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.)