June 14, 2002
Tapped vs. the Green Party

Tapped has been on the warpath lately regarding the Green Party (this post has links to a Salon piece—which requires a subscription— and an American Prospect article, which does not). Seems they are bent out of shape at the fact that the Green Party is now running candidates against "good" liberals such as Paul Wellstone, and it may be hurting the Democrats in their efforts to retain control of the Senate, and to take control of the House of Representatives. Tapped feels that the Greens should support the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, in order to keep the evil Republicans from running the show, even if the Democratic Party isn't an exact ideological fit with Green Party issues.

I wonder if they felt that the Reform Party should have supported the reform-minded wing of the GOP in 1992 (when Perot's candidacy doomed Bush's chances for a second term). How about the Libertarians? They scored enough votes in the 2000 election to topple Slade Gorton and make Maria Cantwell the junior senator from Washington. Neither of these groups have views entirely congruent with the GOP, but they could have worked inside the GOP to achieve their goals, but instead ran candidates which sucked away votes from the Republican candidates.

The Green Party is currently the largest third party in the United States (in terms of votes received in the 2000 election), due for the most part of the self-destruction of the Reform Party. However, like all minor parties, they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of electing a major candidate (Jesse Ventura was a fluke, and Angus King of Maine doesn't belong to any party). The last person initially elected to congress as something other than a Democrat or Republican was Socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont; there has never been a Libertarian, Green, Reform, or Natural Law candidate elected to a statewide or federal post (except for Ventura, who has left the moribund Reform Party). The only reason the minor parties exist is for the electorate to express their dissatisfaction with the current platforms of the major parties. This is not Europe, where multiparty coalitions form the government; our system is not set up as a parliamentary democracy, which is why third parties are less relevant in the US then they are elsewhere.

Full Disclosure: I am registered as a Libertarian, although my voting record is mixed. I cannot see registering as a Democat, but as long as the Republican Party retains its current cast on social issues, they will not enjoy my support.

posted on June 14, 2002 05:01 PM


Since the Republican and Democratic parties are essentially the same they should re-merge and the the Green party would be the second party.

posted by craine on June 15, 2002 09:48 AM

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