Green Party Claims 2008 Victories

Despite receiving little attention for their 2008 presidential campaign, the Green Party is claiming a small number of victories across the United States.

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Despite running a presidential campaign that received little coverage both nationally and locally, the Green Party is claiming some victories in the 2008 election.

According to the third party, the Green Party’s candidates for the United States House of Representatives doubled the number of votes they received in 2006. The Party set a new record for the highest percentage of votes received by a Green candidate, with Deb McFarland receiving 23.33% of the votes in Arkansas’ 2nd District. The Party also received its highest percentage ever for a House candidate with Rebekah Kennedy receiving 20.59% of the votes in the US Senate race in that state.

Aside from record vote totals in those two races, the Green Party also won some victories. Among the more significant ones cited by the Party:

* Richard Carroll was elected to the Arkansas State Legislature, representing District 39

* Bruce Delgado was elected Mayor of Marina City, Monterey County, California (pop. 25,000). Mr. Delgado joins California Green mayors Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond and Craig Litwin of Sebastopol.

* Ross Mirkarimi was reelected to his District 5 seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in California, with 77% of the vote.

* The District of Columbia had the greatest number of Green victories on November 4, with seven DC Statehood Green Party candidates elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission seats

Here in Michigan, Green Party candidate Korine Bachleda won reelection as Newberg Township Clerk in Cass County.

As of October 20, 2008, 225 Greens held office across the United States.

Third Party Vice Presidential Debate

Last night, vice presidential candidates from several of the third party presidential campaigns held a debate in Las Vegas.

Yesterday, some of the third party vice presidential candidates gathered for a debate in Las Vegas at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Unlike the highly scripted and vague vice presidential debate held by the two major parties last month, the third party VP debate offered a wide range of perspectives far outside of what one traditionally hears:

Watch live video from The REAL Vice-Presidential Debate on Justin.tv

Watch the rest of the debate:

  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • Part 5
  • Part 6
  • Part 7
  • Part 8
  • Third Party Presidential Debates Held, but Ignored by Media

    Yesterday, third party presidential candidates debated in Cleveland. Unfortunately, only CSPAN bothered to air and cover the debates.

    Unlike the major party debates which get tons of news coverage and are aired in their entirety on network television, third party presidential debates generate little news coverage.

    Yesterday, independent candidate Ralph Nader, Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr, and Contstitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin debated in Cleveland. CSPAN has the debate available online, but aside from them, most channels opted not to cover it. As a contrast to the highly scripted and exclusionary major party debates, there was no criteria used to exclude candidates.

    Video from a previous third party debate is also available:

    On Sunday, there is a third party vice presidential debate planned.

    Local News Reporter Argues Media is only Thing Making Third Parties Visible

    Suzanne Geha–a news reader at WOOD TV 8–has written a post on her blog arguing that the corporate media’s coverage of third party candidates it the only thing making their campaigns “visible.” Of course, there is next to no coverage of those campaigns.

    Sometimes, the only thing more painful than watching the corporate media is hearing its reporters justify its failings.

    Yesterday, Suzanne Geha–a news reader at WOOD TV 8 here in Grand Rapids–wrote a post for her blog about third party candidates. According to Geha, the corporate media is the only thing that informs people of third party candidates–some of whom aren’t even bothering to campaign. Geha writes:

    “Guess what? There are candidates on your ballot who aren’t campaigning, not one bit, nada. They’re running for office, but you wouldn’t know it. They’re not making any public appearances, not going door-to-door, not holding rallies or fundraisers, not spending any money on pamphlets, yard signs, phone calls, ads. At least one I spoke with doesn’t have a computer or fax; another I spoke with hasn’t watched t.v. in twenty years and claims to be too busy to campaign.

    So I felt compelled to ask, “Why is it you’re running for office?” One told me to bring name recognition and to promote her third party. When I asked another third party candidate why he’s running, he answered with a question mark.

    It brings me to this point. For many third party candidates in your local races, the only way you’ll see or hear or read anything about them is because the media make sure we include them in our election coverage. That’s the only way they’re on air, on line, or in the newspaper. So check out this website and catch us on the air to see who’s who on your ballot.”

    Of course, some of this jumps out as immediately ridiculous. For starters, Geha never mentions the candidates with whom she spoke. But more importantly, Geha’s statement is riddled with false information. Most often, the media does not include third party candidates in local, state, and national races. Sure, they might mention them, but that hardly is sufficient means of covering them–especially compared to the coverage given to major candidates. Third party candidates are typically excluded from most coverage or relegated to the local media’s online coverage. She also fails to mention that third party candidates face a number of structural hurdles from ballot access to fundraising that make it hard for candidates to compete.

    To their credit, WOOD TV 8’s website does have a better voters guide than WZZM 13. For example, in the 3rd Congressional district race, they have video interviews with all of the candidates running–including Libertarian candidate Erwin Haas. The channel does provide links to each of the candidates’ websites, but does not link to any independent websites that would allow voters to look at incumbent Vern Ehlers’ voting record.

    However, in other races, they don’t fair as well. There are no interviews with the candidates for US Senate in Michigan and the channel fails to list three candidates in the race. Similarly, for the Michigan House of Representatives, there are interviews with only some of the candidates. WOOD TV 8 says that they invited all of the candidates to do an interview, but some were unable to fit it into their schedules. While this is understandably frustrating, it does not excuse the fact that no attempt to provide voters with additional online information was made.

    Moreover, WOOD TV 8’s flagship politics show “To The Point” has only featured candidates from the two major parties since the start of the election. When the show covered the presidential election with interviews from the candidates, it focused exclusively on the two major party candidates.

    Over here at MediaMouse.org, we’re not convinced that the corporate media–including WOOD TV 8–is really doing all that much to make third party candidates visible. In fact, if the “only way” they can hope to get noticed is through the local media, they had better all give up now–because they don’t have a chance.

    Nader Campaign Holding Grand Rapids Event

    Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign–which has been largely ignored by the local media–is hosting an event tomorrow in Grand Rapids.

    The campaign of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader–who has been largely excluded from local and national coverage of the presidential race–is holding an event tomorrow in Grand Rapids:

    “Grand Rapids Community College

    Applied Technology Center, Room 234

    Wednesday, Oct 29, 5:00PM

    Ashley Sanders is the youth spokesperson for the Nader/Gonzalez presidential campaign. She will speak on the major issues of this election, take questions, and engage in discussion with students and community members.

    You don’t need to be a supporter or even be interested in politics to attend. We invite non-supporters to come and ask questions.”

    Nader’s campaign recently opened an office in Lansing. Nader is polling at only 1% according to the most recent poll, although earlier polls ranked him as high as 6% and 10%.

    Third Party Candidates’ Election Fundraising is Less than Obama Raises in a Day

    The third party candidates for president this election have collectively raised less all campaign than Democrat Barack Obama averages in a day. Its another example of the many challenges facing third party candidates.

    This election year, MediaMouse.org has reported on a number of the difficulties facing third party candidates for president. We have covered the difficulties candidates face in getting on the ballot, their frequent exclusion from debates, and their exclusion from media coverage. Many of these methods of marginalizing third parties are institutionalized by laws and policies deliberately designed to make it difficult for candidates to operation outside of the two party system.

    Another area in which third party candidates face nearly insurmountable difficulties is fundraising. The Center for Public Integrity recently reviewed third party fundraising and found that it pales in comparison to the major party candidates. Ralph Nader’s independent campaign has raised the most out of third party challenges, taking in $3.7 million. His total is more than triple that of the next closest, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, who has raised $1.1 million. Other candidacies don’t even come close to that amount, with Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney raising only $177,915, Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin raising $241,934, and independent candidate Alan Keyes raising $415,000.

    By comparison, Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama has raised $621 million and Republican candidate John McCain has raised $371.3 million. In September, Obama’s daily average–over $5 million per day–was more than that raised by third party candidates all election.

    Of course, the candidates’ fundraising difficulties are intertwined with the other challenges facing them. Few people will see them as viable candidates worth their financial support if they don’t receive media attention, yet the media often dismisses third party candidates as not having “visible” campaigns. Yet, how can they be visible if they don’t have the money to travel the country, pay organizers, and receive the free media coverage given the major party candidates?

    Third Party Candidates Excluded by National and Local Media

    A new study by FAIR has found that third party candidates are largely excluded from the major newscasts’ coverage of the presidential election. Unfortunately, the Grand Rapids Press is also excluding these candidates.

    A new review by the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has found that third party candidates are largely excluded from major newscasts’ coverage of the presidential race:

    “According to a Nexis news database search of the major network newscasts, McKinney’s name has never been mentioned this year on the networks’ news programs, while Barr and Nader’s candidacies have garnered a total of only 31 mentions between them (15 times on ABC, 12 times on NBC and 4 on CBS). Including the Fox network– which airs Fox News Sunday on its broadcast affiliates–yields one passing mention of Nader, and an interview with Barr (6/29/08). PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer offered passing mentions of Nader and Barr when they announced their candidacies (2/25/08, 5/12/08); more recently, the show has interviewed each of them one-on-one (10/14/08, 10/20/08).”

    The context in which Barr and Nader have been covered is worth examining; by FAIR’s count, many of the references to the candidates dealt primarily with the potential effect on the fortunes of the major-party candidates–i.e., whether a third-party candidate would be a “spoiler.” That accounted for 11 mentions of Barr and Nader.

    Passing mentions of Nader or Barr accounted for another 13 mentions; four of these were joking or mocking references to Nader. (ABC’s This Week includes humor clips from late-night talkshows, two of which included Nader as a punch line.)”

    Here in Grand Rapids, third party candidates have also been largely ignored by the corporate media. A search of the city’s only daily newspaper–The Grand Rapids Press–finds limited coverage of the candidates and next to no coverage of their policy positions.

    Independent candidate Ralph Nader was mentioned in the Press 8 times. However, most of this coverage was negative including two columns attacking Nader. Most of these mentions were exactly that–mentions–tending to be under one-hundred words. The only article written by a Press reporter about the campaign focused on whether or not Nader would be a “spoiler” this election.

    Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has been mentioned only once in 76-word mention that she has chosen a “hip-hop running mate.”

    Libertarian candidate Bob Barr has been mentioned 6 times. Like Nader, his mentions–almost always brief and without information about specific policy recommendations–focus on his potential to act as a so-called “spoiler.”

    Far right Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin was mentioned in the Press the twice. Unlike the other third party candidates, an article on the Party–focusing on its decision to locate its headquarters in Wyoming–contained a short list of policy positions. The Press reported that Baldwin seeks to balance the budget, stop undocumented immigration, abolish federal income tax, slash government programs, seal the border with Mexico and get U.S. troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan “as expeditiously as possible.”

    Unfortunately, the Grand Rapids Press continues to treat third party candidates as insignificant curiosities, just as the national media does. However, by taking this position, the Press contributes to the candidates’ further marginalization and prevents the possibility of more voices entering debate.

    Antiwar Group Releases Candidate Comparison Including Third Party Candidates

    The antiwar group United for Peace and Justice has released a new voter guide comparing five candidates for president on foreign policy and war related issues.

    As part of its ongoing effort to keep the antiwar movement visible during the 2008 elections, United for Peace and Justice has produced a new voter’s guide that offers a side-by-side comparison of the five most serious candidates for president on issues of war and peace. Unlike previous guides, this one includes Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney and independent candidate Ralph Nader, as well as Libertarian candidate Bob Barr.

    The comparison:

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    Third Party Candidates Offer Radically Different Solutions to Wall Street Crisis

    Third party candidates Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader are offering a variety of radical solutions to the Wall Street crisis while the two major party candidates are grudgingly accepting a bail out package that would primarily benefit large Wall Street firms.

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    While major party candidates Barack Obama and John McCain are grudgingly accepting the terms of the $700 billion bail out package, left/progressive third party political candidates Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader are offering radically different solutions to the financial crisis. As there has been no coverage of their positions in the corporate media–and indeed little coverage of any ideas beyond the status quo–we feel it is worthwhile to outline their solutions below.

    Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney has offered a fourteen point plan to both address the current situation and to provide long lasting reform on Wall Street:

    1. enactment of a foreclosure moratorium now before the next phase of ARM interest rate increases take effect;

    2. elimination of all ARM mortgages and their renegotiation into 30- or 40-year loans;

    3. establishment of new mortgage lending practices to end predatory and discriminatory practices;

    4. establishment of criteria and construction goals for affordable housing;

    5. redefinition of credit and regulation of the credit industry so that discriminatory practices are completely eliminated;

    6. full funding for initiatives that eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in home ownership;

    7. recognition of shelter as a right according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to which the U.S. is a signatory so that no one sleeps on U.S. streets;

    8. full funding of a fund designed to cushion the job loss and provide for retraining of those at the bottom of the income scale as the economy transitions;

    9. close all tax loopholes and repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners; and

    10. fairly tax corporations, denying federal subsidies to those who relocate jobs overseas repeal NAFTA.

    11. appointment of former Comptroller General David Walker to fully audit all recipients of taxpayer cash infusions, including JP Morgan, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG, and to monitor their trading activities into the future;

    12. elimination of all derivatives trading;

    13. nationalization of the Federal Reserve and the establishment of a federally-owned, public banking system that makes credit available for small businesses, homeowners, manufacturing operations, renewable energy and infrastructure investments; and

    14. criminal prosecution of any activities that violated the law, including conflicts of interest that led to the current crisis.

    Additionally, the Green Party proposes a variety of measures beyond what Cynthia McKinney has proposed including various measures aimed at “democratizing” Wall Street.

    Longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who is running as an independent candidate for president, is highly critical of the most recent bail out proposal and is urging Congress to take the time to develop well thought out legislation. He calls for changes that would include:

    * Provisions for homeowners to stay in their homes in default, or rent them at market value.

    * A cap on executive compensation and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.

    * A stimulus package for infrastructure repair and upgrade to generate new community jobs.

    * Comprehensive regulation of and disclosures by the financial industry and Wall Street to prevent this from occurring again.

    * Prudent margin requirements on derivatives trading and a tax on securities derivatives transactions.

    * Shareholders control over the corporations they own.

    * Tougher criminal enforcement against culpable firms and executives.

    Nader has provided extended analysis of the bail out in recent interviews with the University of Southern California and Democracy Now.

    Ron Paul Endorses Rightwing Presidential Candidate Chuck Baldwin

    Ron Paul–the Republican candidate who was lauded by several progressives for his opposition to the Iraq War in the Republican primary–has endorsed the candidacy of Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party.

    Ron Paul–the Republican congressman who ran in the primaries earlier this year for the Republican nomination–has endorsed the presidential candidacy of Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin. While being the third largest political party in the United States, the Constitution Party is a far right political party. For those on the left who supported Paul because of his opposition to the Iraq War while ignoring his stance on other issues such as immigration and racism, Paul’s endorsement of Baldwin should act as a final reminder that Paul was always a candidate of the right.

    The Constitution Party has its headquarters in Grand Rapids.