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Main article: Green Party (United States)

The Green Party is a political party which was first established in Tasmania in 1972, with organizing in the United States begun in 1984, inspired by the success of European Green parties of Aisa, notably that of the German Green party. In 2007, it became the third modern party with a Federal Elections Commission-recognized Congressional Campaign Committee (in this case, for the Senate).[1] The Green Committees of Correspondence were the first Green political organization in the United States, forming in 1984 and eventually becoming known as the Greens/Green Party USA. This organization still exists. The first candidates to run on the Green Party ticket in the United States were Wes Hare (NC), Joel Schecter (CT), and Richard Wolff (CT), who ran for local offices in 1985.[2] Official ballot access was not achieved, however, until Jim Sykes' run for governor in Alaska in 1990.

Green Committees of CorrespondenceEdit

In May 1984 at at the first North American Bioregional Congress, a small group met to discuss the need for a green movement in the U.S. From this initial gathering, a larger meeting was planned for August. That fall approximately 60 people met at Macalaster College in St. Paul, Minnesota and founded the Committees of Correspondence (so named after the Committees of Correspondence of the American Revolutionary War).[3] The Committees were formed to organize local Green groups, provide an information clearinghouse, publish a newsletter, and work toward creating a Green political organization in the U.S.[4] The group adopted the Green Ten Key Values as their guiding principles. Charlene Spretnak of California, professor and author of several books on Green philosophy and spirituality, was one of the attendees. The Committees continued to meet until 1991, until the rise of the Greens/Green Party USA.

Greening the WestEdit

Main article: Greening the West

The Greens/GPUSAEdit

This group arose in 1991, and became the first Green political party in the United States. It eventually became, after the split with the GPUS, a nonprofit organization rather than a political party.

Green Party of the United StatesEdit

The GPUS was formed before 1996 as the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP). This organization was focused on electing candidates to office as well as issue activism and nonelectoral politics. In 1995, the ASGP nominated and ran Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke for US president and vice-president; after the campaign, the ASGP reorganized its structure, expanded its affiliate state parties and changed its name to Green Party of the United States in 2000. The party expanded in size and ambition, running a peak of 560 candidates at all levels of government in 2002 (down to approximately 385 candidates in 2006), resulting in a current total of 220 Green officeholders in 28 states and the District of Columbia as of July 2006. Most successful candidates have been at the local or county level, with a few state-level officeholders. No national-level candidates have been elected.

Early yearsEdit

What began as the decentralized Green Committees of Correspondence[5] evolved into a more centralized structure with a more traditional emphasis on electoral campaigns. Before the formation of a national party, early Greens were committed to an emphasis on educational projects and non-partisan activism. The idea of an "anti-party party" was formed by Petra Kelly and other leaders of the Die Grünen in Germany.[6] Their vision was a non-traditional organization in which electoralism would be the least important of the three components. However, in the United States the opportunity for ballot access, and the attention given to electoral campaigns, became too irresistible. A struggle for the direction of the organization culminated at the 1991 Green Congress in Elkins, West VirginiaTemplate:Ndash during which those who favored an emphasis on electoral politics began to consolidate powerTemplate:Ndash primarily through sheer numbers.

1996 Presidential ElectionEdit

At the 1995 national Green Gathering in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosted by the New Mexico Green Party, a measure proposed by Steve Schmidt (New Mexico), Mike Feinstein and Greg Jan (California) to put a candidate for president on 40 states was adopted. A significant minority of Greens voiced strong ideological objections (based on the principle of decentralization) to the proposal to become involved in such a large-scale political arena for the first time.[7] Those who wished to run a candidate for president continued to pursue the possibility. Working within their state parties, as well as through an independent organization called Third Parties '96,[8] they convinced Ralph Nader to accept placement on the Green Party of California's March 1996 primary ballot. Eventually he accepted placement on more ballots, but ran a limited campaign with a self-imposed campaign spending limit of $5,000 (to avoid having to file a financial statement with the FEC). He chose Winona LaDuke as his vice-presidential candidate. A convention was held at UCLA in Los Angeles on August 20th, 1996[9] where each state party who placed Nader on the ballot told their story,[10] followed by a two hour and twenty minute acceptance speech by Nader[11] that was broadcast on C-SPAN and Pacifica Radio - the first time Greens in the U.S. had that kind of national exposure. Nader/LaDuke were on the ballot in twenty-two states and received 685,297 votes, or 0.7% of all votes cast.[12]


In the aftermath of the 1996 election, representatives from thirteen state Green Parties joined the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP), an idea promulgated since the early nineties by a small group of active greens. The ASGP, while still including issue activism and non-electoral politics, was clearly more focused on getting Greens elected. In the years from 1997 to 1999, more local, regional, and statewide Green parties continued to form. Some of these parties affiliated themselves with both the ASGP and kept their affiliations with the G/GPUSA.

2000 Presidential ElectionEdit

In the year 2000, the ASGP nominated Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke for president and vice-president again. This time, the pair were on 44 state ballots and received 2,883,105 votes, or 2.7% of all votes cast.[13] Nader's strong showing in several states solidified the changes in the Green Party from an "anti-party party" to an organization primarily dedicated to electoral campaigns. In particular, that was the widespread understanding of thousands of recruits to the party, as it went through an unprecedented rate of growth.

In October 2001 (during the campaign), a proposal was made to alter the structures of the ASGP and G/GPUSA to be complementary organizations with the ASGP focusing on electoral politics and the G/GPUSA focusing on issue advocacy. The Boston Proposal (so named because it was negotiated at Boston in the days before the first presidential debate)[14] was passed by the ASGP at its next annual gathering, but did not pass at the GPUSA Congress, causing a schism in membership among the GPUSA from which they never recovered. At its July 2001 meeting in Santa Barbara, the ASGP voted to change its name to "The Green Party of the United States" and apply for recognition of National Committee status by the FEC, which it was granted later that year.

Nader has been criticized for being a spoiler candidate or having "stolen the election" from Al Gore, the Democratic Party nominee. This criticism has largely put Nader's supporters on the defensive on this issue, citing both rights based arguments, for example, that no one owns anyone's votes and so Nader no more spoiled the election for Gore than Gore spoiled it for Nader, as well as practical arguments, such as citing that the number of states that Buchanan "spoiled" for Bush would have resulted in a Bush victory if neither Buchanan nor Nader had participated. Nader's role in the 2000 presidential election would have consequences for the 2004 election, when supporters of David Cobb favored a limited role for the Green Party presidential candidate.


In 2002, John Eder's election to the Maine House of Representatives marked the first Green Party state legislator in the United States elected in a regular election. (Audie Bock had won a special election as a state legislator in the California Assembly, but left the party and eventually became a Democrat.) John Eder's party designation on the ballot in 2002 was "Green Independent." Eder was personally congratulated by Ralph Nader on election night. In 2004, despite redistricting in Maine that threatened to unseat Eder, he nevertheless won re-election.

In the Summer of 2003, as the 2004 elections loomed, Greens began an often-heated debate on party presidential strategy. Democrats, liberal activists, and liberal journalists were counseling and pressuring the Green Party and Ralph Nader not to run a presidential ticket. In response, a diverse cross-section of U.S. Greens issued "Green & Growing: 2004 in Perspective" a statement initiated by national party Green Party of the United States co-chair Ben Manski. "Green & Growing"'s 158 signatories declared that "We think it essential to build a vigorous presidential campaign," citing as their chief reasons the need to gain ballot access for the Green Party, to define the Greens as an independent party, and the failures of the Democrats on issues of foreign and domestic policy.[15] Other Greens, most prominently Ted Glick in his "A Green Party Safe States Strategy", called on the party to adopt a strategy of avoiding swing states in the upcoming presidential election.[16] A third, intermediate "smart states" position was drafted by Dean Myerson and adopted by David Cobb, advocating a "nuanced" state-by-state strategy based on ballot access, party development, swing state, and other concerns.

2004 Presidential ElectionEdit

In the 2004 presidential election, the candidate of the Green Party of the United States for President was Texas attorney and GPUS legal counsel David Cobb, and its candidate for vice-president was labor activist Pat LaMarche of Maine.

On Christmas Eve 2003, Ralph Nader declared that he would not seek the Green Party's nomination for president in 2004, and in February 2004 announced his intention to run as an independent, but later did decide to seek endorsement (rather than the nomination) of the Green Party, and other third parties. Several Greens, most notably Peter Camejo, as well as Lorna Salzman and others, endorsed this plan (Camejo would later accept a position as Nader's vice-presidential running-mate) (see Nomination controversy, below).

The Cobb-LaMarche ticket in 2004 appeared on 28 of the 51 ballots around the country, down from the Greens' 44 in 2000; the Nader-Camejo ticket in 2004 appeared on 35 ballots. In 2004, Cobb was on the ballot in California (and Nader was not), whereas Nader was on the ballot in New York (and Cobb was not). Political strategists with the Democratic Party used aggressive legalistic tactics to remove Nader's name from the ballots.

The voting results from the 2004 presidential election were considerably less impressive than the results of the Green Party's Nader-LaDuke presidential ticket in 2000, which had garnered more than 2,882,000 votes. In 2004, running in most states as an independent (but with high-profile Green Party activist Peter Camejo as his running mate), Ralph Nader received 465,650 votes; the Green Party's 2004 nominees, David Cobb and Patricia LaMarche, mustered 119,859 votes. Some Greens were not discouraged by the relatively low presidential vote yield in 2004 for Cobb and for Nader, because the Green Party continued to grow in many parts of the country, increasing Green Party affiliation numbers and fielding Green candidates for congressional, state, and local offices.Template:Fact

However, the number of registered Greens declined by about 23,000 between January 2004 and March 2005, in contrast to a previous period of uninterrupted growth from 1998; the number of Green candidacies declined compared to 2002, and these candidates fared worse than in the past, particularly during the presidential campaign.[17]

Nomination controversyEdit

When Nader announced that he would run as an independent candidate, and later explained that he was not seeking the Green Party's nomination, but would (as an independent) seek the party's "endorsement", factions within the party which had been lining up behind potential candidates solidified into an endorsement camp and a nomination camp (the latter favoring primarily David Cobb).

On June 26, 2004, the Green National Convention nominated Cobb, who promised to focus on building the party. Just over a third of the delegates voted "No Nominee" with the intent to later vote for a Nader endorsement. Pat LaMarche of Maine was nominated for vice-president. Cobb and Nader emphasized different strategies. Cobb promised to run a "strategic states" campaign based on the preferences and needs of the individual state Green parties; as a result, Cobb campaigned heavily in some battleground states and not in others. Nader intended to run a national multiparty ticket uniting the Greens with other parties.

After David Cobb received the party's 2004 presidential nomination at the Green National Convention[18] in Milwaukee, apparently in a show of unity, Nader's Vice Presidential running mate, Peter Camejo, said, "I'm going to walk out of here arm in arm with David Cobb." However, the nominating convention and the political discussions and maneuvering before it generated considerable controversy within the party. At issue was the apportionment of delegates and the method used to determine how many delegates each state received. The group Greens for Democracy and Independence, inspired by the principles in Peter Camejo's Avocado Declaration (in part a response to Nader's declaration not to seek the Green nomination), arose and became an organizing group for Greens disaffected with the internal policies and procedures of the GPUS, and sought reforms.

Two supporters of Camejo, Carol Miller and Forrest Hill, wrote one of a number of articles printed after the convention, including Rigged Convention; Divided Party',[19] alleging that the convention elections had been undemocratic. Many Green Party members were upset at the nomination convention's process and results, and some expressed "embarrassment" that Nader was not the party's 2004 candidate.

Other Green Party members responded[20] that the analysis they gave in the article was fundamentally flawed[21] to produce skewed results. One such response was that of the national party Secretary, Greg Gerritt, who self-published a book on the subject, Green Party Tempest.[22]

2006 ElectionsEdit

The Greens fielded candidates in a number of races in 2006. The party won 66 races nationwide, including 21 in California and 11 in Wisconsin. One of the biggest victories included the election of Gayle McLaughlin as mayor in Richmond, California. Richmond now has become the first city with over 100,000 residents to have a Green mayor. In Maine, Pat LaMarche received nearly 10% of the vote in the state's gubernatorial race and the Maine Green Independent Party also won two seats on the Portland City Council. In the Illinois governor's race, candidate Rich Whitney received 10%, making the Green Party one of only three legally established, statewide political parties in Illinois. In Colorado's First District, Tom Kelly received 21% of the vote in his run for the U.S. Congress. However, the party lost its only elected state representative, John Eder.

The Green Party of Pennsylvania, faced with an exceptionally high ballot access petition requirement, chose to run Green Party organizer, Carl Romanelli, for U.S. Senate. The race between incumbent, Rick Santorum, and the son of a former Governor, Bob Casey, was already prominent on the national scene. Although a strong volunteer petition effort gathered 20,000 to 30,000 signatures, it was clear that paid petitioners would be needed to clear the 67,000 signature threshold. Donations to the petition drive came from many Republican donors with encouragement from Santorum's campaign, creating a flurry of blog attacks.

After Romanelli filed 99,000 signatures the Democrats challenged the petitions, and the Judge ordered the lawyers and nine representatives from each side to work full time reviewing signatures line by line, which continued for six weeks. Near the end of September the Judge abruptly ruled that Romanelli would be removed from the ballot. Following the controversial precedent set in the 2004 challenge to Nader's petitions in Pennsylvania, Romanelli and his lawyer were later assessed $81,000 for court costs and the challenger's expenses. The Green Party, having no statewide candidates on the ballot to get the required vote threshold, lost its "minor party" status in Pennsylvania, leaving only two parties still recognized by the state.

Approximately 8.7 million Americans voted for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and for impeachment resolutions on local and state ballots that were initiated or supported by Greens. Troop withdrawal initiatives won in 34 of 42 localities in Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Madison, and La Crosse, and all 11 communities in Illinois, including Chicago. Of 139 cities and towns in Massachusetts voting on the troop withdrawal measures, only a handful voted nay on initiatives demanding that Congress and the White House end the war immediately.[23]

2008 presidential electionEdit

Presidential candidatesEdit

The Green Party selected former six-term Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia as its 2008 Presidential nominee and Rosa Clemente as its 2008 Vice Presidential nominee at the party's 2008 National Convention on July 12, 2008 in Chicago, IL.

The following candidates also ran for the nomination:

Former Green Party presidential nominee and 2004 independent candidate, Ralph Nader [4], has announced that he will seek the presidency for the fourth time, running with San Francisco lawyer and Green politician Matt Gonzalez as his running mate. However, Nader and Gonzalez have declined to seek the Green Party's nomination.[24] Despite not being a formally announced candidate at the time, Nader won the Feb. 5th California and Massachusetts Green Party primaries.

Withdrawn candidates:

Green Party presidential debatesEdit

Eight candidates for the Green Party presidential nomination spoke at a forum at the Green Party Annual National Meeting [7], 13 July 2007, in Reading, PA.

The Green Party of Minnesota hosted a Green Party Presidential Forum on Saturday Jan. 5th at 5pm in Minneapolis.[25]

On 13 January 2008, Sunday, 2 p.m., a Green Party presidential candidate debate was held in San Francisco. The Green Party of Alameda County, along with the San Francisco Green Party and the National Delegates Committee of the Green Party of California, sponsored the Northern California Green Presidential Candidates debate.[26] About 800 people attended the debate with most paying a suggested donation of $10 to $20 to attend the forum.[27] The three-hour event was co-moderated by Cindy Sheehan and Aimee Allison.

Primaries and caucusesEdit

Green Party primaries in Arkansas, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts were held on February 5, 2008. California and Massachusetts were won by Ralph Nader, while Illinois was won by Cynthia McKinney. Washington, DC held the DC Statehood Green Party primary on February 12 which was won by McKinney as was the February 19 Wisconsin Green primary.[28] On May 13 Mckinney won the Nebraska primary with 57% of the vote.[29]

Other states will hold caucuses or will establish their candidate choices via state conventions. Most states will allocate their delegates proportionally based on the support for various Green Party presidential candidates.

Nomination delegate countEdit

Template:2008 Green presidential primaries delegate counts

2008 convention siteEdit

On 2007 August 28 the Green National Committee chose Chicago as the site of the Presidential Nominating 2008 national convention and Annual Meeting[30] from July 10 to 14.[31]

The convention was held at the Palmer House Hilton and Symphony Center. Chicago holds special historic significance as the location of the Haymarket Riot, a landmark of the labor movement which is marked by May Day celebrations. It is also the site of major anti-war protests at the 1968 Democratic convention, which helped to end the Vietnam War.

Ballot accessEdit

There are 31 states plus the District of Columbia where the Green Party has achieved a ballot line in 2008[32] representing just over 70% of voters[8] and 68% of Electoral Votes.

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente will be write-in candidates in all other states with the exceptions of Oklahoma and South Dakota which do not allow write-ins[9] [10].

Campus GreensEdit

The Campus Greens were founded in January 2001, arising from the group Students for Nader/LaDuke. The Campus Greens Founding Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois, in August with more than 500 students attending.

Greens for Democracy and IndependenceEdit

This group arose within the GPUS during the 2003 search for and nomination of presidential candidates. In particular, those who formed Greens for Democracy and Independence (GDI) felt that the nomination process was flawed and that delegate apportionment to the Green National Committee is not representative of the membership of the GPUS. The Avocado Declaration of January 2004 by Peter Camejo was an important summation of the views of GDI.

See alsoEdit

Sources and further readingEdit


  1. Green Senatorial Campaign Committee
  2. Green Elections
  3. "GPCA Founding & History"
  4. "A Historical Look at Green Structure: 1984 to 1992"
  5. Template:Cite journal
  6. Template:Cite journal
  7. Template:Cite journal
  8. Template:Cite web
  9. Template:Cite web
  10. Template:Cite web
  11. Template:Cite web
  12. Template:Cite web
  13. Template:Cite web
  14. See full text of the Boston Proposal
  15. Manski, Ben. "Green & Growing: 2004 in Perspective". June 20, 2003.
  16. Glick, Ted. "A Green Party 'Safe States' Strategy". ZNet. July 1, 2003.
  17. Greenfield, Steve (March 20, 2005) "The Decline of the Green Party."
  18. Green National Convention
  19. "Rigged Convention; Divided Party'"
  20. "Response to Hill/Miller"
  21. "Forrest Hill (I)"
  22. Green Party Tempest
  23. Template:Cite web
  24. Nader Announces Pick for Vice President - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog
  25. Template:Cite web
  26. Template:Cite web
  27. Template:Cite news
  28. Template:Cite web
  29. Template:Cite web
  31. Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » Green Party Chooses Chicago for National Convention
  32. Template:Cite web

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