A Green revolution
Iowa Presidential Politics.com
For most politicos
in the United States, elections are a win-or-lose endeavor.
does not always translate into getting elected.
For the Green
Party, in Iowa and across the nation, victory is measured by
or not the organization retains its
In the last
election, the Green Party lost its place on the ballot, but its
leaders hope to climb back on tentatively
its own Iowa caucus in January
when Democrats and Republicans hold their party caucuses.
In Iowa, a
party must garner two percent of the vote in either a presidential
or governor's race to stay on the ballot. This threshold was surpassed
in 2000, when Ralph Nader, Green candidate for president, took three
percent of the Iowa vote.
evaporated two years later, when Jay Robinson, running for governor
on the Green ticket, failed
to meet the bar, receiving 14,628
1.4 percent of the total. Iowa Greens were thus relegated once again
to the political background.
ballot status is a major priority for the state party in 2004,
said Holly Hart, co-chair of the
Iowa Green Party.
is not going to be a year where we'll get a lot of votes,"
of Ralph Nader as a "spoiler" of Democratic presidential
candidate Al Gore's election in 2000 are likely to deter many people
from voting Green next year, Hart said.
Hart said, the Green Party is tentatively slated to have a caucus
in January but hasn't yet spelled out the details.
this would mark the Iowa Green's first attempt to select candidates
in such a manner. In 2000, according to Hart, ballots were printed
and sent to state Greens directly.
not a very strict vote," Hart said, adding that such a method
would not have "passed muster" had the Green Party had
official ballot status at the time.
candidacy marked the high water point for the Green party in Iowa
and throughout the United States. Following the election, Iowans
could officially register as members of the Green Party. According
to Hart, the party had 2,500 registered members in 2002.
majority of Green backers are younger voters who haven't formed
a long-term association with either the Republicans or Democrats,"
said Hart. However, she said that a significant portion of party
members are older voters who remember the days when viable Progressive
and Socialist parties espoused similar platforms.
the Green Party counted 292,512 registered members in the 20
states where the party has active
as of September
estimates complied by the California Green Party.
half of all registered Greens reside in California, according
to the report, and in no state does the
percentage of registered
1.7% of the
total registered electorate.
members were forcibly returned to the realm of the independents
Robinson failed to
reach the two
ran for lieutenant governor in that election, said that the Iowa
Green Party, in
other minor parties such
Libertarians and Socialists,
are currently lobbying the state legislature
to amend the requirements for active ballot
a party candidate
for any statewide
could reach two percent of the vote and fulfill
setbacks, Hart remains optimistic that the Greens are still a viable
force in Iowa politics.
are interested -- they like the platform and values of the party,"
Hart said. "The worse things get in Washington, the more people
will get fed up with the two-party system."
Jesse Helling at [email protected].