We had about 32 delegates, representing eight Texas counties, show up at the Green Party of Texas's first-ever online convention. We also had a lurker to two. Among the best news that I can report is that personalities that have clashed at past state meetings remained not just civil but amicable to each other and the rest of the delegates.
Final tallies have yet to be released, but here are some things we know:
- Statewide Candidates: The convention affirmed statewide candidates kat gruene for Railroad Commission, Charles Waterbury for Supreme Court Position 1, and me for US Senate. None of us three paid the new filing fees to run, so under current law we will not appear on the general election ballot. As we have noted previously, a pending lawsuit may yet overturn the filing fee provision of HB 2504.
- State Executive Committee: Via Approval Voting, Laura Palmer won enough approvals to return to the co-chair role alongside Alfred Molison. Her husband Don will yield the Treasurer position to Travis Christal.
- Presidential Nominating Convention Delegates: Oh yeah, by the way, it appears that the PNC will also be online, live from Detroit on 11 July. The GPUS website doesn't have its Detroit 2020 page updated as of this writing. A slate of 26 delegates to the GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention was chosen from among those present, as well as a few alternates.
- Delegate Breakdown: Based on the polling at countywide precinct conventions, GPTX will have 20 delegates for Howie Hawkins, 3 for Dario Hunter, 2 for Kent Mesplay, and 1 for Susan Buchser-Lochocki.
- Electors: In the somewhat unlikely event of a Green victory in the presidential race, we now have our 38 electors chosen from among those who attended and a few who did not.
- Resolutions: As yet, we do not have complete information on which of the six proposed resolutions passed. But most people who aren't Green Party insiders won't care about those.
The List of Nominees
This is a long way from the Occupy the Ballot era of 2012-14, when we could scare up about 50 candidates for various offices. The list below is large a rerun from previous entries; however, now that the Texas Green Convention has affirmed the statewide candidates, it's worth presenting them again.
Counties of residence are in parentheses, and an asterisk (*) indicates that a candidate paid the state filing fee to run.
US Senate: David B. Collins (Harris)
State Supreme Court, Position 1: Charles Waterbury (Dallas)
Railroad Commission: katija gruene (Travis)
Tom Wakely (Bexar), CD-21
* Hal J. Ridley, Jr. (Orange), CD-36
Julián Villarreal (Bexar), SD-26
katija gruene (Travis), HD-51
* Brody-Andrew Mulligan (Tarrant), HD-92
Antonio Padrón (Bexar), HD-119
Mulligan is not only raising money for his campaign, he's spending some too: He just bought yard signs.
- Technical issues related to conducting the meeting via Zoom: Not all of us had reliable connections or equipment required to get into the meeting, stay in the meeting, and be heard when requesting a chance to speak. Zoom is fairly simple to use, but it still has some non-intuitive features that can perplex the tech-unsavvy.
- Attendees not accustomed to The Way We Do Things: This is a frequent occurrence at Green conventions, especially state meetings. I had hoped to stage an orientation session for first-timers the night before, but the resources did not come together. We had to spend some time acquainting not only first-time delegates with the standard procedures, but also some (I'll cop to this myself) who have been through it multiple times.
- Improvising: We had to switch gears on the fly a few times, including changing the online voting methodology mid-convention due to logistical concerns.
- Trouble Keeping Up with What Item We're Currently Discussing: In the role of facilitator, Molison did as well as could be expected given the circumstances. Wherever he fell short, seasoned co-chairs like kat and Laura could pick him up, and they did so with grace. But it's hard for three dozen people, even smart people, sometimes to know whether the current discussion is to adopt a resolution, table it, or vote on whether a vote should be taken to overcome a blocking objection. There were even blocking objections to some points raised by veteran Greens (we shan't mention any names) who should have known to back up their objections with arguments rooted in the Ten Key Values or at least such grounds as infeasibility.
Not everyone will emerge from this convention completely happy with the way things went. There was some awkwardness in discussing some resolutions (proportional to the awkwardness of the wording of the resolutions themselves) that might leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those who proposed them. It didn't help that we squeezed what could turn into an all-day affair into a 45-minute agenda item. To my way of thinking, resolutions are low-priority items by default, unless they address an item of immediate concern or propose massive changes in The Way We Do Things.
Given that literally hundreds of alienated Texas Berniecrats have been knocking on the Green door, I am earnestly looking forward to more of these—preferably in person because I look old af in my Zoom box.