10 11 2012

One of the most popular archetypes depicted in The Iliad is that of Cassandra, daughter of Priam, the King of Troy, who was gifted by Apollo with the ability to see the future clearly.  She accepted his gift but rejected his advances, and so he added a little something to that gift:  she could forecast the future accurately, but nobody would believe her.  And that, my friends, seems to be the fate of the Green Party.

I said two weeks ago that I would be here tonight, “either crowing or eating crow,” and I’m sad to report that I have a well-baked crow on my plate tonight–and I’m a vegetarian!  Yeow!  Despite the best-financed and organized national Green Party campaign since Ralph Nader ran in 2000, Dr. Stein received only about 400,000 votes nationwide–by far the best Green Party showing since Nader’s 2.8 million total, but far short of our hopes and expectations. Her showing in Tennessee–6500 votes, about 0.26% of the total–was typical of her nationwide showing, which was about 0.3% of the national total.  Well, at least we weren’t  way behind the curve here.  But there are other peculiarities about that total, which I’ll explain a little later.

Martin Pleasant’s Senate campaign was our other statewide race.  We had hoped that the fact that the Democrat Party had renounced their elected candidate would result in a big bounce for Marty, but it was not to be.   Either there are a lot of Tennesseans who think Bob Corker is way too tame, or there are a lot of people who just aren’t paying enough attention to know anything more about who they’re voting for than whether there’s a “D” or an “R” after the person’s name.  “G”?  Does not compute!  Putative Democrat Mark Clayton pulled in 700,000 votes, a hundred thousand of them right here in Davidson County, where he nearly beat Bob Corker, while our man Martin Pleasant only got the attention of about 8,000 voters. Clayton actually won Shelby County. Maybe his strong anti-gay stance resonates with socially conservative African-Americans?  According to the Washington Post, Clayton raised less than $300 for his campaign.  A twentieth of a penny per vote.  I’m jealous.  Bob Tuke, the last “real” Democrat to run a serious Senate campaign in Tennessee, raised around a hundred thousand dollars and only got a few more votes than Clayton.

But hey, the Green Party seems to be everybody’s unwanted stepchild.  The Tennessean left Martin Pleasant out of their voters’ guide.  The Nashville Scene left him out, too, just as, nationally, Dr. Stein got nowhere near the level of attention the mainstream media paid to Ralph Nader.  Can’t let that happen again!

Here in Tennessee, we did a little better on our local races.  Read the rest of this entry »


4 08 2012

This story broke  late and may not make it on the air, but it’s too important to ignore.

The Green Party of Tennessee may have just gotten its two biggest breaks yet.

The first is that the District 6 Federal Court has apparently rejected the State of Tennessee’s appeal of Judge Haynes’ decision in February that ordered the state to list the Green and Constitution Parties’ candidates on the ballot as party candidates, not “independents.”  Tennessee Election Commissioner Mark Goins has been doing his best to close his eyes and make us disappear, accepting our paper work but refusing to list our candidates on the state website, but at this point he is going to have to capitulate, or face serious legal consequences.

Our other big break is the bizarre results of the Tennessee Democrat Party primary last Thursday, in which the nomination as Democrat Party Senate candidate was won by right-wing nut job Mark Clayton.  Was this the result of crossover voting by Republicans, computerized voting machine chicanery, or ignorance on the part of the voters plus Clayton’s name being first on the ballot?  We may never know, but the fact is that here in Tennessee, we have a situation analogous to what happened in South Carolina in 2010, when Alvin Greene, an indigent army vet who had been arrested on obscenity charges, won the South Carolina primary and became the Democrats’ sacrificial lamb, “born to lose” to Republican Jim DeMint.  Greene received about 27% of the vote, while the Green Party’s candidate, environmental activist Tom Clements, got 9% of the vote.  I’m surprised that the results weren’t reversed, considering Greene’s complete lack of qualification for the Senate, but he had the advantages of at least nominal support from the Democrat Party and a certain amount of “street cred” for being African-American.

Mark Clayton, on the other hand, will have neither of those factors working for him. Green Party candidate Martin Pleasant is clearly the most prominent progressive choice who will be on the ballot for US Senate in Tennessee this November–anybody else the state’s red-faced Democrats can convince to run will have to do so as an “independent.”

Sometimes,  when life seems dully predictable and likely to remain so, something extraordinary happens and throws everything up in the air.  This is one of those moments.  Glory Hallelujah!

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