Current plans, still in the making, call for GPTX to hold a candidate recruiting drive and workshop in the DFW area during the weekend of 30 September 2017. If that workshop is successful, we will take it on the road to other metropolitan areas in Texas.
An "Actual Campaign"?
What does an "actual campaign" entail, you might ask? My criteria would include, but not be limited to the following.
- active fundraising
- assembling a campaign team
- pursuing endorsements from progressive groups that endorse partisan candidates
- committing to meet all deadlines for financial reporting obligations (very important!)
- earnestly helping GPTX regain ballot access for 2018 (and possibly beyond)
- dressing as a candidate at campaign appearances
The last item does not necessarily imply business garb. Business casual, such as the dreaded campaign polo shirt and slacks, is sufficient. Some kind of costumery—toga, sari, mariachi outfit, Forest Green Rovers jersey—that makes you stand out is sufficient. After all, we are the Greens, and we do things differently. T-shirt, shorts, and Birkenstocks just won't do.
These criteria represent a major shift from previous election cycles, such as 2012, in which we encouraged Greens to "Occupy the Ballot." It didn't matter whether people who signed up to be candidates even bothered to campaign actively, we just needed as many names as we could get. In 2014, that strategy led us to nominate Brandon Parmer for governor; we never heard from Mr. Parmer thereafter. It certainly wasn't the first time a ghost received 18,000 votes in Texas. It still proved less of an embarrassment than Wendy Davis's ignominious defeat that year (or 20 (very) straight years of statewide dominance by the God & Guns Party).
For 2018, the consensus among Texas Greens seems to be in favor of quality of quantity. We would still like to have candidates for all 165 available seats in the Texas Legislature, for example, but we'd prefer three-dimensional candidate over mere names.
If the Green Party wants collectively to be taken seriously, at any level, it needs to field candidates who take the process seriously—or at least the ideals of representative democracy. Even Scott Trimble could be said to have taken the process seriously in 2016, despite his pleas for the people of District 35 not to vote for anyone, including himself, because our electoral system is rotten from top to bottom. Trimble was at least out in public, bringing that rot to the public's attention.
Why Run with a Dysfunctional Party?
In recent posts here, I have highlighted several ways in which the Green Party is divided. That division appears at the national level, at the state level in Texas, and at the county level in Harris County. I will not speak for other states or counties. There is internal strife over matters of great and little importance. Some of that strife produces some rather caustic dialog, even among comrades who have known and appreciated each other for a decade or more.
So why on Gore's warming earth should any sensible person run for public office in Texas as a Green?
- It is possible to run an effective campaign with only minimal interaction with the county or state Party. There will be a campaign coordinating committee, or other candidate outreach people, with whom you can interface without having to attend those monthly General Membership meetings.
- If you run a strong campaign, you may gain enough influence within the Party to convince insiders to quit their sniping and backbiting, and to focus on the business of electoral politics.
- If the Party does not regain ballot access in 2018, your campaign is effectively over in June, and you can go back to your regular life.
For those considering a bid for public office in Texas, the filing period for candidacy is from mid-November to mid-December of this year. The absolute deadline for filing a notarized form with your county or state Party co-chairs is 11 December 2017.
All prospective candidates should read the rules on the Secretary of State's website, and then read them again. Start here. Prospective Green candidates will find this page absolutely essential, seeing as GPTX lost its ballot line last year.
It is also very helpful to understand that the Democratic Party in this state has a history of working to thwart progressive parties and candidates, not just Greens, by various means. This happens behind the scenes through the moneyed establishment, and it happens at street level through rank-and-file Democrats. Be ready to respond to the harassment from Democrats, some of whom might be cherished friends, who still believe that their party can win statewide office and a majority in the Legislature during their lifetimes just be being less hideous than the GOP.