Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reflections on the Election of 2010 and the Arizona Green Party

It's now several weeks after the November 2 election. Even the closest races have been or will be decided soon, and we thought we'd give -- for ourselves, if no one else (like our entire campaign) -- some reflections on it.

Today's Arizona election results update shows that we got 3,407 votes in the Sixth Congressional District. (Sincere thanks to all the folks who voted for us.) That's more than the other two on-the-ballot Green candidates for Congress, the ones who were "endorsed" by the Arizona Green Party, not pointedly sued in federal and state court to keep us off the ballot like we were. Of course, we got 1.36% of the vote, and Leonard Clark in the Third District got 1.58% (3,298 votes) and Rebecca DeWitt in the Fourth District got 2.57% (2,365 votes). The Arizona Green Party also endorsed William Crum in the Second Congressional District, but he ran as a write-in (apparently the AZGP's antipathy to write-in candidacies extends only to those candidates they don't like anyway) and there are just 290 write-in votes (just 0.11%, some no doubt for Mickey Mouse or Lady Gaga).

Our 1.36% share of the vote in the Sixth Congressional District is about what the "endorsed" U.S. Senate candidate, Jerry Joslyn got: 1.44% statewide. For someone who ran a "serious" campaign and who appeared on TV debates, that was a pathetic showing. In the state Treasurer's race, Thomas Meadows achieved 2.58% of the vote, beating the pants off Joslyn in a similar four-way race. Compared to Joslyn's 24,603 votes, Thomas Meadows managed to garner 46,115 votes, making him the Arizona Green Party's top vote-getter along with the Arizona Green Party's champ of 2010, 20-year-old Benjamin Pearcy, who got 47,121 votes running for one of two open seats on the Corporation Commission. Go Benjamin! Not bad for a 20-year-old kid who lives on Mill Avenue (near the Starbucks that was his campaign HQ) and who couldn't testify at the federal trial when the Arizona Green Party tried to kick all of us non-endorsed candidates off the ballot because he was in jail at the time.

Indeed, if Pearcy or Meadows -- who's 27 and was described as "a tarot card reader with less than a dollar to his name" in the New York Times article about Republican Steve May recruiting Mill Avenue street people to run write-in candidacies in the Arizona Green Party primary -- had been the Arizona Green Party's gubernatorial candidate and had gotten 3,000-4,000 more votes, the party would have achieved the magic number of 50,000 votes to make its place on the ballot secure for the next four years (as state Green Parties did in New York, Massachusetts and Texas), without having to get petitions again in 2012 or being subject to the law that made the party vulnerable to write-in candidates winning primaries with a literal handful of votes (we won with six votes).

The non-endorsed Arizona Green Party candidate for governor, Larry Gist -- who petitioned his way onto the ballot -- had the worst percentage showing of any party candidate, endorsed or not -- with a truly bad 0.93% of the vote: 16,128 votes (again, remember that Meadows got 30,000 votes more than he did although they both ran in four-way statewide races).

Another supposedly "sham" candidate, Theodore Gomez, got 42,645 votes running for the other seat on the Corporation Commission. If the good results (at least by Arizona Green Party 2010 election standards) for the candidates supposedly recruited by the Republican Party to siphon off votes for Democrats don't gall the bosses of the Arizona Green Party, you can blame it on their trademark stupidity.

Suing the ballot-qualified candidates in federal court and then in state court -- a miserable failure both times -- was the perhaps the height of the Arizona Green Party's stupidity in this election. It will be their major contribution to the 2010 election and only solidified the public image of the Arizona Green Party as a laughingstock in the minds of both conservative and liberal Arizonans.

And it was needless. The Arizona Green Party is very touchy about not "endorsing" Democratic candidates even in races where there is no Green candidate, but they didn't hesitate in letting the Arizona Democratic Party pay for their lawsuits. Nor did they care about employing aggressive and untruthful tactics (the federal complaint contained numerous lies and errors, and in court the Democratic Party's hired lawyers said the Arizona Green Party didn't want to be associated with us because of a swastika on our blog here, completely ignoring the obvious context in which we were protesting the Nazi-like SB 1070).

Indeed, as Leonard Clark, an endorsed candidate for Congress, said in disgust, the lawsuits had the effect of showing the Arizona Green Party disregarding several of its Ten Key Values (Grassroots Democracy, Social Equality, Decentralization), the party's credo that we explicitly swore (and still affirm) our allegiance to many times -- though that wasn't good enough for the poohbahs of the Arizona Green Party to consider us anything more than a "sham" candidate.

We never understood the Arizona Green Party and Democratic Party contending that the "sham" candidates would siphon off votes and allow the Republicans to win some races they otherwise wouldn't. The laughable logical conclusion of this argument seemed to be that they expected the "sham" (non-endorsed) candidates would actually do better than the "real" (endorsed) candidates in garnering votes! If any Green candidate would take votes that would otherwise go to Democrats, why did it matter if she was endorsed by the party or not?

The AZGP bosses don't seem to understand that a political party on the ballot isn't a club; it's a party. It uses the state to hold its primaries. Anyone can join at any time. The Secretary of State or local elections officials have no business asking any Arizonan why she is choosing to register as a member of a political party or if she is a "sincere" or "genuine" member of that party. Thank God in America we don't have to uphold loyalty oaths to political parties.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett was right when he said he had no choice but to uphold the candidacies of people who, like us -- or Benjamin Pearcy, Thomas Meadows or Theodore Gomez -- who upheld the letter of the law and got their paperwork in without anything being wrong with it. If you don't like it, Arizona Green Party bosses, then you're fools for working so hard to get on the ballot. You can't guarantee that the candidates you disfavor will not win your primaries; just ask the Republican party leaders in Delaware, Nevada and Alaska.

The Democratic Party also were hypocrites in the so-called "Siphongate" brouhaha. It's clear that Arizona Democrats were complicit in covertly supporting Libertarian candidacies among conservative voters, just as Democrats in other states got fake "Tea Party" candidates on the ballots to siphon off votes for Republicans.

Meanwhile, challenging the non-endorsed Arizona Green Party candidates was moot, given that there's not one race in the entire state where any Green Party candidate, endorsed or not, made a difference in who won an election. The margin of victory for every Republican who won was greater -- usually much greater -- than the percentage of the vote garnered by any Arizona Green Party candidate.

Indeed, in the race where a third-party mattered most, Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' successful re-election in the Eighth Congressional District, the 3.93% of the vote for the Libertarian candidate was twice the size of Giffords' 1.46% margin of victory. There was no Green candidate, and if there had been no Libertarian candidate, the Republicans probably would have picked up their third Democratic U.S. House seat.

It appears that none of the endorsed Arizona Green Party candidates for the state legislature ran in any district that was not reliably Republican or Democratic. Linda Macias, who we (as a member of the Pinal County Greens) endorsed for State Representative in District 21, got a really impressive 17.15% of the vote, but she ran in a race with two Republicans and no Democrats or other candidates.

We were not impressed, as we said, in our meeting by phone conference with the Arizona Green Party. If we were so abhorrent to them, why did they allow us to vote on endorsing other candidates for Congress and the state legislature? Why did they invite us to join their Yahoo Group for Arizona Green Party candidates?

What surprised us was the low level of educational attainment among the Arizona Green Party leaders. Of course, in Arizona, there's a much lower percentage of college graduates than in most states, so that's kind of understandable. But the stupidity of some of their questions and remarks floored us. Some of them didn't seem to understand that members of Congress serve in Washington, D.C. and not Phoenix or were not subject to the state Clean Elections laws. They seemed ignorant about electoral history and few seemed actually to have taken part in campaigns despite being around for a while. Perhaps it was more naïveté or ignorance than stupidity, but these were the leaders of the Arizona Green Party.

Anyway, we wonder what their contribution to the election of 2010 was. Arizona Green Party bosses seem content with their little fiefdom -- one gets the impression that these are people who are content to be big machers in a little world rather than foot soldiers in the Democratic party.

Of course we would be hypocrites if we didn't understand that. Nobody runs for Congress or the state legislature or anything else without being somewhat of an egotist. It's just that egotists are helped if they're also a little savvy.

And so, since we still adhere to the principles of the Arizona Green Party's Ten Key Values -- like transparency, which is why we posted the memo by Claudia Ellquist that so pissed off the party bosses -- even if they don't, we've decided to remain a registered voter in the Arizona Green Party.

And just to piss them off and give them advance notice of 20 months, we are today announcing that we will be a candidate for the Arizona Green Party nomination for Congress in the 2012 primary. That is, if they can do the work to make sure we're on the ballot again. All we need is one write-in vote to win! And our name's easier to spell than "Murkowski."

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(We're posting the Arizona Green Party logo on top of this post because it concerns the Arizona Green Party. Previously the party bosses complained to Google's Blogger service about us using the logo without permission and so we removed it from some posts. Apparently the Arizona Green Party doesn't believe in the "fair use" provision of U.S. copyright law and so we await their next legal move, as they apparently have nothing better to do.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

AZ-06 Green Party House Candidate Richard Grayson Concedes: "The People Won't Have Dick Grayson to Kick Around Anymore. Don't Cry for Me, Arizona."

The people have spoken, the subhuman douchebags.

According to the latest election returns, I received more votes than I would have expected in Arizona's Sixth Congressional District: 2,461, or 1.3%. I got more votes than any other Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives even though the Green Party bosses refused to endorse me and tried to kick me off the ballot by suing me in federal court. (Obviously they lost, but they were losers long before that.)

Congratulations to Jeff Flake on winning his umpteenth term in Congress and to Rebecca Schneider for running such a valiant race on the Democratic ticket and to Libertarian candidate Darrell Tapp on his stylish hat.

Don't cry for me, Arizona. You won't have Dick Grayson to kick around anymore. I am re-registering as a voter in Brooklyn, New York although I will continue to spend winters in the boondocks of Apache Junction.

Thanks again to my voters.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Arizona Sixth Congressional District Green Party Candidate Richard Grayson Says: VOTE OR DIE!

Why the Moronic Moralists Will Win This Election, Why They'll Make the Economy Worse, and Why This Candidate Doesn't Care If You Vote for Him or Not

If you've already voted for me or will vote for me tomorrow, thank you. I appreciate it very much although certainly there's no way that career politician Jeff Flake can lose his seat in Congress. A vote for me -- or for the fine Democratic candidate, Rebecca Schneider -- is basically a protest vote by someone who's actually living in the real world.

However, most of you who live in Arizona's Sixth Congressional District -- the East Valley cities of Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Apache Junction and Queen Creek -- are ignorant morons. That's why I don't give a fuck if anyone votes for me or not.

That gives me the freedom politician candidates don't have. I can say what I feel and do what I think is right without having to care about whether the unwashed masses agree. Maybe I'll get 100 votes or so, votes for which I'm grateful, but in the end, it doesn't matter.

The overriding issue in this election is the terrible economy.
Unfortunately, morons like most Sixth Congressional District voters will just make things worse. In his New York Times column today, the Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman explains why. It's essentially Macroeconomics 101 for Dummies, and so most East Valley residents can use it:
“How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?” That’s the question CNBC’s Rick Santelli famously asked in 2009, in a rant widely credited with giving birth to the Tea Party movement.

It’s a sentiment that resonates not just in America but in much of the world. The tone differs from place to place — listening to a German official denounce deficits, my wife whispered, “We’ll all be handed whips as we leave, so we can flagellate ourselves.” But the message is the same: debt is evil, debtors must pay for their sins, and from now on we all must live within our means.

And that kind of moralizing is the reason we’re mired in a seemingly endless slump.

The years leading up to the 2008 crisis were indeed marked by unsustainable borrowing, going far beyond the subprime loans many people still believe, wrongly, were at the heart of the problem. Real estate speculation ran wild in Florida and Nevada, but also in Spain, Ireland and Latvia. And all of it was paid for with borrowed money.

This borrowing made the world as a whole neither richer nor poorer: one person’s debt is another person’s asset. But it made the world vulnerable. When lenders suddenly decided that they had lent too much, that debt levels were excessive, debtors were forced to slash spending. This pushed the world into the deepest recession since the 1930s. And recovery, such as it is, has been weak and uncertain — which is exactly what we should have expected, given the overhang of debt.

The key thing to bear in mind is that for the world as a whole, spending equals income. If one group of people — those with excessive debts — is forced to cut spending to pay down its debts, one of two things must happen: either someone else must spend more, or world income will fall.

Yet those parts of the private sector not burdened by high levels of debt see little reason to increase spending. Corporations are flush with cash — but why expand when so much of the capacity they already have is sitting idle? Consumers who didn’t overborrow can get loans at low rates — but that incentive to spend is more than outweighed by worries about a weak job market. Nobody in the private sector is willing to fill the hole created by the debt overhang.

So what should we be doing? First, governments should be spending while the private sector won’t, so that debtors can pay down their debts without perpetuating a global slump. Second, governments should be promoting widespread debt relief: reducing obligations to levels the debtors can handle is the fastest way to eliminate that debt overhang.

But the moralizers will have none of it. They denounce deficit spending, declaring that you can’t solve debt problems with more debt. They denounce debt relief, calling it a reward for the undeserving.

And if you point out that their arguments don’t add up, they fly into a rage. Try to explain that when debtors spend less, the economy will be depressed unless somebody else spends more, and they call you a socialist. Try to explain why mortgage relief is better for America than foreclosing on homes that must be sold at a huge loss, and they start ranting like Mr. Santelli. No question about it: the moralizers are filled with a passionate intensity.

And those who should know better lack all conviction.

John Boehner, the House minority leader, was widely mocked last year when he declared that “It’s time for government to tighten their belts” — in the face of depressed private spending, the government should spend more, not less. But since then President Obama has repeatedly used the same metaphor, promising to match private belt-tightening with public belt-tightening. Does he lack the courage to challenge popular misconceptions, or is this just intellectual laziness? Either way, if the president won’t defend the logic of his own policies, who will?

Meanwhile, the administration’s mortgage modification program — the program that inspired the Santelli rant — has, in the end, accomplished almost nothing. At least part of the reason is that officials were so worried that they might be accused of helping the undeserving that they ended up helping almost nobody.

So the moralizers are winning. More and more voters, both here and in Europe, are convinced that what we need is not more stimulus but more punishment. Governments must tighten their belts; debtors must pay what they owe.

The irony is that in their determination to punish the undeserving, voters are punishing themselves: by rejecting fiscal stimulus and debt relief, they’re perpetuating high unemployment. They are, in effect, cutting off their own jobs to spite their neighbors.

But they don’t know that. And because they don’t, the slump will go on.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Prominent Republican Endorses AZ-06 Green Party Congressional Candidate Richard Grayson

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”