Not Easy Votin' Green

Yes, I know that's a long-overused joke. But it fits here -- there's a presidential primary coming up, and nowhere in any media outlets have I seen any discussion of the Green Party's presidential candidates.

I understand why: in 2004, Peter Camejo won most of the primaries but the Party gave the nomination to David Cobb anyway, and Camejo bolted to run with Ralph Nader independently. Still, as I am a registered Green, I'd like to know which primary candidate I should support.

So I looked into who's actually running. . .

First, Ralph Nader. Well, his name's on the ballot, but he hasn't officially decided to run yet, and he even kinda-sorta endorsed John Edwards a while back. But now Edwards is gone, so Ralph may run again, despite the fact that almost nobody wants him to.

Another name on the ballot is Elaine Brown, but she angrily withdrew from the Green Party in December, saying, in part:

"In effect, the present Green Party leadership promotes a kinder, gentler capitalism, a moderated racism, an environmentally-sustainable globalism, which I cannot support. They are dedicated to the underside of the Party’s platform, which falls short of repudiating the capitalist state, source of all the social ills the Party would address. They equivocate by promoting “an economic alternative to corporate capitalism and a socialist state,” advocate a “re-formulation” of the IMF,NAFTA, so forth, and advance the institution of “stakeholder capitalism.”

Then there's Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia congresswoman best known in recent years for her altercation with security in Washington when they failed to recognize her as a Representative, ostensibly because she wasn't wearing her lapel pin. On the plus side, she's fiercely antiwar and a vocal advocate for Hurricane Katrina victims. On the minus side, she's a 9-11 "Truther" prone to conspiracy theories, and the right wing attack machine has been fairly successful as painting her as an extremist. Still, it's not like a Green's gonna win the presidency anyway, and she's probably the best bet if you simply want a really visible candidate.

Jared Ball is a professor of African-American Media Studies and Hip-Hop, who is "working with 'the mayor of DC hip-hop' Head-Roc and others to provide a hip-hop and progressive artist tour which will reach out to the Indigenous, Black, Latino and poor communities who will help us develop new bases of support for the Green Party. This style of campaign will be brash and powerful representing the necessarily unorthodox politics we need and which are represented best by the Green Party. We are not targeting Democrats, Republicans or others to 'steal' votes."

Kat Swift has been a Green Party activist since 1999, primarily in Texas, but her campaign site bio reads almost more like an online personal ad than an electoral pitch, so I now know that she loves dancing and her favorite animal noise is that of a monkey. Still, most people in America seem to vote for the candidate they'd most like to hang out with, and I'd totally hang with her, even though she's in a "committed partnership of seven years."

Jesse Johnson, not be confused with the guitarist for The Time, is the son of a policeman from West Virginia, and an actor who appeared as a pirate in Hook. He's the founder of West Virginia Film Investment, which tries to bring movie production to the state, and fought to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in WV last time around. More on Jesse here.

And finally there's Kent Mesplay, who works as an air quality inspector for San Diego, so his environmental credibility isn't in doubt. He also really seems to like his dog. I could write more on him but you'd do better to read through the long paragraphs at his site, if you're interested.

See these candidates, minus Nader and Brown, in a recent San Francisco debate by watching the movie below.


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