The late, legendary Barbara Jordan was the first-ever Congressmember from Texas District 18, which she helped create as a state senator, and which I have inhabited for the past nine years. From the very beginning of her tenure, she admonished staff that not only must there be no impropriety in the office, but there must not even be the appearance of impropriety. She knew better than to give ammunition to colleagues or press who might seize any opportunity to bring down an outspoken black liberal woman from the old Confederacy's largest city.
Have the insiders in the Green Party of the United States engaged in enough appearance of impropriety that attorney and rabbi Dario Hunter can build a case against them?
What I do know is that the leadership of the Green Party of the United States, collectively, isn't perfect; that even people who think they're operating from the purest of motives sometimes are not; that presidential candidates in previous races have accused the GPUS leaders of not serving as unbiased facilitators of the nomination process.
What I don't know is whether candidate Hunter's allegations hold water. Travis Christal, a regional Howie Hawkins/Angela Walker campaign chief recently elected GPTX treasurer, ferociously denies them. Christal indicated in an online conversation that, where Texas is concerned, the Hunter/[Darlene] Elias challenge of GPTX's delegate allocation from its April convention betrays a lack of understanding of the Approval Voting process. That process allocated 20 delegates for Hawkins from Texas, and only three for Hunter.
Sore Loser or Justice Seeker?
Hunter certainly presents them compellingly in his video message, in a manner far less unhinged than Roseanne Barr did in 2012. I find him a far better speaker than Hawkins, who is neither a trained lawyer nor a clergyman. Hunter names names, specifically calling out Andrea Mérida Cuellar (former GPUS co-chair, current Colorado GP co-chair, and Hawkins/Walker crew member), as well as Hawkins himself for benefiting from favoritism without trying to stop it.
Depending on your perception, Hunter's speech casts him as either a sore loser or a fighter for justice. I am open to either possibility. My purpose in embedding his video message here is not to express agreement with him, but just in the interest of informing the Green electorate that Hunter has a beef (or, more appropriately, a plant-based beef substitute).
What I'm willing to confess is that I have some sympathy for Hunter, even if I don't take the veracity of his accusations on faith. He has worked hard to meet the criteria of a recognized Green Party presidential candidate. He has watched Howie Hawkins get frontrunner status and interviews with Lee Camp and other lefty media mavens well before he had clinched a majority of convention delegates.
It's the responsibility of the candidates and their campaign staffs to understand, before a single state convention or primary happens, how each state does its thing, just as they need to understand what hoops they must jump through for the Party to recognize them. It is also the responsibility of GPUS leadership to act in as impartial a manner as possible throughout the process. They should do nothing that would give a reasonable person even the perception of thumbs on the scale for any candidate.
If Hunter has a legitimate grievance about GPUS behavior, it should be heard. It's just a shame that it will take up valuable time during the one-day Presidential Nominating Convention (conducted on Zoom) because he can't take it up with theNational Committee before the PNC happens.
I would also like to hear coherent rebuttal from Hawkins, Mérida Cuellar, and others who have worked alongside them.
Even if some GPUS apparatchiks believed that only Hawkins had the necessary and sufficient experience and name recognition to run a competitive race in the general election, that should make a show of treating all recognized candidates equally. Left-leaning media outlets willing to publicize the Greens should allot equal time to all the candidates, without any lobbing softball questions to one and beanball questions to others. The is especially true in the case of 2020: If voters perceive that we're not just a party of old white folks like Hawkins and Jill Stein, the Party benefits. (Might Walker and Elias get some air time too?)
Driving Away Good People
It pains me to see Hunter's fans and other Greens tweeting that they will not vote for Hawkins and Hunter if they emerge as the nominated ticket. Some are pointing to Hawkins's stray Russiagater comments from last year as a deal-breaker; others point out that he is doing the same kind of party-leadership crowd-surfing that pushed Joe Biden to the eventual Democratic nomination, and we should never commit the same improprieties of which we accuse the Democrats. The infighting and accusations of unfairness have the unfortunate effect of driving people away from Party activism. The corporate parties have the same problems, and people still vote for their candidates, but millions of registered voters have just said to hell with both.
Howie Homies can hold out hope, however, that a lot more disaffected progressives have indicated that they will vote for the Green ticket than will defect out of petulance or principle.
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.