Green Party of the United States

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Green Party
Chairperson Green National Committee#Current
Founded April 2001; 15 years ago (2001-04)
Split from Greens/Green Party USA
Preceded by Association of State Green Parties
Headquarters 6411 Orchard Avenue, Suite 101
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
Newspaper Green Pages
Youth wing Young Greens Caucus
Women's wing National Women's Caucus
LGBT wing Lavender Greens Caucus
Latino wing Latinx Caucus
Black wing Black Caucus
Membership  (October 2016) 256,560[1]
Ideology Green politics
Eco-socialism[2]
Political position Left-wing[3][4]
International affiliation Global Greens
Continental affiliation Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas
Colors      Green
Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
Seats in the House
0 / 435
Governorships
0 / 50
State Upper House Seats
0 / 1,972
State Lower House Seats
0 / 5,411
Territorial Governorships
0 / 6
Territorial Upper Chamber Seats
0 / 97
Territorial Lower Chamber Seats
0 / 91
Other elected offices 100 (2016 Est.)[5]
Website
www.gp.org
Part of a series on
Green politics
Sunflower symbol

The Green Party of the United States (GPUS or Greens) is a green and progressive political party in the United States.[6]

The party, which is the country's fourth-largest by membership, promotes environmentalism, nonviolence, social justice, participatory grassroots democracy, gender equality, LGBT rights, anti-war and anti-racism. On the political spectrum the party is generally seen as left-wing, and in 2016 officially self-described as an "eco-socialist" party.[2]

The GPUS was founded in 2001 as the evolution of the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP), which was formed in 1996.[7] After its founding, the GPUS soon became the primary national green organization in the country, eclipsing the Greens/Green Party USA (G/GPUSA), which formed in 1991 out of the Green Committees of Correspondence (CoC), a collection of local green groups active since 1984.[8] The ASGP had increasingly distanced itself from the G/GPUSA in the late 1990s.[9]

The Greens gained widespread public attention during the 2000 presidential election, when the ticket composed of Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke won 2.7% of the popular vote. Nader was vilified by many Democrats and even some Greens, who accused him of spoiling the election for Al Gore, the Democratic candidate.[10] The degree of Nader's impact on the 2000 election remains controversial.[11][12]

The GPUS had several members elected in state legislatures, including in California, Maine and Arkansas. A number of Greens around the United States hold positions on the municipal level, including on school boards, city councils and as mayors.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The political movement that began in 1985 as the decentralized Committees of Correspondence[13] evolved into a more centralized structure by 1990, opening a national clearinghouse, and forming governing bodies, bylaws, and a platform as the Green Committees of Correspondence (GCoC), and by 1990, simply, The Greens. The organization conducted grassroots organizing efforts, educational activities, and electoral campaigns.

Internal divisions arose between members who saw electoral politics as ultimately corrupting and supported the notion of an "anti-party party" formed by Petra Kelly and other leaders of Die Grünen in Germany,[14] vs. those who saw electoral strategies as a crucial engine of social change. A struggle for the direction of the organization culminated a "compromise agreement," ratified in 1990 at the Greens National Congress in Elkins, West Virginia – in which both strategies would be accommodated within the same 527 political organization renamed the Greens/Green Party USA (G/GPUSA). The G/GPUSA was recognized by the FEC as a national political party in 1991.

The compromise agreement subsequently collapsed and two Green party organizations have co-existed in the United States since. The Green Politics Network was organized in 1990 and The National Association of Statewide Green Parties formed by 1994. Divisions between those pressing to break onto the national political stage and those aiming to grow roots at the local level continued to widen during the 1990s. The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) encouraged and backed Nader's presidential runs in 1996 and 2000. By 2001, the push to separate electoral activity from the G/GPUSA issue-based organizing led to the Boston Proposal and subsequent rise of the Green Party of the United States. The G/GPUSA lost most of its affiliates in the following months, and dropped its FEC national party status in 2005.

Ideology[edit]

The GPUS follows the ideals of green politics, which are based on the Four Pillars of the Green Party: Ecological wisdom, Social justice, Grassroots democracy and Nonviolence. The "Ten Key Values,"[15] which expand upon the four pillars, are as follows:

  1. Grassroots democracy
  2. Social justice
  3. Ecological wisdom
  4. Nonviolence
  5. Decentralization
  6. Community-based economics
  7. Women's rights
  8. Respect for diversity
  9. Global responsibility
  10. Future focus

Peter Camejo quoted in 2002 as claiming that he was a watermelon—green on the outside but red on the inside—[16] in January 2004 initiated the Avocado Declaration, which compares Greens to avocados. "An avocado is Green on the outside and Green on the inside."[17] It goes on to explain that Greens have a vital role in bringing Democracy to the otherwise undemocratic two party system of the U.S., that the Greens have a unique and independent identity as a third party that cannot be subsumed into the Republican or Democratic parties and they cannot be dismissed by the Republicans or Democratic Party critics by inferring they are merely socialists or communists.

The Green Party does not accept donations from corporations, political action committees (PACs), 527(c) organizations or soft money. The party's platforms and rhetoric harshly criticize any corporate influence and control over government, media, and society at large.[18]

Structure and composition[edit]

Committees[edit]

The Green Party has two national committees recognized by the Federal Election Commission:

Green National Committee[edit]

The GNC is composed of delegates elected by affiliated state parties. The state parties also appoint delegates to serve on the various standing committees of the GNC. The National Committee elects a Steering Committee of seven Co-chairs, a Secretary and a Treasurer, to oversee daily operations. The National Committee performs most of its business online, but also holds an Annual National Meeting to conduct business in person.

Caucuses[edit]

Five Identity Caucuses have achieved representation on the GNC:

Other caucuses have worked toward formal recognition by the GNC:

  • Disability Caucus[25]
  • Labor Caucus[26]

Geographic distribution[edit]

The Green Party has its strongest popular support on the Pacific Coast, Upper Great Lakes, and Northeast, as reflected in the geographical distribution of Green candidates elected.[27] Californians have elected 55 of the 226 office-holding Greens nationwide as of June 2007. Other states with high numbers of Green elected officials include Pennsylvania (31), Wisconsin (23), Massachusetts (18), and Maine (17). Maine has the highest per capita number of Green elected officials in the country, and the largest Green registration percentage with more than 29,273 Greens comprising 2.95% of the electorate as of November 2006.[28] Madison, Wisconsin, is the city with the most Green elected officials (8) followed by Portland, Maine (7).

In 2005, the Green Party had 305,000 registered members in states allowing party registration, and tens of thousands of members and contributors in the rest of the country.[29] One challenge that the Green Party (as well as other third parties) faces is the difficulty of overcoming ballot access laws in many states.

State and District of Columbia parties[edit]

The following is a list of accredited state parties which comprise the Green Party of the United States.[30]

In addition, the Green Party has a chapter in the US Virgin Islands.[78] The Green Party does not currently have active state chapters in The Dakotas, Utah, or Vermont.

Office holders[edit]

John Eder, elected in Maine in 2002, was the first Green Party candidate elected to a state legislature to serve a full term and be re-elected as a Green.
Musician Jello Biafra ran for several offices with the Green Party, including for President in 2000.
Malik Rahim, former Black Panther Party activist, ran for the U.S. Congress in 2008 with the Green Party.
Psychiatrist Joel Kovel ran for the Green Party's presidential nomination in 2000.
2012 and 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein

As of October 2016, The Green Party web site listed 86 office holders in the United States, the majority of them in California, several in Illinois and Massachusetts, with the remainder in Arkansas, Michigan, and New York.[79] These included one mayor and one deputy mayor, and fourteen county or city commissioners (or equivalent). The remainder were members of school boards, clerks, and other local administrative bodies and positions.[79] Most have won in nonpartisan elections.[80]

Several Green Party members have been elected to state-level office, though not always as affiliates of the party. John Eder was elected to the Maine House of Representatives, re-elected in 2004, but defeated in 2006. Audie Bock was elected to the California State Assembly in 1999, but switched her registration to Independent seven months later[81] running as such in the 2000 election.[82] Richard Carroll was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2008, but switched parties to become a Democrat five months after his election.[83] Fredrick Smith was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2012,[84] but re-registered as a Democrat in 2014.[85] In 2010, former Green Party leader Ben Chipman was elected to the Maine House of Representatives as an unenrolled candidate, and was re-elected in 2012 and 2014.[86]

Gayle McLaughlin was twice elected mayor of Richmond, California, defeating two Democrats in 2006,[87] and reelected in 2010, and elected to City Council in 2014 after completing her second term as mayor.[88] With a population of over 100,000 people, it was the largest US city with a Green mayor. Fairfax, California; Arcata, California; Sebastopol, California; and New Paltz, New York are the only towns in the United States to have had a Green Party majority in their town councils. Twin Ridges Elementary in Nevada County, California held the first Green Party majority school board in the United States.[89]

No nominee of the Green Party has been elected to office in the federal government.

List of national conventions and annual meetings[edit]

The Green National Convention is scheduled in presidential election years, and the Annual National Meeting is scheduled in other years. The Green National Committee conducts business online between these in person meetings.

Presidential ballot access[edit]

  2004 2008 2012 2016
Electoral votes 267 (479) 368 (528) 439 (489) 494 (522)[90][91]
Alabama NOT on ballot On ballot
Alaska On ballot NOT on ballot On ballot
Arizona NOT on ballot On ballot
Arkansas NOT on ballot On ballot
California On ballot
Colorado On ballot
Connecticut On ballot (write-in) On ballot
Delaware On ballot
Florida On ballot
Georgia (write-in)
Hawaii On ballot
Idaho (write-in) On ballot
Illinois NOT on ballot On ballot
Indiana (write-in) NOT on ballot (write-in)
Iowa On ballot
Kansas (write-in) On ballot[92]
Kentucky NOT on ballot On ballot
Louisiana On ballot
Maine On ballot
Maryland On ballot
Massachusetts On ballot
Michigan On ballot
Minnesota On ballot
Mississippi On ballot
Missouri NOT on ballot (write-in) NOT on ballot On ballot[93]
Montana On ballot (write-in) NOT on ballot On ballot
Nebraska NOT on ballot On ballot NOT on ballot On ballot
Nevada On ballot NOT on ballot
New Hampshire NOT on ballot On ballot
New Jersey On ballot[92]
New Mexico On ballot
New York (write-in) On ballot
North Carolina NOT on ballot (write-in) NOT on ballot (write-in)
North Dakota NOT on ballot On ballot
Ohio NOT on ballot On ballot
Oklahoma NOT on ballot
Oregon On ballot
Pennsylvania On ballot
Rhode Island On ballot [94]
South Carolina On ballot
South Dakota NOT on ballot[92]
Tennessee On ballot
Texas (write-in) On ballot
Utah On ballot
Vermont NOT on ballot On ballot
Virginia (write-in) NOT on ballot[92] On ballot
Washington On ballot
West Virginia NOT on ballot[92] On ballot
Wisconsin (write-in) On ballot
Wyoming NOT on ballot On ballot
District of Columbia NOT on ballot On ballot NOT on ballot[92] On ballot

Electoral results[edit]

President and Vice President[edit]

Election year Candidate Running mate # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of electoral votes +/-
1996 Ralph Nader Winona LaDuke 684,871 0.71
0 / 538
2000 Ralph Nader Winona LaDuke 2,882,955 2.74
0 / 538
Steady 0
2004 David Cobb Pat LaMarche 119,859 0.10
0 / 538
Steady 0
2008 Cynthia McKinney Rosa Clemente 161,680 0.12
0 / 538
Steady 0
2012 Jill Stein Cheri Honkala 469,627[95] 0.36
0 / 538
Steady 0
2016 Jill Stein Ajamu Baraka 1,440,193[96] 1.06
0 / 538
Steady 0

Congress[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/-
1992 134,072 0.14
0 / 435
1994 52,096 0.07
0 / 435
1996 42,510 0.05
0 / 435
1998 70,932 0.11
0 / 435
2000 260,087 0.26
0 / 435
2002 297,187 0.40
0 / 435
2004 344,549 0.30
0 / 435
2006 243,391 0.29
0 / 435
2008 580,263 0.47
0 / 435
2010 252,688 0.29
0 / 435
2012 372,996 0.30
0 / 435
2014 246,567 0.30
0 / 435

Senate[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/-
2000 685,289 0.90
0 / 34
2002 94,702 0.20
0 / 34
2004 157,671 0.20
0 / 34
2006 295,935 0.50
0 / 33
2008 427,427 0.70
0 / 33
2010 516,517 0.80
0 / 37
2012 212,103 0.20
0 / 33
2014 152,555 0.32
0 / 33

Fundraising and position on Super PACs[edit]

In the early decades of Green organizing in the United States, the prevailing U.S. system of money-dominated elections was universally rejected by Greens, so that some Greens were reluctant to have Greens participate in the election system at all, because they deemed the campaign finance system inherently corrupt. Other Greens felt strongly that the Green Party should develop in the electoral arena; many of these Greens felt that adopting an alternative model of campaign finance, emphasizing self-imposed contribution limits, would present a wholesome and attractive contrast to the odious campaign finance practices of the money-dominated major parties.

Over the years, some state Green parties have come to place less emphasis on the principle of self-imposed limits than they did in the past. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that Green Party fundraising (for candidates' campaigns and for the party itself) still tends to rely on relatively small contributions, and that Greens generally decry not only the rise of the Super PACs but also the big-money system, which some Greens criticize as plutocracy.

Some Greens feel that the Green Party's position should be simply to follow the laws and regulations of campaign finance.[97] Other Greens argue that it would injure the Green Party not to practice a principled stand against the anti-democratic influence of money in the political process.

Candidates for office, like Jill Stein, the 2012 and 2016 Green Party nominee for the President of the United States, typically rely on smaller donations to fund their campaigns.[98]

See also[edit]

Social Media[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Ten key values
National Green Party Caucuses