FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Will Greens Abandon IRV?

 

The Blob is coming. That amorphous ever-changing thing that swallows up whatever tries to live on its own is coming after Greens. But waitlookis it really the Blob? Or is it the Democratic Party?

The Green warrior waves his weapon to slay the hideous slime-creature. On it is scratched “IRV.” Is the Green dropping the weapon? The 2004 election says, “Yes.”

The demand for Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) has been a key element in building the Green Party as an inde-pendent political force. If there is an actual or de facto abandonment of IRV, entry of Greens into the Democratic Party is only a matter of time. IRV means that voters get to rank order their preferences. In the 2000 election, people often explained that with IRV, they could rank Ralph Nader first, Al Gore second and whoever third. If Nader was not one of the final contestants, their vote would transfer to their second choice, Gore.

Between 2000 and 2004 the Democratic Party let out a non-stop whine that the Greens had “spoiled” the election. One of the rarest answers that Greens gave to this attack was that if the Democrats would work to im-plement IRV, they would have nothing to fear in future elections. Of course, with a few exceptions, Democrats have no interest in implementing IRV. Many are well aware that IF Ralph Nader were allowed in presidential debates and IF there were IRV, Nader would win a huge number of votes, perhaps even more than the Democrat.

Democrats would rather lose races to Republicans than give the Green Party the chance to replace it. This is what Greens should have been saying. Instead, a large portion of Green leaders caved in to the Democrats and echoed the argument that their major goal should be preventing the election of Republicans.

In the middle to late 1990s, many Greens used to say that they hoped that they would spoil elections because this would be the only way to push Democrats into working for IRV. After 2000, this argument was noticeable by its absence. It was replaced by a Pollyannaish fantasy that if the Greens would be nice to Democrats then Democrats would support IRV. As if Democratic bosses wanted to do anything to the Green Party other than ex-terminate it.

The election of 2004 set the precedent: if polls predict a close race for president, the Greens should bow out. This logic means that if Greens predict that a state-wide race for Governor or Senator might be a toss-up, they should not run a candidate, no matter how awful the Democrat is. And the same logic keeps Greens out of tight local races. It means that Greens should focus on races where their participation will not hurt a Democrat or run in races where candidates do not declare their party. In other words, other than those highly exceptional locations (such as San Francisco) where Greens can win, they should expend the greatest energy when they are the most irrelevant.

If the Green Party accepts that it should not run a candidate when the Democratic Party shrieks at it, what is it to do? One option is fusion, which means a party can nominate the candidate of another party and the candidate appears on the ballots of two parties. Greens could pretend to be an independent party functioning as an append-age of the corporate Democratic Party.

If this happens, some Green newcomer who does not carry the baggage of rationalizing political twists and turns is likely to ask, “If we only run candidates when the Democratic Party tells us we can, if we nominate the same candidates as the Democrats, and if we work for Democratic candidates we don’t nominate, why don’t we admit that we are Democrats?” The “safe states” emperor can fuss and fume about “Green values,” but his nakedness is exposed.

Many Greens-for-Kerry are falling into the same Democratic Party black hole that co-opted US progressives since before their grandfathers were born. They may claim to be Green for a few years (or a few weeks), but either they or their successors will not be satisfied with their pragmatic mug yearning for votes as a Democrat while their wump is still dragging the Green Party down.

If Greens are going to build a genuine political alternative they will have to rediscover IRV. They will have to loudly proclaim that the Democratic Party is costing itself elections by denying voters the right to rank order candidates. Otherwise…

What do two Greens say to each other as they start to disappear? “See you inside the Blob.”

DON FITZ was Coordinator of the 2000 Eastern Missouri Campaign for Ralph Nader and is editor of Synthe-sis/Regeneration: A Magazine of Green Social Thought. He can be reached at: fitzdon@aol.com

 

More articles by:

Don Fitz (fitzdon@aol.com) is on the Editorial Board of Green Social Thought, where this analysis was originally published. He was the 2016 candidate of the Missouri Green Party for Governor. His articles on politics and the environment have also appeared in Synthesis/Regeneration, Monthly Review andZ Magazineas well as many online publications.Don Fitz writes for theNew York Journal of Bookswhere a brief version of this review appeared.  

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail