A DAY AT THE RACES/DEMOCRATS BEHAVING BADLY

11 03 2006

I’m pleased to report to you that the Green Party here in Tennessee is running its fullest slate of candidates ever in next Fall’s election. The Party’s recent nominating convention produced candidates for Governor, U.S. Senator, and 1st and 7th House districts, as well as a couple of local contests.

Howard Switzer, a resident of rural Linden, Tennessee, is the gubernatorial candidate. He is an architect by profession and one of the founders of the state’s Green Party. His wife, Katey Culver, a permaculture designer and also a founder of the Green Party, is running for the U.S. House against Marsha Blackheart—I mean Blackburn—in the Seventh District. Marcia Blackburn is famously from Brentwood, one of the richest zipcodes in the USA, but Brentwood was gerrymandered into the seventh district. It’s only connected with the rest of the predominantly rural, low-income southwestern Tennessee district by a narrow corridor, which also juts up to include Clarksville, a military town and Republican bastion. I guess our Tennessee solons brought in some consultants from Texas to do the last redistricting. Don’t want them poor folks electin’ someone who’ll actually represent ’em. No. Good luck, Katey—may you surprise us all, especially Marsha.

Chris Lugo, of Nashville, was nominated to run for Bill Frist’s Senate seat, which Bill, thank goodness, is vacating. Chris is in the cleaning and recycling business, and also runs the Tennessee Independent Media Center, a web-based alternative newspaper for those of us here in the midsouth. Full disclosure: a lot of my writing on local issues gets printed at the TNIMC website, and I volunteer my editing talents there also. Chris has a website for his Senate run, featuring his platform, which I think could pretty well serve as the platform for everyone on the ticket.

Robert Smith is the party’s candidate in the first district, which is in the far east of the state. He is a Vietnam veteran and a founding member of an ecovillage near Greenville, and a Native American off the Seneca tribe.

In the two green-tinged local races, Martin Pleasant is running for county commissioner in Knoxville, a race that is technically non partisan, and Jonathan Davidson, who has not sought the endorsement of the Green Party although he is affiliated with it, is seeking a Nashville-area house seat. There’s still almost a month to go until the deadline for filing (April 6), so more candidates may be in the wings. Stay tuned. I’m considering it—but I’d have to give up this radio show to do it. Why don’t you? Just go on down to your county electoral commission and get a petition, and find 25 of your friends to sign it, and you, too, can have your name on the ballot in November. There will be another chance for Green Party endorsement at the state party convention in May. I’ll be happy to help you any way I can.

That’s the good news. Now for the bad news.

First of all, you won’t know by looking at the ballot that any of these folks are running on the Green Party ticket. Due to the way the Democans and Republicrats have fixed the ballot laws in this state, a party has to win more than five percent of the vote in a statewide election WITHOUT its party tag on the ballot, in order to have its party tag on the ballot, or present a petition with the equivalent number of signatures on it, which comes to about 37,000. High hurdles….

Now, for more bad news. The Democrats are working to keep the Greens off all ballots, completely. H.R 4694 (“Let the People Decide Clean Campaign Act”) would grant full public funding to nominees of parties (i.e., Democans and Republicrats) that had averaged 25% of the vote for House races in a given district in the last two elections. All others (i.e., third party and independent candidates) would be required to submit petitions signed by 10% of the last vote cast for partial funding, and 20% for full funding.

Furthermore, candidates who don’t qualify for funding would be barred from spending any privately raised money on their campaigns. Ten to twenty percent of the last vote cast—that’s 35-70,000 signatures in the average congressional district. Just getting that many signatures, even with copious volunteer help, would require serious fundraising. This bill effectively cuts small third parties out of the U.S. electoral process in the name of campaign finance reform. We’re not the problem, but we’re getting fixed—like a dog gets fixed. Well, isn’t that nice?

Whatsamatter with you, you need more than two choices? How unAmerican! This is not something coming from the Republifacists, mind you. This is coming from people even a cynical Green like me is inclined to think of as the good guys. Barney Frank and Henry Waxman are two sponsors of this bill.

Barney Frank!!?? Greenbashed by the gays!! Barney, how could you!! And Henry Waxman!!??

Here’s the skinny: several of the other sponsors of this bill faced Green competition suggesting that their sponsorship is retaliatory. They will be facing Green competition again this year, I’m sure. Get used to it, people.

Commenting on this, D.C. Statehood Green Party activist T.E. Smith said, “The Democrats behind this bill have as little regard for democracy and open elections as Republicans who have used altered district lines and other methods to fix elections. Hiding this stratagem in a bill for public financing of campaigns makes it doubly shameful.”

“An obvious motivation behind HR 4694 is panic over a Green insurgency. Voters have realized that the Democratic Party has given President Bush and the GOP a pass on various abuses of power and radical actions, such as the invasion of Iraq and the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito, which most Democrats declined to filibuster. The time is ripe for a non-corporate independent third party, and many Democrats are worried,” added Mr. Smith.

Well, the good news about this bad news is that it is coming from the Democrats, and the Republicans aren’t likely to let it get very far. They like left-wing splinter parties that take votes from Democrats, y’know? So, the Republicans are good for something. Of course, if we were a serious threat to them, they’d sic Karl Rove on us without a second thought…one of these days, folks, one of these days.

music: Terry Allen, “Big Ol’ White Boys”

Comments

Chris Lugo’s new website is located at http://www.chris4senate.com/
Posted by webmaster on 04/07/2006 01:40:19 PM

and Robert Smith’s blog can be found here: http://1bigtree.tripod.com/robertnsmith_greens/
Posted by brothermartin on 04/07/2006 04:27:36 PM

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