets written confirmation that it can legally list Take Initiative America as the in-kind donor, it intends to move forward and field candidates in the fall campaign. She said the group has until June 30 to make the decision.

-- After seeing Bill White's tax returns, an envious Governor Coyote Killer called for him to quit the race. It's just too funny. The comments in the Chronic are even running against Perry... no small feat.

Still no word on debates.

-- I learned this week that Boyd Richie has an opponent for chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. Talk about David versus Goliath Neck...

-- The Trib also reminds us that there is likely to... well, maybe possibly ... be a contest for Speaker of the Texas House next year, as Joe Straus has managed to alienate several Republicans and most all of the Democrats. Some history here about how speakers never used to serve multiple terms until the 20th century, and that the consolidation of power began with Billy Clayton, who was of course scandalized -- along with dozens of others -- by L'Affaire Sharpstown in the early '70's.

-- Tory Gattis has his post up about the charter amendment petition drive organized by Renew Houston. His conclusion:

So my feelings on the initiative are mixed: I agree with the concept, but have serious concerns about the details - especially the open-ended development impact fees.  Unfortunately at this point, the language is set - and I think that language will bring out some tough opponents in the fall.  In addition, this is shaping up as the year of the angry, anti-tax, Tea Party voter, which does not bode well at all for initiatives like this.  DOA?  Maybe.  We'll just have to see how it plays out.

So he thinks it makes the ballot but gets rejected by the voters. I believe that's a fair handicap of the race today.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ralph Nader, a Democratic primary against Obama, and better options

With this news, Ralph Nader is once again inserting himself into the process of a presidential election.

Worried the liberal voice is being drowned out in the presidential campaign, progressive leaders said Monday they want to field a slate of candidates against President Obama in the Democratic primaries to make him stake out liberal stances as he seeks re-election.

Ralph Nader warns that without an intraparty challenge the liberal agenda “will be muted and ignored,” the one-man primary will kill voter enthusiasm and voters won’t get a chance to reflect on the real differences that divide the Democratic and Republican parties.

“What we are looking at now is the dullest presidential campaign since Walter Mondale — and that’s saying something, believe me,” Mr. Nader told The Washington Times.

The group’s call has been endorsed by more than 45 other liberal leaders. They want to recruit six candidates who bring expertise ranging from poverty to the military.

I think Nader probably is going to find -- like Dick Cheney twelve years ago --that he is ultimately the best man for the job. And that is bad for progressives and the progressive movement, whether perceptible progressive movement is occurring within the Democratic Party (it is not) or outside of it (barely).

In its recruitment letter, the group faulted the administration’s handling of the Wall Street bailouts, the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the U.S. involvement in the military effort in Libya. They also criticized Mr. Obama’s decision to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and the recent deal he struck with Republicans over cutting spending to raise the debt ceiling.

“We need to put strong Democratic pressure on President Obama in the name of poor and working people” said Cornel West, an author and professor at Princeton University. “His administration has tilted too much toward Wall Street, we need policies that empower Main Street.

I have enormous respect for Dr. West and even agree with him for the most part. Nader is the problem here, however.

To be sure, there are plenty of Democrats who still hold a grudge against Nader for 2000. I believe that blame is misplaced, even when it comes from the most esteemed sources (.pdf). My rebuttal is that Theresa LePore, the Democratic elections administrator for Palm Beach County, Florida, designed a butterfly ballot so confusing that it caused thousands of elderly residents there to punch a chad for Pat Buchanan, thinking they were voting for Al Gore.

That's what most directly caused the defeat of Gore, IMHO, more than anything Nader did or did not do.

But Texas Democrats are also still litigating over the Texas Green Party's ballot access for 2012, secured not only with the generous help of prominent Republicans but also by the Democrats' own ineptitude at failing to field a candidate in 2010 for the state comptroller's contest. The Green in that race, Ed Lindsay, surpassed the 5% threshold to secure ballot listing for the GP in '12. I spoke out loudly against this unholy alliance at the time, but came around to the understanding that the Democrats did it to themselves.

So once more, misdirected outrage. But I digress.

Nader has actually accomplished things of great significance in his life, most notably automobile safety activism, but today is more of an egotistical geriatric -- a crank -- who appears to believe that only he is capable of representing the will of liberal people in the United States. He's sucked all of the oxygen out of the room for decades now, stunting progressive growth in this country in the process. If he spent time recruiting and training people to a/the cause in-between his various presidential bids (a la Wellstone Foundation, for example), I'd have more respect for him.

To Nader's credit, and unlike Jim Hightower -- a progressive who has reduced himself to mere grifter and attention whore ever since he endorsed Kinky Friedman for governor in 2010 -- he's never done anything solely for the money in his life, from what I can tell.

Anyway, I wish Nader wouldn't run at all for anything -- his time has long passed -- and I would really prefer that, rather than an Obama primary opponent, there be a significant and notable presidential challenge from the Green Party ... preferably someone whom Nader has 'blessed' to some degree or another (rather than take potshots at).

Maybe that's going to be David Cobb again. He's making the rounds in Texas next month as part of the "Move to Amend" effort. From the inbox:

The recent U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending on elections.

David Cobb, an attorney and organizer for the Move to Amend coalition, will be touring Texas from October 2-10 to help local residents understand the history behind the recent decision and how they can work to abolish "Corporate Personhood" and establish a government of, by, and for the people by joining the Move to Amend campaign.

David Cobb is fiery speaker and former Green Party presidential candidate. His talk "Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule" is part history lesson and part heart-felt call-to-action!

“Corporate Personhood” is the court-created doctrine that gives corporations constitutional rights intended for human beings. “Corporate personhood is not an inconsequential legal technicality. The Supreme Court ruled that a corporation was a ‘legal person’ with 14th Amendment protections before they granted full personhood to African-Americans, immigrants, natives, or women”, says Cobb.

Move to Amend is a coalition of over 132,000 people and organizations whose goal is to amend the United States Constitution to end corporate rule and legalize democracy.

David is available for events in these places and tentative dates if we can find folks on the ground who will help us out:
  • Bryan - College Station (Oct 2)
  • Huntsville (Oct 3)
  • Houston (Oct 4)
  • San Antonio (Oct 5)
  • San Marcos (Oct 6)
  • Austin (Oct 9)
  • Corpus Christi (Oct 10)
And wherever else you may be!

Update: Socratic Gadfly piles on.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Race for the White House Update: Live and Let Die


As Jimmy Kimmel observed, it's difficult to think of a better metaphor for the president's response to the pandemic than that.

-- Andrew Yang's lawsuit  was successful, and as a result Bernie Sanders is back on the June 23rd New York primary ballot.


I don't take this to mean any more than it is.  I do not anticipate Sanders re-entering the race for the nomination even if Sleepy Old Joe Biden withdraws or becomes "officially" incapacitated.  With so many of Bernie's former campaign staff having moved on -- to start Super PACs, with Nina Turner having joined the Movement for a Peoples Party and Briahna Joy Gray's full break with him -- I just don't see him getting the band back together.

If Biden has to check out ...


... then Tom Perez, the rest of the DNC, the superdelegates, et.al. are going to pick the nominee, and not the delegates at this summer's convention.  About that: it's 'On, Wisconsin'.


And while some Bidenites present convoluted logic for continuing to support him even when they believe he should drop out, all this speculation places tight focus on his choice for running mate.  The betting odds would seem to favor Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, but I'm still of the view that Amy Klobuchar or Gretchen Whitmer is ultimately his (or perhaps I should say, Anita Dunn and Jill Biden's) pick.  I discount Stacey Abrams for a variety of factors that I'll mention if I'm wrong and she winds up on the ticket.

Warren's replacement in the Senate (short-term; there was early gaming-out about this) would be a Republican.  And the last time Massachusetts held a Senate special election, Scott Brown won it.  Kamala energizes African American women voters, which may help in the South, but passing her over is perhaps a greater electoral danger than selecting her would be a strength.  Amy and Gretchen are ideologically and geographically the most compatible with Biden, as well as helping him swing the Midwestern states.

Otherwise my thoughts align with Perry Bacon's, who sees the Democratic Party strongly controlled by neoliberals, conservative Dems, former moderate Republicans, and #NeverTrump-ers.


-- That just ain't gonna be my party any more.  So with respect to the front-running third party for progressives, there were several breaking news items this week.


David Collins, the Texas Green Party's US Senate nominee, telegraphed this, and for my part I could not find any evidence that Ventura was publicly supporting Medicare for All -- despite him cracking on Mike Bloomberg for not doing so, back when MoneyBags was still in the primary -- during his "waters-testing" period, and this Tweet appears to reveal his hypocrisy regarding that.


Jesse can't afford an Obamacare policy?

Meanwhile, Howie Hawkins picked a running mate yesterday.


Walker was the vice presidential nominee of the Socialist Party USA in 2016, and ran as an independent on a Black Lives Matter platform for sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin in 2014.  Should Ventura actively campaign for this ticket, it could be an exciting fall season.

-- Justin Amash could also cause some trouble in November, as Geoffrey Skelley and Julia Azari write in FiveThirtyEight.com, but as posted in the last White House Update, it's not clear whether that trouble will be Trump's or Biden's.  In other Libertarian news, the party put off their national conclave, scheduled for later this month.

(Last Saturday, May 2nd), the Libertarian National Committee voted to:
  1. Invoke the “impossibility” clause in its convention contract with the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas; and
  2. Postpone the 2020 Libertarian National Convention to a place to be determined, and an opening date no later than July 15; and
  3. Adjourn their e-meeting to (this coming) Saturday to consider options for that move.

Thomas Knapp, the author there, has more thoughts at the embedded link.

-- A former Lib contender has repositioned.

New Hampshire state Representative Max Abramson, who previously sought the Libertarian Party’s 2020 presidential nomination before withdrawing in March, has decided to seek the presidential nomination of the Veterans Party of America.  Abramson broke the news last Tuesday on his campaign blog.  Last month Abramson told IPR that two different political parties had contacted him about running for their presidential nominations.  He did not specify which ones at the time.

According to Abramson, the Veterans Party of America is in the process of organizing for November on a platform of “restoring the Constitution and bringing the troops home.”  It plans to hold its national convention May 17 online.

The Veterans Party of America was founded in 2014.  In 2016, it ran reliability engineer Chris Keniston for president.  He appeared on the ballot only in Colorado and Mississippi and received 7,251 votes. ...

Although the party, which describes itself as “centrist,” is concerned with veterans’ issues, being a veteran is not a requirement for membership.

More about Abramson at the top link.

-- Trump will have a little competition from his right; the Constitution Party nominated former coal magnate Don Blankenship to be its presidential candidate last week.

Blankenship, 70, was the CEO of Massey, a coal mining company, from 2000 until 2010.  During his tenure, the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster killed 29 people in West Virginia. Blankenship blames the disaster on the negligence of officials from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.  The federal investigation that followed the disaster led to the prosecution of Blankenship.  At the criminal trial, the jury rejected three felony charges but found him guilty of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws, a misdemeanor with a prison sentence of one year.  The prosecutors were later found to have committed reckless misconduct due to their failure to disclose witness memoranda. Blankenship continues to maintain his innocence and decided to run for West Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat after leaving prison in 2017.

During the three-man 2018 campaign for the Republican nomination, at least 105 media outlets and individuals falsely described Blankenship as a “felon” and/or “convicted felon.”  Blankenship alleges the coverage implied his responsibility for the deaths in the mine disaster and cost him the election.  He sued for defamation and the case is currently going to trial.  After losing the primary, Blankenship joined the Constitution Party and attempted to run as the Constitution Party nominee for the seat but was denied ballot access.

Blankenship announced his intention to seek the Constitution Party presidential nomination in October 2019.  During his campaign he sought to out-Trump Trump, meaning he wanted to present himself as a better reflection of the President Donald Trump’s moment than Trump himself.  This included a populist platform of restrictive immigration and protectionist trade policies.

Ahead of the national convention, Blankenship participated in a few presidential debates and won the non-binding primary in Missouri.  He also won the binding primary in Idaho that effectively left him as the nominee of the unaffiliated Idaho Constitution Party.

Blankenship’s running mate, William Mohr, is from the Michigan Taxpayers Party, the Constitution Party affiliate in Michigan.  He ran on the party line for state legislature in 2012 and 2014, receiving 3 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, in those elections.

According to the April 2020 print edition of Ballot Access News, the Constitution Party is currently on the ballot in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


May do another electoral map next week as all these things settle out a bit.