Jan Jarboe Russell has been writing a political column for the Express-News for at least a decade, maybe two. But judging from her naïve column this Sunday, you might think she was just starting out in the business.
Russell gave a glowing endorsement to the Green Party growth strategy being advanced by Houston attorney David Cobb, who helped to found the Green Party in Texas.
Russell acknowledges (a bit late) that Ralph Nader played the spoiler role in the 2000 election that helped popular vote loser George W. Bush win the White House. But she thinks a Green Party presidential bid by Cobb this next time around will be just fine because he has promised to only campaign in the “40 or so safe states.” (Golly, I’d sure love to have access to his crystal ball to know precisely which states those will be!)
Unlike Nader, Cobb says his only goal is to build the Green Party and not to win the White House. Of course, his promise not to campaign in the non-safe states only applies if the Democrats nominate a candidate who he agrees with. If Joe Lieberman or Wesley Clark get the nod then the deal is off, he says.
Cobb, of course, is an idiot. And it is sad that Russell can’t seem to recognize this. What Russell doesn’t seem to understand is that serving as a spoiler is the only thing a Green Party candidate can do on the national level. Just by placing his name on the ballot in every state helps to draw votes away from the Democrats and thus benefits the Republicans. It doesn’t matter where he decides to “concentrate” his time and efforts.
The 2000 election in Florida was so close (the official tally was less than a 200 vote difference) that it didn’t matter if Nader had campaigned there or not. He would have drawn enough votes away to tip the scales to the Republicans without ever stepping foot there during the campaign.
The Green Party is like a cancer eating away at the Democratic Party. Every vote that goes to a Green candidate helps to get a Republican elected. It is not just the presidential race in 2000 where this has happened. On at least two occasions in New Mexico the Green Party helped to elect Republicans to Congress in districts that would have gone Democratic otherwise.
Green Party drones argue that they are not taking votes away from Democrats because they are tapping into disenchanted voters who aren’t voting at all. But these are still the very voters that the Democrats need if the party is ever going to regain the majority. If these Green Party activists were really concerned about advancing the political goals that they espouse, they would join the Democratic Party and work to push it in a progressive direction. But by pulling out and supporting a third party in a two-party system is nothing short of political suicide. If we had a parliamentary system it might make some sense, but we don’t and we are not going to adopt one anytime soon.
Russell ends her column by warning that “another Nader candidacy helps Bush – again.” Yes, but so does any Green Party candidacy. Just remember, GREEN stands for Get Republicans Elected Every November!