I would like to express humble and sincere gratitude to David Martin Davies and Texas Public Radio for the opportunity to present my case on yesterday's Texas Matters podcast. My conversation with Davies, which lasted about 20 minutes, was edited down to about ten. It means a lot that Texas and US media outlets are even recognizing the existence of the Green Party, even if it took something like getting kicked off the statewide ballot for them to notice.
I hope that nobody listening to the podcast gets the idea that I am personally bitter or even upset about my candidacy being canceled; however, I am appalled at how establishment Democrats resort to such tactics, and not just in Texas. In the next week or so I hope to post a summary of party-suppression activities in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.
I am also grateful that the latter part of the interview did not survive the editing process. Davies tacked into the same question that media types have been asking Greens, when they do bother to cover us, for the last 20 years, to which we have been giving the same answer for 20 years, and which media outlets never seem to remember. It was, of course, the Dreaded Spoiler Effect Question!
As is my habit, I answered the question Davies asked. I did not redirect the question into something like Y'all have been asking that same question since 2000, and our answer hasn't changed much, so can we please move on to questions of policy, and how our platform addresses hot topics like climate disruption and killer cops? I'll admit, I got a bit testy, and I hope that Davies knows that my testiness was directed at the hackneyed question, not at him personally for asking it.
So I testily ticked off some of the arguments disproving the Spoiler Effect and offered Ranked Choice Voting or Approval Voting as a solution. Davies went with the standard That's not the system we have, and I countered with That's the system we should have if we really care about democracy. Changing our state's voting methods would require an amendment to the Texas Constitution, which must pass both houses of the Legislature and then be approved by popular vote; it's a tad more burdensome than the referendum in Maine that adopted Ranked Choice Voting statewide (and which has survived multiple legal challenges).
Part of the reason for my gratitude is that I made a boo-boo during that part of the conversation—possibly two:
- On the question of Jill Stein "spoiling" Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin four years ago, I may have fired back with something like Let's talk about the numbers of folks in those three Rust Belt states who voted for Obama in 2012 and 2016, then switched to Trump in 2020—far greater numbers than those who voted Green. I don't have that portion of the interview to verify whether I got the years wrong in the heat of the moment.
- In that same part of the conversation, I know that I said something along the lines of The Democrats can't keep their own voters on the ranch. Big oops. As Greens and Libertarians are fond of saying, there's no such thing as a party's own voters. No party or candidate owns your vote; they must earn your vote. Despite my unfortunate phrasing, the point is that Democrats (in general) kvetch about Greens and other left parties because they believe themselves entitled to all votes to the left of the political center. That's why the party leadership talks a progressive game, but their actions reveal their contempt for Progressives.
As David Cobb has observed many times since 2000, the Democratic Party is where progressive ideas go to die. I observed it myself when I was a Jerry Brown delegate to a Senate District 15 convention in 1992. That's precisely the problem in the Age of Trump: Progressive Cassandras have been howling about how you have to defeat populism with populism, while the Democratic Party keeps trying to rebrand itself as a force of moderation as it embraces the Military-Industrial Complex and the Corporate State more tightly each election cycle.
Meanwhile, half the voting-age population doesn't vote, having found nothing to vote for in the major parties.
Meanwhile, disaffected Progressives are fleeing to the Greens and the Movement for a People's Party.
Meanwhile, endless wars climate change student loan debt upward redistribution of wealth drug wars cops killing POC with impunity corporate personhood et cetera ad nauseam.