More on Nader and Greens
Did you see the headlines on websites and newspapers yesterday? Nader’s announcement he is running was a major story and got substantial coverage everywhere. Love him or hate him, people paid attention. I rather enjoyed called my Dad yesterday, jokingly saying, “Hello sir, I’m with the Nader For President campaign, and we were hoping you’d make a contribution”. Um, when he finally stopped swearing, we did laugh about it!
And therein lies one of the Green Party dilemma’s. Nader announces he is running and it makes worldwide press. When Greens choose a candidate in June at their convention, do you think it’ll make the lead story in Yahoo News, like Nader did today? Not a chance. They’ll be lucky to get two paragraphs on page 20 of the LA Times.
The Green Party had four years to find, groom, encourage candidates to run in 2004. The sad fact is they did practically nothing. There is no national structure for a Green Presidential run. In 2000, Nader brought his own people in, and they ran the campaign. They had to. There was no Green Party national structure for running a campaign in 2000 either.
There are many hard working dedicated Greens. The problem lies in the embedded-in-Green-DNA values of consensus and decentralization. These values, while noble in concept and well-meaning, in practice mean that things will always take an inordinately long time to do, that anything controversial will probably never pass, and that the few can always block the many from acting.
So, the squabble among Greens over Nader has probably precluded him from running as a Green (see below). Except for Peter Camejo – who favors Nader running as a Green – there are no Greens with any national stature. Thus, a nonentity Green running for President will, especially with Nader running, probably be almost completely ignored.
It’s no secret that some Greens are re-registering as Democrats to vote in the primary. If you factor that into the quite possible outcome of a Green Presidential candidate maybe getting 1% of the vote, then 2004 could signal the collapse of the Green Party as a national organization.
Greens need a plan, they need focus, and they need it now.