Is Ballot Access What The Green Party Really Needs?
For years, Green Party activists have excused their political party’s consistent electoral failures by complaining that they would do better, if only they were given equal ballot access, and if only their candidates were not excluded from publicized debates in which the Democrats and Republicans take part. Is it true?
The 2014 congressional elections are less than a year away, and campaigning has begun in most congressional districts across the country, so now seems like a good time to take an honest look at the state of the Green Party.
Thanks to the campaigning of Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala in 2012, there are Green Party affiliates on the books in almost all of the 50 states. However, in only 7 states is there even one Green Party candidate for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. There is not a single state in which there are Green Party candidates in the majority of congressional districts.
Here’s the condition of the Green Party in those states where there is some sort of activity in congressional elections:
In California, 98.2 percent of congressional districts have no Green Party candidate.
In Illinois, 88.9 percent of congressional districts have no Green Party candidate.
In Kentucky, 83.3 percent of congressional districts have no Green Party candidate.
In Maryland, 87.5 percent of congressional districts have no Green Party candidate.
In Michigan, 92.9 percent of congressional districts have no Green Party candidate.
In Ohio, 93.7 percent of congressional districts have no Green Party candidate.
In West Virginia, 66.7 percent of congressional districts have no Green Party candidate – and there are only three congressional districts in West Virginia.
Just what are people doing at Green Party meetings? Listening to subcommittee reports about the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
The brutal truth is this: Even if the Green Party had universal ballot access in all 50 states, and had guarantees of participation in all debates, the Greens would be guaranteed to lose in almost every election in the country in 2014 – because the Green Party hasn’t succeeded in finding a single person to volunteer as a candidate.
Let’s indulge in the fantasy that instant runoff voting could be instituted in time for the 2014 elections, as wonky Green Party activists say would be necessary to break the corporate duopoly. We can see, from the state of congressional elections across the country, that an instant runoff election system wouldn’t make any difference at all for most Americans, because they wouldn’t have any Green Party congressional candidate to vote for.
The Green Party can talk all it wants about how corporations control the system, and how the electoral system is rigged, but these complaints are insignificant in comparison to one much more basic problem facing the Green Party: Most of the time, it forfeits the match before it has even begun.
I don’t see any sign that the Green Party of the United States is acknowledging this problem. Instead, I see the Greens celebrating that one of their candidates won a seat on board of the Norwalk-La Miranda Unified School District.