It chaps my whole nether region when I see centrist, incrementalist Democrats referred to as "progressive." It irks me even more deeply when that leads to McCarthyite tropes hurled at anyone to the left of Nancy Pelosi, as happened later in the thread.
The question in my reply had a twofold purpose:
- to set the parameters, via hashtags, of what "progressive" even means; and
- to point out that most of the self-identified Progressives in Congress don't check those policy boxes (perhaps they used to, in their younger days, but don't any more).
My reply made no reference to the Green Party itself. But of course my Twitter bio is quite candid regarding my partisan affiliation. So, relevant to nothing in particular, up came the "What Has the Green Party Ever Done?" line of argument. To that I replied (not shown below), "Far more than a single Tweet can encapsulate" and promised to put a complete answer on this site later. Well, more complete anyway, because I'm sure that my bulleted list below leaves out some important achievements.
If the Green Party US website had a page detailing the accomplishments of Greens since becoming a political party, I would start with a link to that page. But I can't find such a page. Beyond the US, Greens have participated in governing coalitions, and even led them, in several European nations ranging in population from Iceland to Germany, and have about one-eighth of the seats in the European Parliament (73 out of 705).
But let's narrow the focus to this country for now. At the same time, let's broaden the scope of who can "do" public policy. Just as democracy consists of far more than voting, one doesn't have to be elected to have an influence on the direction of the nation. It wasn't Richard M. Nixon who got the US out of Vietnam; it was millions of peace activists getting out in the streets, risking injury or violent death at the hands of police or National Guard.
- The Greens have done what third parties traditionally do in this nation: brought progressive perspectives on issues into public discussion. These positions range from the abolition of slavery and child labor to the Green New Deal and Improved Medicare for All. Sometimes you'll see individual Democrats or groups thereof (and even Republicans on rare occasions) adopt those positions or evolve into them, usually several years later. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would not have even used the phrase Green New Deal in Congress unless Howie Hawkins and Jill Stein had done so first.
- And let's face it: The lesson of US history is that progressive positions usually turn out to be the correct positions. Our society now looks upon slavery and forced child labor as evils to be eradicated. (Thanks, early Republicans and activists like John Brown and Mother Jones.) If the nation had taken Greens' positions on climate change to heart 20 years ago and acted accordingly, we'd be seeing fewer and less severe extreme weather events year after year.
- The Greens have pushed for alternative voting mechanisms such as Ranked Choice and Approval Voting, which several cities and states have adopted for their elections to avoid costly runoffs. Such mechanisms would make it easier for citizens to vote for the policies and programs they actually want, rather than voting defensively for the faction of the Duopoly they hate less.
- The Greens have had hundreds of candidates elected in state and local governments, in both partisan and nonpartisan races, including some
- The elected Green mayor of New Paltz NY, Jason West, performed same-sex civil union ceremonies (marriages if you like) in the early 2000s, before such unions were legal in any US state.
- The elected Green mayor of Richmond CA, Gayle McLaughlin, successfully battled with Chevron in federal court to get the company to clean up its notoriously dirty refinery there.
- Greens have marched, rallied, and spoken out in opposition to the wars of choice that presidents from both corporate parties have perpetuated. This is in direct contrast to Democratic "peace activists" who protested in large numbers when George W. Bush was behind the trigger but suddenly fell silent when Barack Obama did the same stuff (sometimes more of the same stuff, like drone attacks). The same is true for our consistent opposition to neoliberal economic policies that fatten corporate coffers while starving children, as well as the habitual shoveling of billions in military aid to Israel and Saudi Arabia to continue their atrocities in Palestine and Yemen, respectively.
- Presidential candidates David Cobb and Jill Stein, as well as 2012 vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala, got themselves detained by cops for hours for attempting to crash the presidential debates, to which only the corporate parties were invited. The folks at the Commission on Presidential Debates and the Duopoly parties know that when Greens get to spell out their policies on TV, those Greens get more votes (as Stein did in the 2010 race for governor of Massachusetts).
- Cobb and Stein led efforts to recount the votes and investigate irregularities in states' counting of votes. Cobb successfully got Ohio's secretary of state (who was also Dubya Bush's Ohio campaign chair) driven from office for his electoral chicanery in 2004. Too many Democrats on social media cling to the narrative that Stein absconded with the money she raised for the recount efforts in 2016. No, folks, she paid lawyers (bad enough already, right?) to argue—in some cases successfully—that the county and state officials had indeed botched the counting or that the voting machines weren't working correctly. Were the electoral votes changed as a result of these efforts? No, but that's not the point. The Democratic nominees, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, did not request recounts, for fear of looking like—well, like sore loser Donald Trump in 2020.
Well, that's a start. The haters still won't be satisfied with this, but at least it's an answer.