the epic barriers to Third Party candidates
And if the Dems have their way…especially Green Party candidates.
(click for larger photo)
The BAR newsletter had popped into my Inbox a few days ago, and I was interested in this piece on Black Agenda Radio: ‘Greens’ Howie Hawkins is 2020’s Only Real Peace Candidate’, Bruce Dixon, April 4, 2019, which transcript was labeled with ‘Tulsi Gabbard is a Sheepdog’ before the rest of the radio title.
Some excerpts that will show where I’m heading with this diary’s title, and as all BAR content is CC, I’ll quote freely:
“Respectfully, my comrade and friend Danny Haiphong is wrong, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is not a peace candidate. To (the) extent that she diverges from the warlike bipartisan consensus that’s a good thing. But it’s not the job of the left to, in Danny’s’s words “nurture” or support Gabbard with campaign donations so she can get into the televised Democratic primary debates.
Danny Haiphong says he is neither a Democrat nor a Gabbard supporter and I believe him. That’s what makes his “sophisticated” – his word not mine – notion that the left needs to line up behind Gabbard utterly baffling. The plain truth is that whatever else the Democratic party may be, it is also one of the two permanent government parties of the US, a party of empire and war, despite the fact that a great number of Democratic voters are, for a multitude of reasons, opposed to imperial war.”
“…the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic party, either staying home or trying to build something outside the two party box…”
Now I wish Bruce had given other reasons that Tulsi’s not a true ‘peace candidate’, but that’s just me.
“The Hawkins vision includes a yearlong grassroots organizing campaign to overcome the profoundly unjust legal barriers which Republican and Democratic politicians together have erected in almost half the states to prevent the Greens from competing against them in national and local elections. Unlike the regulations pertaining to Republicans and Democrats, these arbitrary, anti-democratic and unjust laws require Green Party candidates to present more than 800,000 voter signatures on paper petitions just to allow Green candidates for local, state and national office to appear on the ballot in about a third of the states.
Texas requires 85,000 petition signatures,
Georgia 65,000 signatures,
Tennessee, 56,000 signatures,
Alabama demands 51,000 signatures
Minnesota requires an outrageous 147,
…just to name a few.
Many of these legal barriers to third parties appearing on the ballot have been in place for a century, and raised even higher whenever insurgent parties threatened to overcome them. What we were all taught in school to call “the two party system” is nothing more than the product of the two capitalist parties colluding with each other to continuously tweak the laws in such a manner as to protect themselves against competition. Competition from parties funded by people instead of billionaires, Competition from socialist and eco-socialist parties, competition from parties who stand for economic and racial justice at home and for peace abroad.
The latest legislative tweak aimed at kneecapping the Green Party was buried in the Democrats HR1, a provision that raised the amount Green presidential candidates needed to raise per state to qualify for matching funds from $5000 in small donations from each of 20 states to $25,000 in 20 states was endorsed and voted for by supposed socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and every other Democrat in the House of Representatives. Curiously none of the so-called progressive Democrats, nobody in the media, in civil rights industrial complex, none of our friends in DSA and certainly not Tulsi Gabbard or even Bernie Sanders have ever bothered to mention this cynical and longstanding piece of voter suppression. These unjust legal barriers to third parties on the ballot are the main reason most US voters don’t get to see Green candidates on the ballot for state legislature, for governor or local offices, or for president.”
Dixon then touts Howie Hawkin’s peace credentials (in part):
“Howie Hawkins is 2020’s only real peace candidate because Howie is committed to the hard work of building a permanent peace and justice party from the bottom up, and putting it on the ballot nationwide, not just to running a one-shot sheepdog campaign and lining up behind whoever the capitalist war party eventually nominates. Howie has been in the movement longer than Gabbard has been alive, working against the Vietnam war as a teenager before joining the Marines in 1972 and taking part in the widespread antiwar movement inside the US military of that time.”, and so on.
“Howie needs $5,000 in donations $250 and under in each of 20 states for his campaign to receive federal matching funds that will enable us to launch the yearlong ballot access campaign that will put the Green Party on the ballot in every state, and put us on the road to building a fighting party sustained and run by its members.”
But I did dig up the odious bill he’s referenced: congress.gov: H.R.1 – For the People Act of 2019, the text
Committees (and wtf?) House – House Administration; Intelligence (Permanent Select); Judiciary; Oversight and Reform; Science, Space, and Technology; Education and Labor; Ways and Means; Financial Services; Ethics; Homeland Security
The final roll call vote March 8, 2019: (D: 234 yeas, O nays, NV 1 [Rep. Clay]); (R: 193 nays, 0 yeas, NV 4)
Silly of me given to try to find the anti-Green text in the gazillion pages of text, but making an inquiry by Bing, I found (ta da!) Bruce Dixon’s Jan. 18, 2019 high-lariously titled ‘House Democrats’ HR 1 – Faking the Funk on Voting Rights, Spreading Fear and Gunning For the Greens in 2020’
“It’s a brand new year and Democrats running the House of Representatives under Nancy Pelosi, Jim Clyburn and Steny Hoyer need to rebrand themselves in preparation for the 2020 elections. So Team Pelosi has rolled out what they and their far flung chorus of corporate media hacks from MSNBC to so-called “woke” social media are calling their flagship bill for the 116th Congress. To hear them tell it, it’s all about ending corruption in Congress and the White House, about taking the Big Money out of politics, and most of all, it’s about protecting voting rights.” [snip]
“HR 1 (a 571-page monstrosity) pretends to be a voting rights bill, but is in fact a sleazy ghetto ice cream truckload of empty campaign promises intended to rebrand Democrats as the party of voting rights, despite their dismal non-record of struggle [Black misleadership failures and complacency] to protect or expand these rights. They are all commonsense measures Nancy P, who has been part of House Democrat leadership since the 1990s, and has led Democrats in the House since 2003, could have tried to put into law at any time, many times over the past twenty-five and more years. But they didn’t.”
“Here’s HR 1’s list of what ought to be real and significant voting rights reforms. But again, coming from Nancy P and the House Dems at the beginning of the 2020 campaign season they are obviously no more than empty and cynical campaign promises….” [long, long snip]
“Republicans run the Senate and the White House. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has already pledged the entire package of HR 1 is dead on arrival, and right now even that arrival is uncertain since Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer has not even bothered to introduce a matching bill in that chamber. Essentially Schumer is not even signing on to this load of cynical promises. Not yet anyway. But if the stench of cynicism is strong enough to make a vulture like Chuck Schumer hesitate, that really says something.”
“There are only 2 pieces of HR 1 which are NOT empty 2020 campaign promises, and which have a reasonable change of becoming law. Really, really BAD law.
1.HR 1 Requires that the “intelligence community” produce a yearly report on threats to the US electoral system.
HR 1 directly cites the odious McCarthyite accusations of Prop or Not from two years ago as “congressional findings.” These baseless lies assert that left opposition ion the part of the American people to the two capitalist parties is motivated and manipulated by hostile foreign powers operating in social media, grassroots organizations and other places, and that these are imminent threats to national security, specifically the security of the US electoral process. Black Agenda Report is specifically named, the only black owned and operated entity thus fingered. HR 1 requires the FBI, CIA, the Pentagon, DEA, NSA, Homeland Security and the rest of the so-called “intelligence community” – the same people who told us Saddam Hussein had nukes, that the government has never and will never intercept or record your email and online habits, and now says that “black identity extremists” are out to get us – HR 1 requires those professional perjurers, liars and deceivers to produce a yearly report on their manufactured threats to US electoral systems, specifically including the threats to national security by those who express dissident opinions. This part of HR 1 institutionalizes the notion that the left is an existential and foreign-sponsored threat to the security of the electoral process, and creates bodies to police social media. If they really tried, corporate Democrats in the House and Senate really stand a fair chance at getting the modest number of Republican sign-ons to make this a bipartisan thing, and pass it to President Trump to sign.
2.The second piece of HR 1 which has a chance of gaining the bipartisan needed to become law, if Democrats want it badly enough to seek Republican votes on it, is aimed squarely at keeping the Green Party off the ballot in as many states as possible, and crippling the Green Party’s presidential campaign. ” [snip]
“I was part of Jill Stein’s campaign team in 2015-2016, and I can tell you we barely met the old threshold in about 22 states. It was a near thing. Eliminating those federal matching funds for a Green Party presidential campaign would mean all but certain erasure of the Green Party from the ballot in a good dozen or more states for 2020, and maybe a dozen more in 2022. For a generation now, most Americans have told pollsters they want to see a real third party , not in the middle of the two, but well to the left of both. HR 1 isn’t serious about voting rights, but it’s deadly serious about limiting voter choices at the polls.”
“HR 1 is the 2020 election season’s brightly painted ghetto ice cream truck. It’s on your Facebook pages, Instagram and other social media feeds, even in some of your more “woke” churches. It’s blasting loud music about voting rights, protecting the vote, ballots by mail, getting the money out of political campaigns, and reforming the corrupt ethics of Congress and the White House. But none of that stuff will pass while Republicans run the Senate, while Trump is in the White House, and even if they’re out of office, none of it will pass while Democrats are on the corporate tit themselves. If Democrats do take the White House in 2020 you won’t see that sleazy ghetto ice cream truck or hear HR 1’s voting rights and anti-corruption promises any more either. Bet on that.”
Tell it Brother Bruce! Still interested in seeing the actual text, I’d Bingled once again and had found at Green Party US.org: ‘Green Party Candidate Says HR1 Must Be Amended Parts of “For The People 2019 Act” hurt democracy, limit voter choice’, March 7, 2019:
“Gardena, CA — Green Party Presidential Candidate Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry today called on Congress to make significant changes in House Democrats’ legislative centerpiece HR1, the “For The People 2019 Act”, particularly in the portions of the Act having to do with campaign matching funds.” [snip]
“Sedinam Moyowasiza-Curry is a declared candidate for the nomination for President of the Green Party of the United States. She ran for the GPUS Presidential nomination in 2016, and for the Vice-Presidential nomination in 2008. She is a longtime Green, and was a co-founder of the Green Party’s Black Caucus. To find out more about her 2020 Presidential campaign, visit Sedinam2020.”
Wondering by now how many Greens have thrown their hats into the Presidential Ring, I let my fingers do the Binging once again, and found at Wikipedia: 4 candidates have declared: Ian Schlackman, Long Island; Dario Hunter, Ohio; Howie Hawkins, New York; Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry, Los Angeles. Potential candidate: Jesse Ventura, Minesota. Declined to run: Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein.
The process ahead of securing the national nomination:
‘The 2020 Green Party presidential primaries will be a series of primaries, caucuses and state conventions in which voters elect delegates to represent a candidate for the Green Party’s nominee for President of the United States at the 2020 Green National Convention. The primaries, to be held in numerous states on various dates from early Spring into early Summer of 2020, will feature elections publicly funded, concurrent with the Democratic and Republican primaries, and elections privately funded by the Green Party, to be held non-concurrently with the major party primaries.
There will be 400 delegates, plus or minus two, elected to the Green National Convention. A candidate will need a simple majority of these delegates to become the party’s nominee for president in the 2020 presidential election. In addition, formal recognition is a requirement to be the Green Party’s nominee.’
Got that? Hope so…hope I catch on soon.
From Howie Hawkins on Twitter:
Should I Run? @HowieHawkins Exploratory Committee Launch Video
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)