I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Delilah (whose last name we're keeping out of this for now) may be the force around which the Green Party of Texas rallies and gains momentum for 2022. A relative newcomer to GPTX, she has brought fresh energy and a few folks willing to work on the campaign. These folks have come together mostly thanks to the Green Maps Project, and they have begun participating in GPTX business meetings.
Delilah is also new to the role of a candidate. As I hoped to capture in this interview, she brings the big-picture vision of the direction that our state and federal policies must take in order to help the people survive and even thrive. She brings a willingness to do what is necessary to raise the funds to make it all happen, and the infectious enthusiasm that will bring in volunteers.
The Greens can hope that the vision, the people, and the dollars will combine to work the necessary magic to poll 2% in 2022 and thus maintain ballot access for another ten years.
From the Vision Come the People
Below is a completely unedited recording of our Zoom interview conducted last Thursday afternoon, 11 February (44 minutes long, give or take). Sorry if it's a little rough around the edges.
It may take a few election cycles, but the process is underway. Given the way the Biden administration has started off—e.g., promising $2,000 survival checks immediately, then back-pedaling to a means-tested $1,400 eventually—there will be anger. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I foresee large-scale epiphanies among progressives that the Democratic Party is not their friend and never really was.
Is she completely polished, with easy command of all the right phraseologies and policy implications? Not yet, but she has plenty of time to work on that. It's also not unusual—even common—for Green candidates to be less than completely polished. There's a certain charm to not coming across as a professional politician, a bit like college radio (or, hell, Pacifica), but exhibiting that charm doesn't persuade great numbers to vote for you.
However, her elevator speech on Medicare for All is impressively concise. I asked for thirty seconds or less, and she fit it into ten:
"We have a moral obligation to save people's lives, it actually is cost-effective, and I don't see why we shouldn't."
Once you grab the voters' interest with the moral argument, then you can start laying out the details of the policy. Too many liberals and progressives either don't understand this or have trouble putting it into practice. Even the issue of climate disruption—which at root is about raw, unsympathetic data—has a moral component, which takes its most tangible form of environmental justice: It is our duty to rectify the disparities in the impact of climate disruption and ecological sabotage, which mostly affects the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
The governor of Texas officially has nothing to say about implementing single-payer healthcare nationwide. But Delilah mentions a few other possible avenues to expand healthcare within the state, a state which has among the highest percentages of uninsured residents. The death tool from the COVID-19 pandemic alone should provide the emergency powers a government needs to rustle up a public healthcare infrastructure that bypasses the insurance cartel.
Bringing the Stick
At a few points in the interview, Delilah floats the idea of "taxing the hell out of" the fossil fuel industry, corporations that have successfully avoided paying their fair share for decades while externalizing the costs of cleaning up the messes they leave. Those messes include some places where Delilah spent her youth: Galena Park on the Houston Ship Channel and Port Isabel in the Rio Grande Valley.
The additional revenue generated could go a long way toward paying for programs such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. (Not spending a trillion a year on oil wars and drug wars would also help, I would add.)
Speaking of externalized costs, Delilah also doesn't have a lot of love for real estate developers that keep plopping subdivisions in places that hinder the land's ability to absorb water, resulting in more frequent flooding even in the Hill Country. Under the current system, developers do not receive a bill for flood damage that their subdivisions have helped inflict. State and local government agencies should be willing and able to regulate where, when, and how housing is developed.