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Greening the Elections

Adam Eidinger
Date Published: 
February 14, 2003

The Green Party of the United States is kicking ass. As the DC Statehood Green Party candidate for US “Shadow” Representative, I received 15,611 votes, nearly 14%. I placed second in a city dominated by Democrats. I didn’t win my campaign in the “capital of injustice,” but crossover voters accounted for the vast majority of my total votes.

Our strong showing on Election Day demonstrated that progressive ideals resonate with a growing segment of voters. A careful examination of votes on the precinct level showed that Greens have an increasingly larger share of voters under 30. In some neighborhoods, we received as much as 40% of the vote. Compared to the 2000 election, our fledging local party made gains across the board, receiving total vote counts higher than local Republican candidates.

Outside of DC, 71 Greens nationwide won races for school board, city council, mayor and state senate. Currently a record 170 Greens hold elected office. The good news doesn’t end there. The Green Party has grown to over 250,000 members with 39 affiliated state parties. Since the 2000 election, registered Greens grew by a whopping 27.7%.

To place this achievement in perspective, during the same period all other parties lost members. The Reform Party lost 18% of its affiliated membership, while the Democrats and Republicans lost 1% and 0.3% respectively. The only other nationwide category to gain was unaffiliated voters—so called Independents—which grew by 6.7%.

The Green Party’s biggest challenge will be to keep momentum going into 2004. In 2002, the party raised more than half a million dollars—five times the previous record in 2001. The national party has hired full-time organizers and created a modest national office in Washington, DC. Nevertheless, the greatest strength of the Greens continues to be the dedication of volunteers who are envisioning social change rooted in the interests of working people and the environment. In other words, the Greens continue to grow because we depend on people volunteering their time rather than employing a class of political operatives.

Corporate tutelage

Pundits say that politics is always about fighting the last election. If that’s true, the 2002 elections should be remembered as the year Democrats lost control of the entire federal government by poorly imitating Republicans. Whether it’s homeland security or invading Iraq, education or healthcare, the Democrats failed to articulate a plan for helping Americans meet basic needs. Instead, the Democratic Party, under the tutelage of corporate cronies in the Democratic Leadership Council, continued its race to the right in a futile attempt to steal Republican votes.

Case in point, enough Democrats voted with Republicans in Congress last year to give President Bush fast track trade authority and authorization for war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democrats were responsible for passing the Patriot Act and record spending on the military. Although it may be disgusting to see Democrats continue to claim they represent working people, their rightward retreat on issues has convinced many lifelong Democrats to embrace the Green Party as the sincere, uncorrupted voice of progressive social justice.

It’s no wonder as the field of white male Democrats emerges for the 2004 presidential race, both demands for universal healthcare and criticism of Bush’s foreign policy are reappearing. The Democratic Party’s image shifting shouldn’t be taken seriously. Instead, it should be treated as an act of desperation—Democrats have lost standing among progressives and are under attack from the left and right for their stand-for-nothing centrist platform.

It’s up to Greens to challenge conservatives in the years ahead. In 2003, the Greens will give an official response to President Bush’s State of the Union address that will illustrate a real alternative to the GOP. Additionally, Greens will join with social justice activists to criticize the “Sorry Ass” State of the Union on the streets of Washington, DC.

While the Greens will be marching outside the Capitol with people resisting tyranny and greed that night, Democrats will be sitting passively in Congress as dictator Bush praises the strength of America through a declaration of war on innocent people living thousands of miles away.

More information on the Green Party can be found at