HuffPost distorts the truth (again)
For an author who describes herself as an investigative journalist, Gail McGowan Mellor sure plays fast and loose with known facts. Literally from the very first sentence, her portrayal of America’s political landscape is more impressionistic than realistic.
"For the first time in over 150 years, there is serious, realistic, public discussion of starting a new major political party…”
Really? As someone who was involved with the 40 state organizing project with the nascent national Green Party in the late 1990s, I am shocked that anyone could make such a claim. We were serious, realistic, and public enough that we received FEC recognition as a national political party in 2001. And serious, realistic, and public enough that the Green Party still gets blamed for the failure of the Democratic Party and its nominee in the 2000 Presidential election.
Notice I called our work before the turn of the century a “40 state organizing effort”. I point this out because the author mistakenly claims "The Greens had tried for 25 years to get on the ballot in every state.” Simply not the case. Greens knew in 2000, just as we know now, state ballot access laws are designed to keep non-duopoly candidates off the ballot. So we strategize accordingly.
But the author’s following claim is perhaps the most egregious, "After the loss in the Democratic primaries, Sanders folk took up the remaining needed petitions and got the Greens on ballots across the country. in two months."
They did? Well, I certainly don’t want to seem unappreciative of the help that many disenchanted democrats did to get Green Party ballot lines, but the author's gross exaggeration is not even remotely true. I should know, I was the campaign’s national ballot access coordinator.
Of the fifteen states which had deadlines after August 2 (the DNC concluded July 28), there were maybe five states that saw significant help from Berners gone Green, and honestly only one or two states that got ballot access primarily because of Bernie people looking to have someone to vote for.
Instead, we saw many, if not most, Berners still debating amongst themselves whether to write in Bernie or just not vote.
Another necessary clarification/correction: the author again exaggerates with the tale of the ‘offer’ Jill Stein made to Bernie. At no time did Jill say she would step aside for Bernie. What she did say was that she was open to dialogue with him.
But honestly, even if Bernie had wanted the Green Party nomination, AND Jill Stein had been willing to stand aside. it would have been an uphill struggle. The Green Nominating Convention was held August 7-9, in Houston. State Green parties had already held primaries and nominating conventions, and - surprise!- Bernie did not have a single pledged delegate. The author’s suggestion that the Green Party nominee could just give the nomination to someone else is beyond unrealistic.
My final comment to author Gail McGowan Mellor is this: there is no need to form a new party. The values you espouse in your piece as well as most of Bernie’s planks are already adopted and advocated for by state Green Parties from coast to coast. Your opinion piece makes clear that Bernie does not want to be the figurehead for your very laudable goal of breaking down the duopoly.
Meanwhile, the Green Party doesn’t have or want a figurehead. It has a platform. It has state parties. It has ballot lines. Between the quadrennial excitement of Presidential campaigns, state parties work to get people elected to local offices and to enact progressive policies. The Green Party would welcome an influx of energy and members who support our four platform pillars of justice, democracy, nonviolence, and ecology.
Rick Lass was the ballot access coordinator for the Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka campaign.