The Greens were hoisted into a fast growth plan in 2000 which they were not prepared to maintain after the election. That said, there has been remarkable organizational development in some states, Illinois, NY and Maine, chief amongst them; but these have grown out of local or state campaigns, not the Presidential.
I had a chance to film David Sirota the other week and in his new book,”the Uprising” he contends that progressive parties need to be looking to fusion as a way of building a third party – that historically, it’s impossible to simply create a party at the national level. He also suggests that we focus on economic issues as a fundamental link between diverse communities.
Fusion is a tough tact for Greens to take. Many of them wanted to have a “Green” candidate represent them in this election so that the party can stand out. However, the reality of the young organization and its fundraising mechanics is that they might still need to consider such choices because no rich, articulate and electorally ready angel that is a true green has adopted the Green Party and said, “I’ll run for President.”
At last year’s convention, there were a couple of Libertarians seeking the Green Party endorsement who promised that their fat coffers would carry them to the Presidency. One had even offered to fund our documentary – if we gave him control of it (LOL) ! Since then, their candidacies have shriveled on the Libertarian vine.
And if you doubt that a single rich person couldn’t organize and finance a national campaign, look at the well-backed Unity ‘08 effort. It smoldered away in 2007, despite money, media attention and organization. Even that coordination of ideas was too complicated a story for a soundbite addicted media to tell. Why write a thesis when the supermarket romance novella sells just as well.
The Green Party Convention begins in just two weeks. All of the Green Candidates will be feeding back lessons learned from this, the party’s second primary (first one in 2004 which was its own slice of party history). Don’t be mistaken, these candidates, will be looking at their own political futures with a new awareness of the demands of campaigning and the ability to raise funds. Some may return in 2012. Some might be much too busy/effective in their local and state politics to run a national campaign. I, for one hope the latter is the case because they are each wonderful humans with a passion for grassroots politics and we need people like that in our local and state offices NOW fighting for sustainable causes.
Whomever your candidate in this next election is, don’t hand her a Green towel – give her a real flag – with your insignia – to carry.