Dr. Jill Stein got an entire hour on the The Young Turks. It is one of the best interviews I have ever seen her give. You may not want to commit an entire hour to it, at least not all at once. But her overall message is important.
Before I continue, let's be clear about this: Although I am a fervent Stein supporter, under no circumstances am I presuming that Jill will win the Green Party's nomination. The official nomination will not happen until August 2016, at the Presidential Nominating Convention, to be held at the University of Houston. Any of the other four candidates could be the nominee, or the convention might nominate nobody at all. Already, people even within the Green World are bandying about words like "coronation" to describe Jill's progress toward that nomination. It's only fair to say in that she is the only candidate who has filed for federal matching funds, as far as I know; there's a big deadline approaching that may determine whether she can get those funds.
I appreciate that Cenk Uygur was willing to challenge Jill a bit and get her to defend her positions, without playing the part of Democratic Troll, and that she was ready with the answers. (Sure, others may see the interview as pure softball, but I've seem some of those, and I find them far less entertaining, far less compelling.
Jill is not a perfect interview subject. She can benefit from decreasing her tongue-clicking and "y'know" crutch phrases. One could make a brutal drinking game out of just those, especially with a full-hour interview. But just within 2015 she has become much smoother and more adept at getting her message across.
And what is that message, you may ask? Please take a look at Jill's Plan.
Although it's not in gigantic red letters on the website, the core of Dr. Stein's Electoral Strategy is freeing the 40 million Americans from student debt bondage and making public colleges and universities tuition-free. If 40 million eligible voters vote Green just based on that, the Green nominee would be no mere footnote in the history of presidential elections, but a real contender.
Spread the word. If Bernie Sanders does not secure the Democratic nomination, his supporters are not stuck voting for Hillary Clinton, the candidate of Goldman Sachs and Walmart. They can vote Green—or, if their state does not have the Greens on the ballot, write in the Green nominee.
This I did not expect. And I'm not even sure what I think of it.
By "this," I mean 54 Texas residents filing to run as Greens in the 2016 election, for offices ranging from the Railroad Commission to county justices of the peace.
While I have no influence over who decides to run for office, I was kind of hoping that the Party would focus its efforts on candidates in key races this year. In 2012 and 2014, the Greens' battle cry was "Occupy the Ballot." This year I was hoping that we'd change our strategy.
We still can: I'll be pushing for the Party to throw its weight behind Martina Salinas in her pursuit of a seat on the Texas (Totally Not Railroads) Railroad Commission, as well as our Presidential nominee, and letting all the other candidates DIY.
I'll be advocating for this strategy because of something unusual that the Texas Democratic Party has done. As of the 14 December filing deadline, the Democrats have fielded candidates for all the statewide races. This has happened only twice since 1996.
Been busy, been traveling, been neglecting this blog for far too long.
Here's the first bit of not exactly earth-shattering news that I'd like to include in this entry. Another Houston-based author, Neil Ellis Orts, recently got an idea to create a Facebook event page for creative friends to advertise their wares, gratis. Check out the selection of books, artworks, and jewelry, some of it by Houston residents, including a certain novel about the exciting lives of Unitarian Universalists in a fictitious Texas college town.
I met Neil through Continuum Performance Art, the group with which we have both staged performances. I bought Neil's novella Cary and John shortly after it was published last year, and I recommend it, especially to those who might enjoy a good closeted love story with vivid, multi-dimensional characterizations.
Since my last post about four weeks ago, I have
Turning UH Green
At least I can report that a decision has been reached regarding the venue for the 2016 Green Party US Presidential Nominating Convention. The local and national folks put their heads together, after touring some possible sites, and decided to hold it at the University of Houston. The dates are set at 4-7 August 2016, with Saturday the 6th the most likely date for choosing the party's nominee.
Bear in mind that, while Dr. Jill Stein remains the presumptive nominee, the only Green candidate to file the requisite paperwork and pursue federal matching funds, all Greens should be cautious not to label her as "the Green nominee" or even "the Green candidate." She is a Green candidate. Other declared candidates include Kent Mesplay (for the fourth time), Earth First! organizer Darryl Cherney, and the redoubtable SKCM Curry.
Not Just Anybody, and Possibly Nobody
GPUS has a set of criteria for whom it recognizes as a presidential candidate. One of the criteria is "written support from 100 Green Party members to the GPUS Secretary, with no more than 50 from one state, and including members from at least five state parties; this requirement is not applicable until December 1st of the year preceding the presidential election."
In expressing this written support, Green Party members may indicate their support for more than one candidate. It's a standard practice within the Green Party to allow voting for multiple candidates when choosing its officials at the county, state, and national level. The method varies from state to state, but Approval and Ranked Preference voting are the most common; both have the advantage of ending up with a candidate approved by at least 50% of the voting members.
For public offices other than President and Vice President, states may also use a form of Instant Runoff Voting. However, for President, delegates the the Presidential Nominating Convention cast votes for just one candidate in each round. They may also choose None of the Above for any office. If NotA wins, the Party chooses not to field a candidate for that office.
The NotA scenario almost happened in 2004, when David Cobb narrowly defeated NotA in the second round of balloting. That year, some None-of-the-Abovers preferred to support the Greens' 2000 nominee Ralph Nader, who was running as an independent in '04; some just did not want to risk peeling votes away from Democratic nominee John Kerry in key states. As it happened, Cobb's vote totals did not upset any Electoral College apple carts. He did continue the Green tradition, started by Nader and carried on by Stein, of getting arrested or tossed out while trying to crash the presidential debates.
After the 2004 election, Cobb and Libertarian nominee Michael Badnarik went to bat for Kerry in Ohio, where the Republicans appeared to have used multiple dirty tricks to lock up the vote for George W. Bush. Kerry, VP nominee John Edwards, and the rest of their crew didn't bother.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.