2010 was a roller coaster year for the Green Party. Mid-term elections proved voter dissatisfaction with the Democrats in power, but the media-darling Tea Party Movement drove voters to reactionary candidates, not helping Greens at the polls. International Greens saw successes in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other places, while US Greens were moved by the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza under siege by Israeli forces. The 2010 Annual National Meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan in conjunction with the US Social Forum, putting Greens side by side their brothers and sisters in the struggle for social justice in America. In the fall, Greens had many exciting candidates running for office including Jill Stein, LeAlan Jones, Laura Wells, Rich Whitney, Tom Clements, Colia Clark, Julia Willebrand, Farheen Hakeem, Howie Hawkins, Cecile Lawrence, Ben Manski, Fred Horsch, and so many other inspiring Greens.
The following Top 10 Green Party stories are taken from a combination of hits on Green Party Watch and other criteria to build a summary of the year. May 2011 be prosperous for Greens around the World. Time is running out.
Top 10 Green Party Stories of 2010
May 7, 2010 – Caroline Lucas becomes first Green Member of Parliament in United Kingdom – Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, won a hotly-contested race in Brighton Pavilion to become the Greens’ first-ever member of parliament. The Guardian summed it up best: “It’s a massive breakthrough, not only because she’s a brilliant, charismatic, humane politican who will enrich parliamentary life, but also because it proves it can be done, even under our antiquated political system.”
May 31, 2010 Green Party and Cynthia McKinney Condemn Freedom Flotilla Massacre – In May of this year the Israeli Navy attacked a flotilla of ships run by the Free Gaza movement carrying humanitarian supplies to the besieged residents of the Gaza Strip. 19 human rights activists were killed in the attack and 50 more wounded. The Green Party, led by 2008 Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, have been vocal and active critics of Israel’s war on the people of Gaza.
“The attacks on the aid boats is a criminal act of piracy and a deliberate provocation,” said Dr. Justine McCabe, co-chair of the Green Party’s International Committee. ““We demand immediate action from the US, including emergency orders from President Obama to cut off all aid to Israel. The policies of the US regarding Israel and Palestine up to now have convinced Israel that it can act with impunity in committing massacres and massive human violations against Palestinian civilians.”
2008 Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, who was taken prisoner by the Israelis last year on another attack on a Free Gaza ship, said: “I am outraged at Israel’s latest criminal act. I mourn with my fellow Free Gaza travelers, the lives that have been lost by Israel’s needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.”
June 8, 2010 – California Voters Pass Prop 14, Top Two Primary Initiative By a 53% – 46% margin, California voters approved adopting a “top two primary” election reform, a system whereby all candidates appear on a single ballot in the primary but only the top two, regardless of political party, advance to the General Election.
California Gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells had this to say: “Prop 14 pretends to be “open primary,” but more accurately should be called “top two,” or party-killer! Only two candidates would be left in November, when Prop 14 would exclude all the independent, alternative political parties like the Green Party, Peace and Freedom, and Libertarian. Prop 14 would favor only Democrats and Republicans that are incumbents or highly funded.”
June 24-27, 2010 – Green Party Annual National Meeting in Detroit in Conjunction with US Social Forum The Green Party’s Annual National Meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan in conjunction with the US Social Forum. The Green Party sponsored several Social Forum workshops and registration was cross-listed between the two events. Many Green Party candidates were in attendance and available to the media. A number of candidate presentations were taped by Green Party Watch and can be found through this link.
June 2010 – Republicans pay to get Green Party on Ballot in Texas, Democrats Livid If there is one thing that drives Democrats crazier than a Green “spoiling” an election, it is Greens getting on the ballot at all despite overwhelming odds. In Texas, a Republican consultant in Arizona arranged for a non-profit in Missouri to pay for Free & Equal to come up with 92,000 signatures to get the Green Party of Texas on the ballot up and down the ticket. Democrats were livid, immediately suing and issuing injunctions against ballot access. The case went to the Texas supreme court before culminating with the Green Party candidates being allowed to remain on the ballot.
The ultimate result of this was that Ed Lindsay, Green Party of Texas candidate for State Comptroller won over 5% of the vote, ensuring that the Green Party of Texas will have state wide ballot access through the 2012 elections.
August 21, 2010 – Historic Election Results for Australian Greens The Australian Green Party performed very well in the federal elections in Australia, with Adam Bandt winning a seat outright in Melbourne with over 36% of the first-choice vote, and the Greens winning about 12% of the vote in the lower house, giving them a share of control over the balance of power in the Australian Parliament.
September 21, 2010 – Green Party Senate candidate Natasha Pettigrew hit and killed on bicycle Natasha Pettigrew, Senate candidate for the Green Party in Maryland, was riding in the bike lane on a highway early on a Sunday morning by an inattentive driver of a SUV. The driver apparently didn’t realize she had hit anyone until she arrived home. Pettigrew died from her injuries the next day. This (long after the fact) article really captures the influence this story had on people.
November 3, 2010 – Green Party Gains Ballot Access in Texas and New York Election returns resulted in the Green Party gaining ballot access through at least 2012 in two of the most populous states, New York and Texas, however the Green Party lost ballot access in Illinois and Wisconsin. In New York Greens gain ballot status through 2014 thanks to Howie Hawkins earning over 50,000 votes for governor. In Texas Greens gain ballot status through 2012 thanks to Ed Lindsay earning over 5% for comptroller.
November 5, 2010 – Green Party Candidates for US Senate Net Half Million Votes The eleven Green Party candidates on the ballot this year for US Senate netted a combined half million votes. The 510,000 votes is the highest combined total for Green Party Senate candidates since 2000, when Medea Benjamin won 326,000 votes for US Senate in California and Vance Hansen picked up over 100,000 in Arizona. The 2010 results were clearly led by Tom Clements in South Carolina, whose 118,000 votes gave him 9.37% of the total. Clements had the most votes and the highest percent of the vote of all Green Party US Senate candidates in 2010. LeAlan Jones was the second big finisher with 116,000 votes, 3.19% of the total.
2010 – Green Party Elects 37 Greens to Office in 2010 342 Greens ran for office in 2010, over 300 of them were on the ballot in November. 37 Greens were elected, a win rate of 10.8%. All but 2 of the wins were in non-partisan races.
On the November ballot, Greens had strong showings for State Legislative races, but fell short in races for Governor and US House of Representatives. One Green, Ben Chipman, was elected to the Maine State Assembly but was listed as an Independent due to a technicality.