Millions of Progressive folk across the US literally love Nina Turner, the former Ohio state senator from Cleveland. She's the sequel to Dennis Kucinich, but with badassery to burn. Too bad for Ms. Turner that those millions couldn't all move to northeastern Ohio and cast a vote for her in yesterday's special election for the House seat vacated by new HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge.
Turner finished a strong second in the Democratic primary field of eleven, six points behind winner Shontel Brown. Those millions of Progressives can take some encouragement from her coming so close to victory: A growing percentage of urban POC are tired of mainstream Democrat bullshit and are willing to back someone who takes on the Democratic establishment.
Apart from Brown's endorsements from big-name Clintonites and the money that poured into Brown's campaign in the past month-plus, Turner ran into the same snag that Bernie Sanders did: Like Bernie, she's "not a real Democrat." I put that in quotes because, if the Democratic Party weren't the place progressive ideas go to die, if it weren't abundantly clear that the Sanders wing of the Party is unwelcome there, she would be as real a Democrat as Kucinich, Ron Dellums, Barbara Jordan, Paul Wellstone, et al. However, because she has bolted from the Donkey faction of the Duopoly and hooked up with the emergent People's Party, she can no longer operate on Democrat bona fides.
So, props to Turner for giving it a try. When she announced her run last December, I spurned her strategy of running as a Democrat. But it got her causes and issues the attention they deserve in all levels of national media, not just on Democracy Now! Running third-party, on the other hand, would likely have relegated her to the funny pages.
Now that the People's Party has ballot access in Ohio, Turner (and other fed-up progressives who for whatever reason continue to ignore the Green Party) can run under that banner. Beyond the question of will she or won't she? the more important question now, as I see it, is this: How many of the 33,000-plus votes Turner received will peel off in disgust with the Democrats—and in which direction: People's Party, Green Party, independent, or this-whole-system-sucks-I'm-not-gonna-play-any-more? Corollary to that is whether her nationwide fundraising apparatus will follow her after she quits the Democratic Party cold turkey forever.
While we're getting hypothetical, what if Turner had won the primary and gone on to take the Congressional seat? Once she took her exalted place among The Squad, would she have to kneel before Speaker Pelosi, pick her battles instead of fighting against the current on every issue, take turns being among the Squadsters who either (a) provide the necessary votes for Pelosi's desired outcomes or (b) make fiery, indignant speeches against the corporatocracy?
Congratulations are due to Georgia's Green Party, which has become the second state GP organization to get itself disaffiliated from the Green Party of the United States within the past year or so. Georgia is the largest state so far to have its chapter ejected from GPUS. The vote tally was 119 Yeas, 17 Nays, and 6 abstentions.
The other state that lost affiliate status this year is Alaska,"de-accredited" in January 2021 rather than "disaffiliated." Alaska's official Green presence, according to some National Committee members to whom I've spoken, was just "one guy, and he's a Berniecrat."
After last year's Presidential Nominating Convention, there was talk of tossing Rhode Island due to its State Executive Committee's decision not to place the duly nominated presidential ticket of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker on the state's ballot. The official affiliation for Rhode Island was instead switched to a group called the Ocean State Green Party. There is no National Committee vote on Rhode Island to which I can link you.
TERF War, Anyone?
As you might see from a keyword search for Georgia Green Party, the site georgiagreenparty.org has been taken down. There is currently a brief Wikipedia entry summarizing the disaffiliation.
The National Committee's motivating factor for kicking out Georgia was the adoption of "trans women are not really women" language in its platform, in violation of at least one of the Ten Key Values. The platform language arises from the Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist angle, not the "God made only male and female" perspective. Not all Georgia Greens share that view, as you might imagine, but enough of the state's Green leadership does that it warranted disaffiliation. The Lavender Greens Caucus led the campaign to remove Georgia's affiliate status.
This was not a summary judgment: It followed months of negotiations, including with a "Dialog, Not Removal" faction (DNR) that wanted to reach a compromise, with Georgia's GP censured at most rather than removed. The problem was that the Georgia group dug in its heels on the matter.
Apart from disassociating the party from a group of TERFs, it's tempting to just say "no great loss." Due to Georgia's absurdly prohibitive ballot access laws, the Greens there have never (or maybe once?) secured a statewide ballot line. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka were successfully included as a write-in ticket there in 2016. The hope is that a different group will do the work required to get the state organized again.
Blatantly Burying the (Potential) Lede
Teaser: In a future post (sorry I've continued to post so infrequently of late), we may learn how this disaffiliation trend will affect Greendom in the Houston area. However, at this time there isn't enough useful information to make a complete story of it. I will say that there is a group within GPTX that wants to disaffiliate a county chapter due to its leadership sharing the position of the Georgia Greens' leaders. More if anything actually happens.
This entry is adapted (unrolled, if you will, and edited slightly) from a thread that I tweeted out yesterday. The tweets might not appear in their correct order, because sometimes my Twitter-fu is not so sharp.
Hypothesis: If the Democrat Party didn't show up for an election, the majority of Texas Democrats would vote either Republican or not at all rather than vote Green. It is based on observations, not on anything quantifiable.
This (Delilah's tweet, embedded above) got me in a hypothetical frame of mind: Suppose the Democratic Party of Texas, having nominated a string of "dude, really?" candidates for governor since the 1990s, sees the futility & decides not to waste time & money.
So, in this hypothetical situation, with the Dems sitting it out, the race comes down to Gregg Abbott (or possibly Allen West), a Green, a Libertarian, and a scattering of independents or write-ins. How would the vote go among self-identified Democrats?
The Green nominee could be Delilah, or it could be a Green with a proven track record in politics and statewide name recognition. Let's go with the latter for now. My bet is that more Texas Democrats would vote for the Republican nominee—the devil they know—than for the Green.
Some Dems would vote Libertarian, some would write in their dream candidate, and quite a few (probably the majority) wouldn't vote in that race at all. This is my conclusion based on (1) living here a long time & (2) my own race for Harris County Judge in 2014. In 2014, more Harris County residents undervoted the County Judge race than voted for me. This was due mostly to one-punch, straight-ticket voting, which is now a thing of the past. (I hope it stays in the past.)
Granted, Ed Emmett was a moderate conservative and quite popular among Houston-area Democrats, while Abbott is not. However, for all the talk about how Greens and Democrats are (supposedly) ideologically similar, Dems will dig in their heels & not vote Green even when their favorite Dem office-holders behave and legislate like the Republicans they claim to despise. The Green Party represents a bigger threat to them than the GOP. To me, this is both deeply troubling and...amazingly exciting.
Ooooh, the power!
An Additional Thought That Wasn't Part of the Twitter Thread
It's important to note that voting patterns at the state level differ from the federal level: That whole phenomenon, just as there are differences between voting for Congressional seats and voting for president. It's not uncommon for voters to pick, say, a Democrat to represent them in the US House (especially an incumbent Democrat) but pick the Republican presidential candidate, or vice versa.
My own pattern is that I'm willing to vote for Democrats for State Legislature and county government, but not for POTUS, Congress, or state executive offices. For the latter group, if there's a Green, I'll vote Green; otherwise, Libertarian (if the Libertarian is not demonstrably an asshole) or abstain. I may not always agree with Borris Miles or Shawn Thierry, but I'll vote for them—not that they need my help, being in absurdly State Senate and State House districts, respectively.
Friends, on Independence Day and on every day, remember that freedom isn't free.
That shit all costs money.
Freedom—the ability to realize one's full potential as a citizen—is often won by dissenters whom the state has deprived of their freedom, their basic rights, their means to live, their pathways to prosperity. Conditions grow so intolerable that they & their allies risk beatings & shootings from the people hired to protect the wealthy & powerful.
If you love your freedom, thank a protester.
There were plenty of lowlights too, but we're not going to moan about those here.
Mainly, I just wanted to report on the results of the voting from last weekend's Annual State Meeting of the Green Party of Texas. The biggest news of all for Texas Greens is that the Annual Meeting split into two meetings during odd-numbered years like this one. Expect a second meeting in October or November, at which time there will be opportunities to vote on some bylaw amendments that need to be reworked to the satisfaction of two-thirds of the delegates.
I should also mention one of the oddities of this meeting: the complete lack of delegates from Bexar County. San Antonio Greenies made a might contribution to last April's nominating convention, including their two candidates for seats in the State Legislature. Bexar County's chapter is still active (although not listed on the txgreens.org site for reasons I cannot guess) and Tweeting regularly.
State Executive Committee
Co-chair Laura Palmer and the Treasurer Travis Christal will continue in office until the 2022 state convention. These members were elected or re-elected Saturday (26 June) by approval voting, with their home counties in parentheses:
Xander and Kisha are fairly new arrivals to GPTX. Kisha and some other Galveston County residents will have an opportunity to reanimate the Gavleston County Green Party in the coming year, should they choose to accept the mission.
National Committee Delegates
The following ten folks will represent Texas on the Green Party US's National Committee, having received the ten highest numbers of approvals:
Yes, it is not only permitted but fairly common for members to have seats on both the SEC and the NC. There are also two alternates in the event that one of the ten must vacate: Alán Alán Apurim and Bernadine Williams.
Approved by 2/3 majority:
Rejected or Tabled:
These may be brought up for reconsideration in the Fall 2021 GPTX meeting.
Platform Amendments and Resolutions
These I will definitely discuss in a later post. The good news is that all the proposed platform amendments were accepted by a majority of the delegates, irrespective of their disagreements on other matters.
By way of riffing on something I brought up last week, one observation I can't escape is this: We are not progressing as a nation or as a species. If anything, we are regressing rapidly.
My diagnosis is not based on scientific evidence, so please don't quote me as an authoritative source. It's simply the impressions I'm getting from observing human behavior in my vicinity and from a variety of sources on the web.
Sure, progress is seldom continuous or steady, and there are always setbacks. I can't help but feel that the current setback I'm seeing is more severe, and more permanent, than we can survive.
For several weeks now, I've been intending to post something along these lines. The wording may come out all wrong, and it may be subject to some gross misinterpretations, but...here goes nothin'.
That notion of the moral arc of the universe bending toward justice—credited to Dr. M.L. King, Jr., inspired by Theodore Parker—is one in which I truly, firmly believe. Even when there are periodic setbacks and backlashes, the momentum toward justice is re-established, like a scrambling quarterback who is chased toward his own endzone makes a rapid turn at just the right moment and ends up gaining yardage.
In using the term "justice," I mean a really big-picture, long-term connotation: justice for the disadvantaged people(s) of the human world and for the natural world, conditions that allow both to flourish.
But here's the problem: We're running out of time. The bending of that moral arc may soon come to mean nothing if the global corporatocracy continues to drive us toward an uninhabitable future. Make no mistake: The corporatocracy is at the wheel, or at least in the shotgun seat shouting navigational instructions to the leaders of nations, elected or not. We're just along for the ride. We can back-seat drive all we want to, but our directions will not be heard, much less heeded.
That's one of several reasons why, with increasing frequency these days, I'm tempted to just give up and pursue a hedonistic life, occasionally peeking out at the collapse of civilization for the sake of additional amusement. Hedonism ain't cheap, though, and I ain't exactly flush with cash.
These are presented in chronological order, not in order of importance. They are two of the biggest activities on my calendar in any typical year, although they don't always happen in June.
I apologize for not getting around to publicizing the GPTX ASM prior to the cutoff date for registration, which was Monday 1 June. For the last several months I've found it difficult to carve out sufficient time to hammer out blog entries.
NOTE: This time, I really truly am getting back in the blog business. I should have time on a fairly regular basis, and there is definitely plenty of material to cover.
At this time, however, I just want to reprint here the text of a new law passed in the recently ended 87th Texas Legislative session and signed by Governor Greg Abbott. At this moment, I cannot take the time to provide any serious analysis. Let's just say that it's time to Get Serious—that Greens and Libertarians in Texas who want their parties to continue existing will need to put in extra effort to devote more time, money, and energy to raising money or collecting signatures than we ever have. That is...unless these parties can convince a federal judge in a long-pending lawsuit that the fee requirement is unconstitutional.
SB 2093 closes an important loophole left by HB 2504 from the last session, which an appeals judge found when the Democratic Party of Texas filed a suit to kick Green candidates off the November general election ballot who did not pay the prescribed filing fees or petition signatures in lieu thereof (ignoring the much larger number of Libertarian candidates who also freeloaded onto the ballot). SB 2093 now specifies not only that third-party candidates must submit the requisite number of either filing fees or petition signatures, but when those should be submitted—i.e., when they apply to run.
I have left out all the strikethrough text in the final bill, excerpted from the old Section 141 of the Texas Electoral Code.
Dang, I meant to re-post this sorta review here about a month ago.
In a nutshell, I don't particularly care for the what the Amy Poehler and the Hollywood Movie Machine did with Jennifer Mathieu's YA novel Moxie. The more I think about it, especially after I've reread the book, the more quibbles I find with the film adaptation. Nevertheless, it's worth watching, especially if it raises the consciousness of girls and young women in the US and elsewhere and encourages them to read the far superior source material.
Here's my January 2018 review of the book itself.
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.