Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Anonymous said...

I'm f****** tired of you slamming the greens. Democrats are republican lite, the greens are the future.

Dear Anonymous, First, I've decided that I don't want to deal with the dirty word issue so the stars.

Now, for what matters. Looking on the Green Party of the United States website I see that after almost a quarter of a century of effort they give the number of Greens holding office in the United States is 276. That is in the entire country. The person listed in Wikipedia as being the Green in the highest position in government is John Eder, a state legislator from Portland in my home state of Maine. Eder is, as the article states, someone you have to like and I do. He has been very smart about how he has leveraged his position in the legislature. But this changes nothing I said about the Green Party. It especially changes nothing I said about fact that the Green candidate for the Senate in Pennsylvania is a Republican tool.

So, fewer than 300 current office holders, none in a higher position than being the single Green in the Maine State legislature. If the Green Party is the future we don't have that long to wait. The Republican-fascists certainly won't. Better to go with the Democrats who have many times more leftists in higher office than the Greens have office holders in total.

There are also problems with multiparty elections (that is, more than two). I agree with the idea of having lots of parties, and coalition governments often result in a pleasant sort of benevolent neglect (since one extreme faction or other can't get the bit between its teeth and run away with the whole country), but there is the nefarious problem with vote-splitting. I don't actually think this has been a problem historically in the US (not even in the 2000 election, sorry; too much hinky stuff otherwise), but I've seen it over and over again in midlevel (neither national nor municipal) elections here in my home jurisdiction.

The last federal election I voted in, there were eight parties on the ballot in my electoral district. That kind of political map requires a completely different sort of political strategy, and I don't think US politicians think in that paradigm.
Interrobang, I used to be a third party romantic until looking at American history. In the entire history of the country there has been exactly one third party that has displaced another one, the Republicans in 1860. In all of the struggle to form another party there has never been one with more than a handfull of people in high office. I believe the Socialists reached a high mark with two congressmen in the 1920s.

The Greens in the U.S. have been at it for a quarter of a century now, the Libertarians about thirty years. Neither have much in the way of success.

Meanwhile the Democrats have a fairly good sized liberal-leftist caucus in the House of Representatives as well as in state offices. You even find the odd Democratic liberal as a state governor.

Given the third party's record of non-achievement and the infinitely more impressive record of liberal Democrats which one represents a more realistic path to gaining office and passing better laws?

I do envy some aspects of Canada's politics but the system here doesn't seem to allow that to happen here.
This is very interesting site... »
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