2012 Green Party Presidential Candidate ___________

FEB 3, 2012 NOTE – This article is OLD. This article describes the four candidates actually seeking the nomination, and Green Party Watch is covering the campaigns daily.

Talk about 2012 and who might be a good Green Party standard bearer as the Presidential Nominee really began in earnest about one month before the 2008 election concluded. So talking about it now, in the summer of 2010, isn’t really out of line or out of place, and perhaps is overdue.

The conversation has already begun on the GPUS National Committee delegate email list, with names tossed around such as Barbara Ehrenreich, Margaret Flowers, Van Jones, and of course Cynthia McKinney. What I find interesting is the variety in “goals” that Greens expect from a Presidential candidate, and the variety of “types” of candidates that people think might accomplish those goals,

So what are the goals of running a national Green Party candidate for President? Winning the White House seems to rank low thanks to the reality of the duopoly in US Politics. So what, then? Five Percent might be brought up, because if a presidential candidate gets five percent of the national vote that political party is eligible for millions of dollars in support of the next presidential nominating convention, but more than that, the percent received by the candidate can impact ballot access in a number of states, Texas, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin just to name a few.

Another major goal often brought up is “party building”. A national candidate for President can travel the land raising money and recruiting volunteers for local chapters everywhere. Nader did it. Cobb did it. And McKinney did it as well, bringing new people into the Green Party fold, some of whom are now candidates for federal office or have taken leadership positions within the party.

So who might be a good Green Party candidate for President? Lets explore the topic by “type” of candidate.

The “Name” candidate

This group of candidates would include those who have a well known name for themselves in the public eye – the bigger the better. It is all about name recognition, but perhaps at a smaller scale. Lets face it, Nader was a “name candidate”, Cobb was not. McKinney was. Van Jones is close, but I would class him more as an “issue candidate”. Celebrities fall in this category, such as: Michael Moore, Amy Goodman, Susan Sarandon perhaps, Ben Affleck (or is it Matt Damon?), and any other famous person who wants to risk their career by taking the “Green Cause” to the political scene. My first choice for a “celebrity candidate” at this point would be Woody Harrelson, tied into the “Issue Candidate” category below for his Cannabis Activism.

The Issue Candidate

This category would include those candidates who are big activists on a narrower issue. Margaret Flowers is a universal heath care advocate. Woody Harrelson is a “legalize marijuana” advocate. Cindy Sheehan is an anti-war activist. Jesse Johnson is an anti-coal mining activist. Cynthia McKinney in a way is a social justice candidate, with emphasis on Palestinian Liberation. Would an “issue candidate” help the party meet its goals? My personal favorite potential “issue candidate” is Kathy Kelly, an anti-war / peace advocate who is a wonderful speaker, I would love to see her at the top of our ballot.

“Insider Candidate”

There is a case made for a Presidential candidate who is a political insider, an organizer within the party or a candidate for federal or state office who has done well. Kent Mesplay falls in this category, as does kat swift, and certainly David Cobb. What about Rich Whitney in Illinois? Jill Stein? Laura Wells? What about a party organizer like Mike Feinstein, Farheen Hakim, or Claudia Ellquist? Would a Green without national name recognition have any impact? Would a Green who had a broader package than a single issue candidate improve our returns? I think if the Green Party is going to consider an insider candidate, they would do well to tag someone who has run in high profile races and done well, who can speak well, raise money, and campaign. Rich Whitney, who got 360,000 votes for 10% in 2006 would be a leading candidate, and I would also bring attention to Jill Stein, who got over 3% of the vote running for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Medea Benjamin, who brought in over 300,000 votes running for US Senate in California in 2000, and Rebekah Kennedy, whose 200,000 votes in Arkansas in 2008 for US Senate brought her 20% of the vote.

Who will the Green Party recruit? Who will the Green Party attract? Will McKinney run again? Will there be another Draft Nader campaign? And if a Green is elected President in 2012, will the world still end as per the Mayan Calendar?

Ronald Hardy


  1. Van Jones! Van Jones!!

    His Wikipedia page reads like a dream list of things I’d like to see a Green Party candidate to have done and been involved with: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Jones

    I’m inspired by his convictions and his serious work in terms of activism and environmentalism. He’s shown he’s passionate about environmentalism and social justice issues, and that he can get things done. I’m thinking of his Green For All program here, having announced his intention to create the organization in 2007 and then opening its doors in 2008. His work in this and other things have been applauded by many people. Most importantly, I believe, he is someone that you could not easily dismiss as some fringe third-party candidate. He’s a person to take seriously and pay attention to, and that’s something we really need.

  2. Rebekah Kennedy. 206,000+ votes in Arkansas as a Green Party candidate for Senate demands she get primary attention. No other Green Party politician has done as well. It would also mean a coming of age for the Green Party wherein they run someone for president who is actually Green! I love Cynthia McKinney social justice stance, but she is not a Green. Neither is consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Along with rebekah Kennedy there is another kennedy that deserves vice-presidential attention, and will give all you rich, yuppie Greens someone to crow about — Bobby Kennedy Jr.

    Ya wanna win sumthin’? Kennedy & Kennedy for 2012.

  3. Ed Mortimer,
    Cynthia McKinney registered Green in California. She was supported by and worked with the Green Party in Georgia for many years before that. She changed her registration before she ran for President.

    If you followed her congressional career she’s far more than just a “social justice” candidate. She introduced legislation for Proportional Representation, called for investigation of 9/11, investigated election irregularities, has been anti-war, involved in many foreign affairs issues just to name a few.

    Most Greens I know of are not rich yuppies. Those might be typical liberal Democrats. Bobby Kennedy Jr. is a Democrat and has no history that I know of with the Green Party. I doubt he would sever his relationship with the Democratic Party.

    Rebekah Kennedy does have a good track record with the Arkansas Green Party.

    Personally I’m not sure if any “name” candidate would risk their “name value” to run as a Green. We’d have to have the resources to put that candidate on the ballot on most states as well as raise money to make “primary” matching funds.

  4. Craig – you are correct, Cynthia McKinney was (is) much more than a social justice candidate. I felt that that was her strongest area, but she has been a staunch anti-war advocate and champion of fair elections. No slight was intended on my part.

  5. I have had real conversations with every candidate who has sought the Green nomination since 2004. Name candidates, no hope candidates, mentally ill candidates, long time Green candidates. All of them. The only ones worth thinking about are those who really get how difficult running for President is and are willing to put party building at the top of their agenda. Another key factor is the willingness to work for the nomination, you know, actually campaign to GREENS in primary season and raise some money.

    If anyone finds any willing candidates, I am happy to help prepare them based on my experience with Green presidential politics.

  6. Van Jones is an Obama supporter, why would he run against Obama? I support Jim Hightower. He is strong on the environment and has a good personality.

  7. The Green Party needs a serious national candidate with the ability and resources break through the media blackout.

    Michael Bloomberg is the best Green Party candidate.

    The Green Party needs a candidate that advocates rebuilding America’s infrastructure and getting us off foriegn oil. Michael Bloomberg created the foundation for Building America’s future for just that purpose.


    The Green Party needs a presidential candidate that can recruit, run/campaign with and assist a full slate of 435 Green Party candidates for U.S. House, and 34 Green Party candidates for U.S. Senate.

    Michael Bloomberg is the Green Party presidential candidate who can do that, and put Green Party candidates in office from every state, and most districts in the United States.

    The Green Party needs a presidential candidate, who has run for an been elected to a serious office. Michael Bloomberg has a record of impressive success.

    Michael Bloomberg is the best Green Party candidate for president for the Green Party in 2012

    The Green Party needs a candidate for President who can build the Green Party into America’s third major party.

    On a long list of Green Party issues, Michael Bloomberg has led the way. Increasing civil rights, building green jobs, and much more..

    Michael Bloomberg and the Green Party are a powerful force for the dramatic evolutionary change our nation needs.

  8. Mr. Campbell – your multiple comments are making you appear like a spammer. You are very enthusiastic, but I wonder if you can control yourself a little bit.

  9. I like Cynthia McKinney alot, but she had a lackluster campaign last time. We need a dynamic individual who can motivate the people from the podium.

    If you can’t see the big issue is the Environment, then go down to the Gulf and smell the air.

    Green Party must address all the issues we face, but the Green Party is named Green because of it’s environmental roots. Make the environment, oil, energy and our future the topic to talk about, and find a candidate who can speak effectively and with enthusiasm, and maybe we can get a decent vote.

  10. Why should we take bloomberg seriously on the environment when he defends bp. Also doesn’t electing a corporatist like Bloomberg clash with Ron Fisher’s goal of getting big money out of politics?

  11. @ Craig Seeman

    I have followed Cynthia Mckinney’s career very closely. I love her, and I voted for her. However, as a “Green” she admitted herself she didn’t at first realize she was a good fit for the Green Party. Yes, she did all those things you said, and more . . . but where’s the environmental work? Anti-war, yes. Impeach Bush & Cheney, yes. Investigation of 9/11 & Katrina Aftermath, yes. Proportional representation, yes. But aren’t they all under the umbrella of social justice? Not that social justice isn’t one of the pl,anks of the Green party, it is most definitely. But we need a true environmentalist.

    As for Bobby Kennedy Jr, true, he is a democrat. He was asked last time about joining the Green Party because of his very strong environmental record, but he declined because he didn’t want to take away from Obama’s chances at a historic presidency . . . but now that we see Obama is just another corporatist politician there might be a reason for Bobby Kennedy Jr to come over to the party that supports the things he fights for. He is not a Green, but he is an environmentalist of the first order.

    I don’t want to minimize any of the party’s 10 principles, but at this juncture we are in desperate need of someone to bring the urgency of environmental issues to the greater public.

  12. Thanks for this post, Ron. Hard to believe I’ve taken so long to weigh in.

    I’m curious – which of the people you mentioned in your post are Greens? Is Barbara Ehrenreich? Margaret Flowers?

    I’d like to see a candidate who can really articulate the Green message while speaking to people’s economic concerns. Jill Stein comes to the top of my mental list. She is a wonderful speaker and debater, speaks clearly and to the point, and comes across as a genuine person trying to make a difference for the better. Rich Whitney is also a good standard-bearer. I think Jill or Rich could break through to state legislature within the next few years, but they could also really benefit the party by running for president.

    I’ve also thought about Jim Hightower and Van Jones a few times. Both are right on issue-wise, but I don’t know how wedded they are to the Democratic Party. I’d love to see them run for the nomination.

  13. How about someone who can get their faces on national tv? We all know how hard it is for our favorite candidates to get into debates and appear on shows in the states they run in, how can we ever hope to get a GP candidate on a national program?

    I was wondering earlier what the point even was of running someone for president, bur I like the idea of getting 5+%. We need someone articulate and extremely compelling to get a strong nationwide grassroots effort going. Someone bigger than Nader. There has to be huge involvement from a lot of groups, from labor to students, immigrants to econonists (the ones who know that its reallt our local economies we should be supporting).

  14. There are a lot of reasons to run someone for president. First of all, there are several states where ballot access rests on the presidential nominee getting more than a certain threshold of votes. Second, it’s a way to promote the Green Party and its national platform, and claim the right to be part of the public debate (even if the official debates still lock us out). Third, lots of people (even those who should know better) use presidential races to gauge the strength of a party. To them, going from 2.8% in 2000 to 0.1% in 2004 and 0.12% in 2008 means the GP is in inexorable decline – they don’t pay attention to party-building in Illinois and Arkansas.

    5+% in 2010 is an excellent, and attainable, goal. Aside from the benefits for ballot access and public funding, we need to define victory for ourselves and realize the benefits of running a presidential campaign even if we don’t win the White House. Surpassing Nader’s 2000 performance would send the message that the Green Party is growing (thus helping to further build the party) and subvert the corporate media narrative that Obama brought “too much change” for Americans to handle, when we know that the Democrats have brought far too little.

  15. Dave Schwab is correct. Thanks also for permission to reply to the gentlewoman above..

    She cited a month old statement from Michael Bloomberg and in my humble, respectful opinion misrepresented what Mr. Bloomberg said, according to her link and Daily Politics.

    Michael Bloomberg said, ” The guy that runs BP didn’t exactly go down there and blow up the well. And what’s more, if you want him to fix it and they’re the only ones with the expertise, I think I might wait to look, assign blame, and til we get it fixed, I don’t want him focusing on anything other, the lawyers.

    I want him focusing. Sure. But unfortunately it’s not any one person or one party or one branch of government. It’s, there’s got to be somebody that’s culpable in everything. C’mon.”

    Makes sense to me.

    Why it matters. Michael Bloomberg would be a great Green Party candidate for President, or any other office. He is honorable, trustworthy, and in fact an eagle scout still living by those values. In my opinion he has lead an extremely noble life, and dedicated billions in donations to the public good.

    Michael Bloomberg and the Green Party would be a positive, potent, productive team.

    Thank you for allowing this response…with respect.

  16. Dear Green Party,

    I always thought that Al Gore would make a good candidate for the Green Party in 2012, even though he is a Democrat. I think that Al Gore is a good potential candidate due to his good experience with concern for the environment. I think that his movie (An Inconvenient Truth) would be a good item for his platform.

    –Patrick Weeks–

  17. I posted this article a few weeks ago and sent it to the National Green Party steering-committee and (I think) some of Cynthia’s people.


    I love RFK Jr. and would love to see him run. I think the Green ticket should be used for party building. Ideally I’d like to see a Jesse Ventura/RFK Jr. Independent Ticket (I even own ventura4president2012.com which I may start posting on). Said Indi ticket could have RFK Jr. campaigning across the country with Greens and Progressives (even doing joint rallies with our nominee) and Jesse Ventura doing the same with the Libertarians.

  18. Hello. I’ve been tossing around the idea of having a Green Party forum where we discuss things more at length. Using things like Greenpartywatch or Facebook isn’t enough to get in depth with these issues. So what’s the point? The point is, contact the national Green Party to make a Green Party forum. or go here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Party/46129589757 and leave a comment saying you want a god-damn forum. We are here to win, not to play 3rd place…

  19. Eddie…why not make one yourself? Or just get together with some Greens in your area to discuss things more in depth? I find offline is always better than online.

  20. @Jack

    Jesse Ventura believes global warming to be a “hoax”, so I don’t think he’d make such a great candidate for a Green Party ticket.

    @Eddie & Ross

    Online and offline both have their advantages and disadvantages. Offline in being more personal and human in it’s interactions, and online in that it can reach large masses of people around the nation fairly quickly. Online is pretty much a necessity at this point for any successful political movement, but offline organizing via the ground is also necessary. For any political movement to be successful, it’s going to have to leverage both. So in that case, a Green Party national web forum probably isn’t a bad idea.

  21. It is almost beyond belief that a national Green Party forum has not been created? What are the guys up in the national headquarters doing anyways? Not only is a forum an alternative, it is the imperative!

    Honestly, Im not computer savvy, and I dont know where to begin to make a website.

  22. whoever puts up an issues canidate that focuses of jobs and trade policies to bring work back to this country is going to win. People are desperate and feel like nothing is being done. Democrat, republican, green or liberitarian makes no difference. whoever runs on this platform will win.

  23. Van Jones would be an excellent candidate. He just might do it, too. I would vote for him any day.

    Cynthia McKinney was not a great choice last time, she harbors too many conspiracy theories that make her completely unsupportable if you don’t like conspiracy theories.

  24. Hello everyone. We must pick a VERY GOOD very good candidate and back them up. I absolutely LOVE Van Jones (VAN THE MAN!) but after Obama I don’t think america will vote for him. Bloomberg…hmmm I wonder. Would he? I am new to the green party can someone explain to me who is the best right now? Not to be a pessimist, but they have got to the absolute best if we are gonna win in 2012! Is Al Gore even considered a green candidate at this point? He came very close to the white house until Bush cheated his way into office. Isn’t ANdrew Cuomo a green advocate?

  25. I am a long life democrat who voted for president Obama -but he promised to leave Iraq and Afganistan and has not -he caved on the bush tax credits and has done nothing for the unions who built the middle class.And now it may appear he might blink on social security -you can not reason with republicans in a appeared position of weakness which he is projecting.I would favor a green candidate with national recognition such as a BOBBY KENNEDY JR. running against pres. obama

  26. Why not give Woody a try? People seem to like electing celebrities and I think he could really garner some votes. I understand the desire to put forth a “serious” candidate, but why can’t a movie star be a serious candidate? His work in activism for environmental causes and anti-prohibition have been extremely impresive and long fought. More impresive than the work of any Democratic or Republican candidate I can think of… GO WOODY~!!

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