RETURN OF THE GREENS

TIME reports that the Greens appear primed to make a repeat performance in 2004, throwing yet another hurdle in the way of prospective Democratic challengers to President Bush.

Democrats hoping the Green Party would stay out of the 2004 presidential race appear to be out of luck. At the Greens’ national committee meeting held in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, the discussion focused more on who and how, rather than whether or not, to run. Ralph Nader and former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney are the best-known of those considering a bid for the party’s nomination, but at least four others–three of whom appeared at a candidate forum during the meeting–are ready to enter the fray.

In strategy discussions last Friday, party activists were asked to stand in different parts of the room according to the option they favored: run a presidential candidate in an all-out nationwide campaign; run only outside battleground states to avoid siphoning crucial votes from the Democratic Party candidate; or simply support whichever Democrat gets the nomination. Running an all-out campaign was the overwhelming favorite. Some Greens–including Nader, the party’s candidate in 2000–have indicated they could support Rep. Dennis Kucinich, one of the pack of Democratic presidential hopefuls. But, said Green Kevin McKeown, mayor pro-tem of Santa Monica, “waiting for the Democratic Party to nominate Dennis Kucinich is like worrying about what brand of ice skates to buy in case hell freezes over.” Also weighing on the decision are strict ballot rules in some states that would preclude the Greens from putting up candidates for local races if they don’t offer a presidential candidate.

Very interesting. Absent a comparable challenger from the right to siphon off Bush votes, this is obviously bad news for the Democrats. And, frankly, while that’s good news for my side, quite baffling. Clearly, almost all of the Green voters from 2000 would have preferred an Al Gore presidency to a George W. Bush presidency, yet they helped bring about the latter. Obviously, the thing for Green-minded persons to do is emulate the Christian conservatives of the late 1970s and early 1980s and organize to gain more power within the party closest to them.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.