I’m going to be attending a meeting of the Northeast Ohio Green Party on the 18th of January. We’ll be discussing strategies for future elections in Ohio, particularly Northeast Ohio. This is especially important in light of the GOP’s efforts to remove two of Ohio’s Democrats from Congress by way of redistricting, likely Dennis Kucinich, Marcia Fudge, Betty Sutton, or Marcy Kaptur. Any two of these four Democrats could be on the Congressional chopping block. This means even less representation of the public than we have currently, and we haven’t much to begin with.
But it also presents Greens with an opportunity to expand our own efforts in Northeast Ohio. With legislative districts being redrawn to favor Republicans and hurt Democrats, areas that were previously closed to third parties because of strong Democrat presence may open up. This means we can run truly leftist candidates in areas where Democrats simply don’t bother or have been pushed out because of the redistricting. Also helping is the official ballot recognition of third parties in Ohio, which allowed Greens and other outside political parties to obtain ballot access for the first time last year.
The time to build up progressive political parties is now. The party is gathering signatures for 2012, 2014, and beyond in numerous states. But we should also be focusing our efforts at running in each and every local election, each and every year, wherever an election is being held. This means running during odd-numbered years as well, especially for judicial seats. If Greens can win enough judicial positions, it will be much more difficult for corporate interests to abuse the court system to run roughshod over people’s civil liberties. Races for municipal legislative and executive offices should also be run in, in every district holding them, during every election cycle
Finally, progressive Democrats like Kucinich, who have been marginalized and attacked by their own party for years, should make the jump to the Greens or whatever strong third party organization exists within his or her area. Such a move would inspire many disaffected progressives to finally make the leap and join the Green Party, which now represents Americans far more than either major political party does. This is borne out by polls showing that a majority of Americans want the rich to be taxed, that twenty percent want the Pentagon budget slashed, and that almost no one except the ridiculously wealthy wants Social Security or Medicare cut or eliminated. It only makes sense that as the Democrats move ever farther to the right to placate Republicans and large corporations, independent organizations would become the new home for progressives.
For 2011, Greens should be focusing on continuing to grow and build their party. Recruit disaffected progressives from among the Democrats, recruit younger voters (especially those coming out of high school and in college), run in every race no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Congressional districts currently held by Republicans should be identified and targeted for 2012.
We can do this. The time for taking back our country is now, and the opportunity for doing so has never been greater.