FAQ on the Green Party, the 2016 election, and the Green nomination

Questions answered below:
Is Jill Stein the Green nominee?
Will Bernie supporters who "Go Green" be welcome in the Green Party?
Can Bernie run as a Green if he doesn't win the Democratic nomination?
Aren't the Green platform and Bernie's platform the same?
Why does the Green Party nominate candidates for president?
Why isn't the Green Party on the ballot in my state?
Will the Green Party spoil in 2016?
Shouldn't we vote for the lesser-evil Democrat?
• And more...

Q: Is Jill Stein the Green nominee?

A: No, but she has enough delegates at this time to win the nomination. Jill is competing with other candidates for the nomination, which will be decided at the 2016 Green Presidential Nominating Convention, Aug. 4-7 in Houston, Texas. See http://gpus.org/committees/presidential-campaign-support/2016-recognized-candidates

Q: Will Bernie Sanders' supporters and others who decide to "Go Green in 2016" be welcome in the Green Party?

A: Yes! Visit our Welcome Page.

Q: Can Bernie run for president as a Green if he doesn't win the Democratic nomination?

A: It'll be almost impossible for Bernie to launch a new presidential campaign after the Democratic convention. Many states have ballot-access and campaign laws with strict time constraints. Some states have "sore loser" laws prohibiting a candidate who lost in the primaries from running as an independent in the general election.

The Green Party has its own nomination process (see below). Bernie has not participated in that process and has not responded to communications from the Green Party inviting him to consider running as a Green. He has repeatedly pledged to support the Democratic nominee.

Bernie's speech delivered on June 16 confirmed that he will not pursue a campaign outside the Democratic Party.

Q: Would the Green Party support Bernie if he launched an independent campaign after the Democratic nomination?

A: The Green Party will support its own Green nominees for president and vice president. The Green Party of the United States doesn't support other parties' candidates or independents.

Q: Aren't the Green Party platform and Bernie's platform the same?

A: There are strong points of agreement, especially on domestic issues (e.g., the need for a Single-Payer health care system, living wages, restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act), enough for many Greens to feel a sense of solidarity with Bernie and his supporters. There are also sharp differences on foreign policy and military spending.

Greens advocate more extensive action on climate change and reorganizing the economy to benefit middle- and low-income working people and the poor. See the Green New Deal.

Q: How will the Green nomination take place?

A: State Green Parties and Caucuses have chosen delegates to the Green Presidential Nominating Convention by participating in primaries or holding statewide meetings and caucuses.

See the nomination rules page and Green presidential candidates page.

Read about the 2016 Green Presidential Nominating Convention.

Q: Why does the Green Party nominate candidates for president when it's so unlikely that a Green will win?

A: Greens are aware that a Green campaign for the White House is an extreme long shot. But there are plenty of solid reasons to run a Green presidential campaign and to vote for a Green nominee -- beginning with the democratic principle that one has the right to vote for the candidate that best represents one's interests and ideals without being told that only two parties are legitimate.

Every Green presidential campaign helps build the Green Party as an alternative to the two parties of war and Wall Street. The presidential candidates promote local and state Green candidates and raise money for them. Many local activists connect with the party for the first time though Green presidential campaigns. Local Green candidates learn campaign organizing skills from presidential campaigns, which helps them win elections.

Presidential campaigns help achieve ballot status necessary for state Green Parties, which helps local candidates get on the ballot. Some states require a presidential candidate on the ballot for a party to receive major-party status.

Green presidential candidates carry the banner for the party nationally, advocating ideas that are left out of the two-party contest. The Green Party is a plaintiff in two lawsuits demanding admission for alternative-party candidates to the fall presidential debates. If either or both of these lawsuits are successful, the Green presidential nominee will have a place on the debate stage and enable voters across the U.S. to learn what the Green Party stands for.

If the Green nominee receives at least 5% of the popular vote on Election Day, the Green nominee in the next election will receive funds from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). See http://www.fec.gov/info/chtwo.htm

Q: Is the Green Party running candidates for state and local office too, or only for president?

A: Greens are running for public office at every level in 2016. Hundreds of Greens have been elected in previous elections. Local election victories are a top priority for Greens as a grassroots party.

Read about some of our 2016 candidates.

Q: Is the Green Party only for environmentalists, progressives, radicals, and/or recovering ex-Democrats?

A: No. Greens come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The Green Party's platform and goals cover issues that concern everyone, from enacting democratic election reforms to living-wage laws to seeking peaceful solutions to international conflict instead of attacks and invasions.

Q: Is voting Green just a protest vote?

A: Every vote helps the Green Party grow. Every vote shows support for an alternative to the two parties of war and Wall Street. Every vote is an endorsement of the Green Party's positions and principles.

Many, maybe most, of the best ideas in US history came out of alternative parties and met strong opposition from the two ruling parties: abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, the eight-hour workday, workers' benefits, public schools, unemployment compensation, the minimum wage, laws against child labor, and programs like Social Security and Medicare.

A hundred years ago, Eugene Debs ran for president five times as a Socialist. He never received more than a few percentage points, but the ideas he and the Socialist Party promoted were adopted by FDR in the New Deal during the Great Depression.

Before D and R lawmakers enacted state ballot-access laws rigged against alternative parties, there were thousands more alternative-party elected officials. In 1916, five different parties were seated in Congress.

Q: Why isn't the Green Party on the ballot in my state?

A: We might be soon. The Green Party, with the help of presidential candidates, works hard every election season to win ballot access in every state. Please help us! Find your state Green Party here: http://www.gp.org/state_parties

Ballot-access laws are different in every state. In some states, the rules were designed by Democratic and Republican lawmakers to privilege their own candidates and obstruct alternative parties. State Green Parties have participated in law suits to overturn unfair ballot-access rules.

In 2012, the Green Party was on the ballot in 37 states including the District of Columbia. 82% of all voters were able to vote for Jill Stein, the 2012 Green nominee.

Q: Will the Green Party spoil in 2016?

A: Greens call the spoiler accusation a dishonest weapon used by major parties to eliminate competition from smaller parties. Those who are seriously concerned about the alleged spoiler factor should join the Green Party in demanding Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). See http://www.fairvote.org/rcv#rcvbenefits

Crying "spoiler" accomplishes three things:

  1. It conceals the failures of the larger political parties' candidates. In 2000, about 308,000 Florida Democrats voted for George W. Bush, while only 24,000 voted for Ralph Nader and nearly 3 million voters didn't bother to vote. Nevertheless, Mr. Nader was blamed for Al Gore's loss by Democrats who also ignored possible GOP election theft in Florida (more than 173,000 voters were purged), a biased Supreme Court ruling that handed Mr. Bush the White House, and Mr. Gore's own weak campaign.

  2. It suggests that alternative parties have no right to participate in elections.

  3. It distracts from the need for real democratic electoral reforms like RCV, Proportional Representation, campaign financing laws, and public funding for elections.

See this press release: http://www.gp.org/green_party_responds_to_stephen_colberts_repeat_of_the_spoiler_myth_urges_colbert_to_invite_greens_to_appear_on_his_show

Q: Shouldn't we vote for the lesser-evil Democrat, to prevent a Republican victory?

A: The Democratic Party's progressive supporters have been telling us to vote for the "lesser evil" for decades. They're doing the same in 2016 and they'll continue to do so in every future election.

The demand for lesser-evil voting, which pretends we have only two choices on Election Day, has kept the U.S. virtually limited to two parties. It has enabled the Democratic Party to move steadily to the right, because Democrats assume they can always take the votes of progressive, pro-environmental, and anti-war voters for granted -- while they must compete with Republicans for contributions and support from the wealthy and from corporate PACs.

By playing the lesser-evil game every election year, progressives have marginalized themselves and made goals like Single-Payer national health care more remote.

On some big issues, Hillary Clinton is not the lesser evil. Given her record of support for war, she is as likely -- maybe more likely -- than Donald Trump to order a new military invasion or attack. Despite her campaign rhetoric, Ms. Clinton is very likely to support dangerous trade pacts like the Trans-Pacific Partnership after her inauguration.

Despite their differences, both Democrats and Republicans are incapable of addressing the emergencies of the 21st century: climate change; corporate power and the increasing concentration of wealth and power among the One Percent; the shredding of rights and protections for working people and the poor; mass incarceration and deep racial disparities in the justice system; endless war.

No political revolution is possible if we retreat into lesser-evil voting. Change can only take place outside of the two corporate-money parties. That's why we call the Green Party an imperative for the 21st century.

More information:
Welcome to the Green Party: http://www.gp.org/w
Green presidential candidates: http://gpus.org/committees/presidential-campaign-support/2016-recognized-candidates
Featured Green candidates for state and local office: http://www.gp.org/featured_candidates
2016 Green Presidential Nominating Convention: http://www.gp.org/pnc-2016
Green Party nomination process: http://www.gp.org/2016-gpus-presidential-nomination