I have a problem with the Greens…. I have a problem with these fake, attention seeking, grandstanding Green…party candidates who pop up every four years, like mushrooms in shit, saying that they’re building a third party. And those of us who don’t have a home in the Republican Party, don’t have a home in the Democratic Party, can’t get behind every Democratic position or Republican position, should gravitate toward these third parties. And help build a third party movement by every four fucking years voting for one of these assholes like Jill fucking Stein, who I’m sure is a lovely person, she’s only an asshole in this aspect.
Where are the Green Party candidates for city councils? For county councils? For state legislatures? For state assessor? For state insurance commissioner? For governor? For fucking dogcatcher? I would be SO willing to vote for Green Party candidates who are starting at the bottom, grassroots, bottom up, building a third party, a viable third party.
Rather predictably, this ‘epic rant’ was lapped up eagerly by Hillary Clinton supporters, sundry folks resigned to ‘pragmatic politics,’ and those still haunted by the ghost of Ralph Nader. (Savage knows how to play a crowd; he always has. Back in the day when he used to be an advice columnist for the New York Press, he used to specialize in abusing–in similar, profanity-ridden language–those who wrote to him, thus providing himself and his many readers loads of chuckles. This rant was also provoked by a query from a listener on a podcast show. Old tricks die hard.)
The problem with Savage’s seemingly grounded-in-reality perspective–which is also evident in his snappy reply to the Green Party’s pointing out that they do in fact run candidates at the local level–is that Savage himself seems clueless about the nature of electoral politics in the US. To wit, part of building a viable third-party movement is getting a national soapbox to talk about the issues it cares about, and that soapbox only becomes available–for a sustained period–during the presidential campaign.
Consider for instance that Savage has only bothered to launch his rant at the Greens during a presidential election season, and that it has received as much attention as it has because American voters are lapping up election news–of all and any kind–this year. The intense attention paid to electoral politics during what has undoubtedly been one of the weirdest campaign years of all has benefited the Greens; confronted with the choices offered to them by the two mainstream political parties many longing looks have been sent their way by many progressives of all hues. This has forced–on a national level–a reckoning with the platform the Greens offer, which might in turn help a local Green Party candidate in another election down the line who can then count on his or her manifesto not being utterly unfamiliar to the electorate. Contrary to Savage’s assertions, the Greens aren’t queue jumpers; they just happen to realize that in order to beat the two-party system, every trick in the book has to be utilized. One them happens to be running a Presidential candidate.
It would be idiotic for the Greens to sit out a presidential election, especially in these times when traditional media outlets have ceded so much of their authority to newer forms. (Something Savage, of all people, should know.) It would be especially idiotic, if not irresponsible, for the Greens to sit out a presidential election when they know that the demographic of the future, the millennials, are happiest utilizing those very same forms of media to get their news and political commentary. Savage doesn’t realize it, but running a presidential candidate this year is building for the future. Stein knows she won’t win the election; but she does know that many younger voters have now become aware of the Green Party’s offerings as a result of her candidacy.
Dan Savage’s ‘epic rant’ is not a call to pragmatism; it’s merely an attention-seeking juvenile grandstanding show. Perhaps he should stick to dishing out advice on human sexuality. Or go run for the post of local dogcatcher.
Note: Al Gore lost the presidential election in 2000 because a) many Democrats voted for Bush and b) the Supreme Court handed the election to George W. Bush. The canard that Nader cost Gore the election will not die, of course.