October 23, 2020
By Angela Walker
Republicans spoil elections by suppressing the Democratic vote and the Black vote. They orchestrate voter roll purges, most notably in the 2000 election in Florida, and restrict the number of polling places in Black and Brown communities. The GOP encourages voter intimidation at polling places, which seems to be higher this year.
Democrats spoil elections by trying to suppress the Green vote, kicking us off the ballot, instead of embracing the proven nonpartisan solution to spoiled elections. The solution is replacing the Electoral College with a national popular vote using ranked choice voting.
Both parties actively participate in gerrymandering which leads to more manipulation by monied interests, districts being drawn around racial lines and lower voter turnout because of the creation of safe seats where the real battle is over the nomination and not the election. Both parties benefit from voter suppression. Campaign financing is paid by billionaires and corporations in support of both major parties so that the super wealthy control our elections.
Let’s get one thing straight. The GOP’s active suppression of the Black vote and the Electoral College’s anointing candidates who actually lost the popular vote spoils elections. Campaign financing and gerrymandering spoil elections. The election process in this country is a rotted mess that only benefits corporations, the wealthy and the corporate duopoly. It’s a spoiled system whether the Green Party runs candidates or not — and that’s the real story.
The Green Party’s Impact
One of our campaign’s main objectives is to bring voters out to the polls who would otherwise stay home and not vote. This is necessary for Democracy, and voters demand to have more choices. CNBC reported that the majority of Americans find both Joe Biden and Donald Trump mentally unfit for President.
Our supporters tell us they would rather stay home than be forced to vote for Biden or Trump. Don’t just take our word; this has always been the case. In 2016, both pre-election and exit poll data not only proved this fact, but it also proved the Green Party did not spoil the presidential election for the Democrats (See Reports: FiveThirtyEight, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post).
The 2016 exit poll shows 61% of Stein voters would have stayed home if she were not on the ballot. Plug that into WI, MI, and PA and Trump still wins if Stein is not on the ballot.
The majority of the electorate wants a viable third party, and both major parties have consistently low favorability ratings.
The Democrats sell an artificial narrative, where every Green voter is owned by the Democratic Party. Under this flawed framework, they assume that there cannot be a separate, independent voting block outside of the duopoly. This flawed logic has been employed heavily since the outcome of the 2000 presidential election.
Despite the knowledge that Gore won Florida had there been a full recount, establishment Democrats refuse to admit that the 2000 election was stolen, rather they push the myth of siphoned votes, conveniently ignoring that hundreds of thousands of registered Democrats in Florida voted for Bush.
Instead of actively opposing the Electoral College, which has cost Democrats two presidencies in the past 20 years, the Democratic Party has decided to conjure the spoiler boogeyman every four years.
“The least-worst choices are getting worse every four years, and the insiders only exacerbate the problem by trying to defang the third-party competition,” stated Ralph Nader in 2016. “So long as there’s no robust challenge to the duopoly, there’s no reason for insiders to improve. Pragmatism is just another name for electoral extortion.”
The Importance of Third Parties in Our Nation’s History
Minor parties have historically advanced the issues and changed the dialogue. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, for example, minor parties led the way in the abolition of slavery, the women’s suffrage movements and protections for farmers, workers and consumers. These parties did not spoil elections, they introduced many reforms that eventually entered the mainstream.
For real democracy to exist, there needs to be a plurality of voices, opportunity for fair debate among those voices, and equal access for citizens to choose which arguments, policies and platforms best represent their interests. As Drutman outlines in his case for “breaking the two-party doom loop”:
The United States is divided into red and blue not because Americans want only two choices. In poll after poll, majorities want more than two political parties. Few Americans enjoy the high-stakes partisan combat. … And even if Americans agree on wanting a third party, few are willing to gamble on an alternative for fear of wasting their vote.
All else equal, modest multiparty democracies (with three to seven parties) perform better than two-party democracies. Such a party system regularizes cross-partisan compromise and coalition building. Since parties need to work together to govern, more viewpoints are likely to be considered. The resulting policies are more likely to be broadly inclusive, and broadly legitimate, making voters happier with the outcomes.
Over the past couple decades, the Green Party has not only elected hundreds of local officeholders, it has led the way on the Green New Deal, Medicare For All, Ranked Choice Voting, Peace Initiatives, and so many other policies and reforms.
Angela Walker is the 2020 Green Party and Socialist Party nominee for Vice-President, running alongside Howie Hawkins, the first candidate in the United States to run on a Green New Deal in 2010.