Massachusetts has three primaries on Super Tuesday–a Republican, a Democrat and a Green. (In MA, the Greens have made common cause with the Rainbow Coalition to form the Green Rainbow Party, GRP). But you would never know it from the declarations of Democrat Secretary of State William Galvin who in his public service announcements speaks only of the Republican and Democrat contests. This is especially damaging to the GRP, because in MA those who are not registered with any party, the so-called “unenrolled” voters are eligible to vote in the GRP primary. These are the most disillusioned and most likely to go Green. But such voters must ask for the Green ballot at the polling place. The people staffing the polling places are supposed to inform the unenrolled voters of all three options, but right now it is unclear if Galvin has so instructed them in a way that will guarantee it happens. Given Galvin’s public service announcements, that seems doubtful.
This is an outrage since the GRP had to work very hard to win ballot access after the “safe states” debacle of 2004 in which the GP suffered mightily at the hands of the DemoGreens who gained control and sought above all to protect the prowar John Kerry. So in 2006 the hard working Greens set about gathering signatures once again for a series of statewide offices, Governor, Secretary of State and Treasurer. The GRP candidates for Secretary of State, Jill Stein, and for Treasurer, Jamie O’Keefe, both won close to 20% of the vote, giving the GRP back its ballot status. And so the GRP is entitled to have a presidential primary this coming Tuesday. The ballots are printed and available at the polling places.
Not only that but both Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney, along with a number of lesser known candidates, will be on the GRP ballot. Ralph and Cynthia are certain to attract votes if the people know about the primaruy. But so far not a whimper out of Galvin, who is considered a “liberal” Democrat, or the mass media despite a steady stream of letters to the editor and op-ed submissions. So tell your friends in MA that there are three primaries afoot on Tuesday–and in two of them there are genuine antiwar candidates, Ron Paul in the Republican primary and all the candidates in the GRP primary. There should be enough variety there for everyone to cast a genuine antiwar vote, no matter your other beliefs.
Meanwhile inside the Green Party (GP) there have been numerous attempts to keep Nader off the ballot using very sleazy tactics. At the national level in a now notorious letter, Greg Gerritt, chair of the GP Presidential Campaign Support Committee (PCSC), called on Nader not to run for president. Although Gerritt identified himself as co-chair of the PCSC he acted without the knowledge of his committee. After being found out, Gerritt “apologized.” The same sort of thing happened in MA where a small group tried to prevent Nader from getting on the GRP primary ballot. Rejected by an overwhelming majority at the GRP state convention, this group returned to a lower body, the State Committee, last weekend with a motion that any votes for Nader would not go to him but be passed on to at-large delegates. This was an attempt to undo in committee what had been done by convention vote – just the kind of back room tactic that the War Parties are noted for. Once again the rank and file Greens performed admirably and by an overwhelming majority beat back this undemocratic maneuver. The party co-chairs and the State Committee meeting facilitators wanted nothing to do with this. Again the rank and file Greens did admirably. But as I write this, there is yet another attempt to derail Nader, one which will surely not succeed. For those who wonder why Ralph does not let his fortunes depend entirely on the Green machine, these examples should suffice.
So where does the strong animus to Nader by some Greens come from? It most decidedly does not come from McKinney who has way too much integrity to get involved in this kind of thing. But at times it comes from those who claim to be her supporters like the scalawag Gerritt. To some degree it comes from those in the GP who think only in terms of identity politics, for whom Ralph is a white guy and no more. (Why this would seem forward looking at this time is a mystery since identity politics lies at the core of the retrograde Democrat Party these days.) To some degree there are bitter feelings stemming from 2004 and the “safe states” strategy, which Nader refused to embrace and which brought the GP low. However there is a far more important dynamic at work here. If one attends to the rants of Gitlin and Alterman and their ilk, it is clear that the Dems fear Nader like the plague. A combination of the resources, which the Greens can command and Nader could muster, would allow a real anti-war, anti-corporate electoral run in all 51 states in 2008. The Dems will do anything to stop that–from lawsuits to conniving within the GP and fishing in troubled GP waters for whatever allies they can scare up.
In any event on Super Tuesday in MA there will be genuine antiwar candidates in both the GRP and Republican primaries. Cerainly worth going to the polls for. Pity that the Democrat Party, as usual, will only have hawks to offer us.
JOHN V. WALSH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is aware that he has not mentioned the candidacy of the noble Mike Gravel, but at this point one must consider his candidacy as dead as Kucinich’s.