Michael O'Neil, U.S. Communications Manager for the Green Party, joins T.J. O’Hara, host of Deconstructed, to discuss the Party’s past, present, and future. Mr. O’Neil has over 15 years of political communications experience and has served the Green Party in a variety of capacities for the past 12 years, including roles as Assistant to the Campaign Manager for Dr. Jill Stein’s 2016 presidential campaign and co-manager of that campaign's Brooklyn, NY Office. He also performed significant roles for the Party in its 2014 and 2018 gubernatorial campaigns in New York as Downstate Coordinator and Campaign Manager, respectively.
Mr. O’Neil discusses the Green Parties “10 Key Values” with T. J. and provides insight into why each is so vital. He emphasizes why it is critical to for the Party to take a grassroots approach and why our social, political, and economic institutions need to be decentralized if we are to make progress.
Then, Mr. O’Neil dissects HR1, the Democrat’s self-named “For the People Act.” He mentions some of the important elements contained within that bill, but he also reveals the “poison pill” the Democrats included in it to emasculate Third Parties in an attempt to prevent them from being able to compete. It seems as though the major Parties like to compete, but only with each other.
T. J. asks Mr. O’Neil his opinion of the Biden Administration’s position on climate issues within the context of its proposed infrastructure plan, and Mr. O’Neil breaks it down. He offers an amusing description of how Republics and Democrats differ when it comes to climate and rains on both of their parades.
Mr. O’Neil also talks about the recent primary in New York City, which utilized Rank Choice Voting (RCV). He explains why RCV and proportional representation can change the political landscape, empower voters, and attract a new range of talent to run for office.
Then, T. J. queries him on the future of the Green Party. Mr. O’Neil identifies where the Party is heading, names some of its brightest stars, and talks about the focus of the Green Party’s upcoming Annual National Meeting.
If you have any preconceived impressions of the Green Party, this interview sets the record straight. You will learn what the Green Party genuinely believes and why, and you’ll learn about how the major Parties do their best to suppress it along with any other emerging threats to their power. Enjoy the interview and the education.
Have you ever wondered why the Green Party seems to be such a problem for the Democrats? Consider this. The Green Party has been consistently and deliberately misrepresented, marginalized and bullied at the ballot box and in the media by the very group of people who claim to hold democracy as the center of their platform. The Green Party has been referred to by the Democrats as insignificant, a wasted vote, too far left, etc. If so, why does the Democratic Party spend so much of their time, money, and effort to push the Greens off the ballot while simultaneously demanding the Green vote?
Everyone knows, the Republican Party's policies are unpopular with the American people. They are very aware, if they told the truth about those policies, they would rarely or never be able to win free and fair elections. Therefore, they have openly used voter suppression, voter intimidation and other immoral tactics in the past to attempt to influence elections. Now, the same is happening with the Democratic Party. Perhaps there are more parallels between the Democrats and Republicans than we realize.
The actual definition of the word Democracy is, “A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” The act of suppressing or eliminating the Green Party from the ballot shows how little the Democrats respect American voters. Attempting to shame Green voters by aligning them with the enemy (the Republican Party) is also a common tool Democrats us to intimidate their way to victory. When the idea of winning or maintaining perceived power exceeds the will of the people, we can never have true democracy.
Many in the Democratic Party disagree with the practices their leadership uses yet continue to support these methods by voting Democrat. Members who disagree with the status quo, tend to be either ridiculed or villainized. This strategy has so far, been extremely effective in trapping many voters into voting for policies they don’t like. For others, Green Party policies like a Green New Deal has been co-opted, watered down and re-packaged to feed the masses to pull left votes instead of listening to and empowering voters by allowing options.
The idea that the Democratic Party can be moved to the left has been making the rounds within the “progressive” wing of the party. However, this can never be possible because, like the Republicans, they continue to rely on corporate donations to fund their organization. If they follow this path, without challenge, the average American will continue to suffer under policies designed to benefit the top one percent. To date, there has been no real effort by the Democrats to remedy this.
The ONLY way to move the Democrats left is to force change by making them work for your vote. No political party or candidate should receive unconditional support, as it dilutes the power of the vote. In a true democracy, choice is vital. Without it, the status quo continues. If you are a registered democrat and disagree with dirty tactics employed by your party, if you support policies like the Green New Deal or Single-Payer Healthcare, if you support $15 minimum wage or Ranked Choice Voting, if you support free and fair elections, register Green because Democrat corporate donors will never allow the party to support these policies.
“We are in a climate emergency, with time rapidly running out to avoid climate collapse. Sacrificing needed action on climate in order to get sign-off from the climate-denying Republicans and their hordes of special interest donors is a crime against humanity. Biden says he understands the need to halt fossil fuels but his actions continue to prove otherwise,” said Mark Dunlea, Co-chair of the Green Party’s EcoAction Committee.
Biden’s deal with the Republicans would spend most of the $579 billion allocated on expanding fossil fuel infrastructure (airports, freeways) over five years while promoting privatization. Greens advocate for much larger investments to expand and electrify mass transit.
Biden’s deal does not include investments in green energy jobs, funds to combat the climate crisis and it omitted programs supporting energy efficiency for buildings. Biden originally asked for $213 billion to improve the energy efficiency of homes and $100 billion for energy-efficient schools.
The Green Party also slammed the Biden administration’s decision to uphold permits issued to Enbridge Energy to construct the Line 3 pipeline to bring nearly a million barrels of tar sands oil per day through untouched wetlands and the treaty territory of the Anishinaabe peoples in Minnesota. The Green Party EcoAction Committee is co-sponsoring a protest at the White House on June 30.
The decision was the latest in a series of actions taken by Biden to back Trump-era approvals of oil and gas infrastructure. Greens support the call for Biden to appoint anew commissioner to FERC (Federal Energy and Regulatory Emission) who supports stopping new fossil fuel projects.
The Green Party said that they will continue to advocate for a green economic stimulus package based on an ecosocialist Green New Deal, which Green candidates first campaigned for in 2010. The Green Party supports a $2.7 trillion annual investment in climate measures along with a $1.4 trillion annual investment in an Economic Bill of Rights, including a guaranteed living wage job, single-payer healthcare, housing and education.
Greens advocate for a Just Transition and ensuring that significant funding is given to environmental justice and frontline communities. It embraces the principles of sustainability including conservation, natural measures, the precautionary principle and reduction of consumption (especially in the U.S.).
The Green Party called on Congressional Democratic Party leaders to follow through with the claim they will seek to first pass a green stimulus reconciliation package before moving the infrastructure bill.
“We need a formal Presidential declaration of a climate emergency, marshaling all of the nation’s resources to build an energy system with zero emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2030. We need to democratically plan and control our energy future. The Democrats want to tinker with the capitalist market that has caused climate change; enriching hedge funds and private investors who put the wealth of the 1% ahead of the common good will deny future generations a livable planet,” said National Green Party Co-Chair Gloria Mattera.
The Green Party also opposes the financing mechanism for Biden’s infrastructure deal, which relies on "public-private partnerships, private activity bonds, direct pay bonds, and asset recycling for infrastructure investment” rather than raising taxes on the wealthy and large corporations and enacting polluter penalties (e.g., a carbon tax).
“Asset recycling” involves the sale or lease of public assets to the private sector so the government can put that money toward new investments. For example, this would facilitate a Wall Street takeover of public services like water. The Green Party supports democratic, public ownership rather than privatization of such common goods.
As a record heatwave bakes the Pacific Northwest, a draft report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leaked last week highlighted the need for urgent climate action. It warns that unless drastic and immediate action is taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions, life on earth is poised for a catastrophic reckoning. The reports warned that humans may have already missed its opportunity to keep global warming below the tipping point.
A Republican-led investigation concluded Wednesday that there was “no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud” in Michigan’s 2020 election, rejecting claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies that the state’s election results were fraudulent.
“There is no evidence presented at this time to prove either significant acts of fraud or that an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters,” the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee said in a report released Wednesday.
The report’s findings refute allegations that Trump and his supporters promoted about the 2020 election process in Michigan as they sought to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.
The release of the report comes after Michigan Republicans proposed bills that would overhaul the state’s election laws, including proposals that would require voters to submit IDs or only be allowed to cast provisional ballots, restrict the hours that voters could drop their ballots into curbside drop-boxes, and require a driver’s license or state identification numbers to request a mail-in ballot.
Republican say the bills would protect the integrity of elections — an argument made nationwide as GOP lawmakers push for more restrictive laws — while Democrats argue the measures are part of a GOP strategy to get fewer people to vote in the 2022 elections.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has denounced the measures and is expected to veto the bills. But GOP officials are threatening to use a quirk of Michigan law in which they gather enough signatures in a petition drive to circumvent the governor’s anticipated veto and enact the legislation.
The Senate committee, led by Republicans, debunked claims that deceased people or non-residents voted in the election, voting tabulators were compromised, ballots were harvested, ballots were “dumped” at the TCF Center in Detroit, and votes for Trump in Antrim County were switched.
According to the report, there were two cases in Wayne County where an individual appeared to have voted but was deceased. One was a clerical error in which a 118-year-old man shared an identical name with his son. The other was a 92-year-old woman who died days before the election.
Claims that people who were no longer Michigan residents but voted in the state elections also proved to be false, the committee said.
The committee said that there was no evidence that thousands of absentee voter ballots were mailed out without having been requested, adding that people who made these claims were equating absentee ballot applications with actual absentee ballots.
The committee also focused some of its most intense scrutiny on the false claims made that ballots were manipulated in Antrim County through Dominion Voting Systems. The report stated that the data “clearly and concisely shows that ideas and speculation that the Antrim County election workers or outside entities manipulated the vote by hand or electronically are indefensible.”
“Further, the Committee is appalled at what can only be deduced as a willful ignorance or avoidance of this proof perpetuated by some leading such speculation,” the report said.
The Michigan Senate Oversight Committee began its investigation into election fraud claims on November 7, just days after Election Day. Then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden won Michigan by 154,188 votes.
Last year, Michigan had conducted a statewide risk-limiting audit, reaffirming the accuracy of Michigan’s voting machines, including an audit of the ballots cast in Antrim County.
In compiling its Wednesday report, the Senate committee reviewed 28 hours of testimony from nearly 90 individuals, subpoenaed documents from government entities, and “countless” claims and concerns from Michiganders.
“Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan,” the committee said in its report. “The Committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain.”
The panel recommended that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel weigh investigating individuals who used misleading and false information about Antrim County’s results to raise money or gain publicity.
While it found no evidence of widespread fraud, the committee said there are “glaring issues” and “clear weaknesses” in Michigan’s elections system “that require legislative remedy.”
In its report, the committee recommended that the secretary of state cease mailing out unsolicited absentee ballot applications, signature verification requirements be established, and video security be added to ballot drop boxes, among other suggestions.
The committee is also pushing for county clerks to be given more authority to help remove deceased voters from Michigan’s voter registration system.
Some of the committee’s recommendations are already a part of the larger legislative package intended to overhaul the state’s election laws.
In keeping with the Green Key Values of diversity, social justice and feminism, we support full legal and political equality for all persons regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, characteristics, and expression.
Jun 04, 2021 By Lauren Gibbons | firstname.lastname@example.org
Both the Michigan House and Senate have formally recognized June as Pride Month for the first time in state history, according to the key backer of the measure.
Senate Resolution 60 and House Resolution 122, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, and Rep. Tim Sneller, D-Burton, recognizes June 2021 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month in Michigan. Both were adopted via voice vote on Thursday. The resolutions outline the history of Pride Month, acknowledge ongoing struggles the LGBTQ community has faced and recognize the contributions of Michigan’s LGBTQ residents to the state.
“Everyone in Michigan benefits from the multiple talents, viewpoints, and cultural backgrounds of all of its residents and from preserving the freedom, worth, and dignity of those in the LGBTQ community,” the resolutions read. “The people of Michigan understand, appreciate, and value the cultural, civic, and economic contributions of the LGBTQ communities to the greater community of the state, and affirm a celebration of love, living authentically, and accepting ourselves.”
In the Senate, two Republicans — Sens. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, and Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City — joined Senate Democrats as co-sponsors on the resolution. Resolutions are non-binding and do not have a direct impact on existing laws, but are frequently used by government bodies as a statement of priorities or to declare intentions. Previous efforts by Moss and other lawmakers to adopt Pride Month resolutions were not adopted by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Moss, who is the only openly gay person currently serving in the Michigan Senate, said on the floor the resolution was “symbolic, yet incredibly significant.” “I can’t even think of another initiative coming from the Legislature that even acknowledged LGBTQ people before,” Moss told MLive. “It’s been years in the making to get it adopted yesterday.”
Attorney General Dana Nessel — who on June 1 released a video with Moss recognizing Pride Month — and other Michigan elected officials celebrated the news, calling the measures significant and praising Moss for his years of work on the issue. Moss and other Democratic officials have long pushed for expanding Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include additional protections for LGBTQ residents.
The law currently protects people from discrimination based on several factors when it comes to employment, housing and public accommodations: religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status. There have been several efforts in recent years to add sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to that list of protected classes, both in the Legislature and via ballot initiative, although the proposal historically hasn’t gained traction in the Republican-led Legislature.
In 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Whitmer extended protections to cover people based on sexual orientation and gender identity within the state workforce and for state contractors and services. She also renamed a state office building after the two co-sponsors of the original law, Daisy Elliott and Mel Larsen. Moss said his work on advancing LGBTQ rights doesn’t stop with a Pride Month resolution and is hopeful continuing to press for significant policy changes will help move the needle.
“The consequences of gay marriage passing is that gay people got married, and nothing more. And the consequences of protecting LGBTQ workers from discrimination in the workplace means that LGBTQ Michiganders are able to hold a job, and contribute to the economy,” he said. “All of this progress will continue to propel and really back our argument that this is important, this is positive, this is critical for us to protect vulnerable populations from discrimination.”
MUSKEGON, MI – A rainbow Pride flag will fly in front of Muskegon City Hall during the month of June to honor and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Muskegon City Commission passed a resolution last year to recognize June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
“Flying the rainbow flag at City Hall throughout the month of June would symbolize the city’s celebration of diversity and respect for our LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex asexual) residents,” the resolution states.
Pride Month was first recognized nationally by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1999 and again by President Barack Obama during his tenure. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has honored June as Pride Month since 2019. Pride Month occurs in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots that is viewed as the launch of the modern LGBTQ-rights movement.
Muskegon Pride will be celebrating this month with a series of events, including the second annual Roll On bike parade on Thursday, June 9. Participants are encouraged to decorate their bikes for a ride from the Muskegon Farmers Market, 242 W Western Ave. to McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm, 175 E. Larch Ave., and back.
The parade goes from 6 to 9 p.m. More color will pop up in downtown Muskegon on Wednesday, June 9 at a Paint the Town event. The public is invited to meet at the Muskegon Farmers Market at 11 a.m. and paint the parking lines on W. Western Avenue between First Street and Terrace Street.
Muskegon Pride is also hosting an LGBTQ+ artist showcase at the Coffee Factory, 1402 Hudson St., on Friday, June 18 from 6-9 p.m.
More information can be found on Muskegon Pride’s Facebook page.
BY MATT BAUME
Around the world, Pride celebrations take a variety of forms, from parades to parties to protests and proms. Since the start of the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement in the 1970s, hundreds of independent Pride events have sprung up in cities worldwide, each distinctly local and generally tied in some way to the foundational Stonewall Riots in June.
After 50 years of Pride celebrations, these events have become so varied that you can usually find a way to celebrate that feels best to you, whether it’s the raucous jubilation of the NYC Pride parade, community forums at the LGBT Center in San Francisco, or the massive crowds that attend World Pride in a different city every two years.
But how did the last half-century of Pride become what it is today, and what are the best ways to celebrate? Let’s take a deep dive into Pride and explore its history, Pride around the world, and what the future of Pride might be.
What is the History of Pride Month and when were the first Pride Parades?
The Stonewall Riots weren’t the first time that LGBTQ+ people stood up against police harassment — before Stonewall, there was a riot in Los Angeles at Cooper Do-Nuts, and in San Francisco at Compton’s Cafeteria. But Stonewall is definitely the best-known, and led to the creation of what we know as Pride today.
It started with a police raid on a hot summer night in Greenwich Village. Cops stormed the Stonewall Inn, arresting patrons and forcing them into waiting police vehicles. But a nearby crowd grew restless and angry, and eventually someone — there’s debate over who — started whipping onlookers into fighting back. They pelted the police, forcing homophobic cops to retreat, and aggressive street confrontations continued over the next few nights.
Following the Stonewall Riots, organizers wanted to build on that spirit of resistance. The following year, they organized a march to Central Park, and adopted the theme of “Gay Pride” as a counterpoint to the prevailing attitude of shame. That march down Christopher Street soon expanded to other cities, with many more joining in year over year through the 1970s until Pride became the massive celebration that we know today.
When is Pride in Cities Around the World?
Each city’s Pride schedule is different, but most Pride celebrations, parades, and marches take place in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. A handful of cities opt for other months, usually due to inhospitable June weather, such as Palm Springs Pride (November), Auckland Pride (February), and Vancouver Pride (August).
Many of the larger cities coordinate their pride months through the international organization InterPride, which helps manage Pride celebrations around the world. Because there are only a limited number of days in June and hundreds of Pride celebrations, there’s bound to be a little overlap!
But major cities that are close to each other tend to avoid scheduling their events at the same time. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association maintains a calendar of over a hundred Pride events around the world, updated every year, to help you find the celebration that works best for your schedule.
What is the history of the NYC Pride Parade?
Just a few weeks after the Stonewall Riots, LGBTQ+ gathered for a “gay power” rally in Washington Square Park. It was clear that there was interest in holding more events like it, and over the following year local activists proposed a larger annual march, modeled on quieter protests that had been happening for years in Philadelphia.
The new annual protest was to be called “Christopher Street Liberation Day,” and were organized by representatives from groups like The Mattachine Society, Gay Activists Alliance, and the Gay Liberation Front. The first parade in New York City occurred on June 28, 1970, and attracted thousands of marchers carrying banners and signs.
What is the history of protest at Pride?
Since its beginning, Pride has been a political event. And although it may feel like a party today, protests have always been embedded in its very reason for existing. Pride has always been a protest against unjust systems, even when it’s lighthearted and fun.
Community organizers in New York included Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, who protested against unjust treatment and advocated for legal reform even before Stonewall. Once Pride events were established in major cities, they became opportunities to register queer people to vote, for groups like ACT UP to demand action on HIV, and to pressure politicians to express their support for the community by marching.
Several major Supreme Court rulings on LGBTQ+ equality have taken place in June, such as the Obergefell decision that legalized marriage equality; the Lawrence decision that ended sodomy bans; and the Bostock ruling that stopped hospitals from turning away trans patients. When those victories occurred, Pride events celebrated the win and redoubled efforts to advance queer liberation even further.
How is Pride commercialized, and how are activists resisting?
As Pride has grown, so has commercial and corporate influence. That’s led to concerns that Pride is moving away from its protest roots and becoming a party, at a time when there’s still a lot of work to be done — not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but for communities that overlap.
For years, organizers have raised concerns about the prominence of corporate logos at Pride, and about the money pouring in from wealthy companies. Of particular concern is the participation of politicians and corporations that don’t have LGBTQ+ interests at heart. In San Francisco, for example, organizers were outraged to see that the local Pride event was partially funded by Google, despite the company’s refusal to fully address homophobic harassment on its YouTube platform.
In response, activists have established independent Pride events in many cities. They have a variety of names, such as Alternative Pride or Queer Liberation March or Reclaim Pride. Those events take the form of raucous protests, sometimes disrupting the orderly, wealthy, corporate funded events to remind everyone that Pride is about more than just rainbows — it’s about radical change.
BY MATT BAUME
FROM GOALS TO ACTION:
A RAPID AND JUST TRANSITION
Groundwork’s Michigan Clean Energy Conference and MiCAN’s Michigan Climate Action Summit are joining forces this year for a powerful event that will bring together Biden Administration and Whitmer Administrative officials, community leaders, activists, policymakers, advocates, and businesses from across Michigan to move forward equitable and ambitious climate and clean energy solutions.
Nothing that will ever be printed in the media but here it goes.
The current escalation in attacks by the Israelis against the Palestinian people is a direct result of the manipulation by the US government and other Western states. The U.S. and its allies have been propping up the Israeli state since its creation, in order to maintain influence in the middle East.
This division and influence is beneficial to the extractive industries and the military industrial complex only, at the expense of innocent people's lives. The people of the world are called to press their own government to stop this interference and denounce the actions by Western powers and by the current western puppet leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Green Party of the United States condemns the deadly IDF attacks on Palestinian people. Many civilians and children have lost their lives in this latest, brutal example of why humanitarian law prohibits collective punishment. #BDS #SaveSheikhJarrahh
The Green Party supports Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination. Israel must end its occupation of Palestinian lands & dismantle the walls in the West Bank.
We support a U.S. foreign policy that promotes immediate disarmament and de-escalation, working toward the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples.
Learn more and support a party and candidates that unequivocally oppose the U.S. role of providing military arms and political cover for a system of apartheid at
With S1 going to markup before the U.S. Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday, May 11, the inherent hypocrisy behind HR1/S1 - the ‘For the People Act’ must be called out. But it won't happen as part of the public hearing process, because there won’t be any one present that will raise it.
From the Democratic Party side, the Rules Committee hearing is expected to focus on responding to concerns from election officials about requirements and timelines related to HR1/S1’s mandates for early voting, voting by mail, automatic voter registration and voting system standards. From the Republican side, it will be to propose amendments to weaken the voting protection rights contained in the bill.
However, ignored within this internecine duopoly struggle will be the hypocrisy that the Democratic-sponsored bill defends voting rights, but suppresses voter choice.
HR1/S1 contains incredibly important and urgent voting rights protections that must be passed into law, even if the filibuster has to be waived to do it. But, the bill also contains a clause that would drive smaller parties off the ballot, eliminating minor party competition for the Democrats.
For Green Party members like myself, this isn’t surprising, because Democrats have long pursued legal challenges to deny Green candidates a place on the ballot before the voters.
Hypocrisy and double standards
What makes HR1/S1 so outrageously and deliciously hypocritical - and yet so predictable - is that the same principle the bill rightfully applies in favor of needed voting rights protections does not apply to protecting voter choice - meaning Democrats want to protect your right to vote, as long you vote for them.
HR1/S1 supporters correctly argue that election laws enacted by Republican-controlled state legislatures have a disproportionately negative impact upon communities of color and other traditionally marginalized groups - and that HR1/S1 needs to override these laws with guaranteed federal protections for voting rights. Yet, when changes in HR1/S1 to the federal presidential campaign financing system would have a negative impact on minor parties and voters that support them, these same HR1/S1 supporters feign ignorance and look the other way.
In other words, ‘federal law should protect the right to vote, but still allow parties in power to use election laws to eliminate their competition.’ Perhaps this is because HR1/S1 is designed to convey partisan advantage to the Democratic Party?
Elections only for some of the people
HR1/S1 would raise the threshold to receive presidential primary matching funds to put it out of reach of most minor party presidential candidates; when the bill could easily provide for a two-tier matching funds system that would preserve the ability of the public to fund minor party campaigns. Losing presidential primary matching funds would not only substantially weaken minor party presidential campaigns, but it would mean those candidates and their parties will also have a harder time getting on the ballot.
Onerous state ballot access laws passed by Democrats and Republicans already mean minor party presidential candidates often have to qualify themselves and their parties via expensive petition drives, on an election-by-election, state-by-state basis. These petition drives are supported in many cases by matching funds — a practice long recognized by the Federal Elections Commission as a proper use of these funds (see FEC Advisory Opinions 1996-45, 1984-25, 1984-11, 1975-44).
Without matching funds, minor parties and their presidential candidates are unlikely to appear on the general election ballot in many states. Without state party ballot status, neither may many minor party, down-ticket state and congressional candidates --tossing aside voter choice for millions of voters who prefer to vote for minor party candidates
To maintain party ballot status in many states, minor party presidential candidates must receive a certain percentage of the general election vote. But they can’t if they aren’t on the ballot. According to Ballot Access News, because of laws written by Democrats and Republicans for minor parties, 11 states require a presidential result to stay on the ballot. In another 22 states, the presidential result is an option to stay on the ballot among qualifying statewide races, an option that would be lost as a result of HR1/S1.
As a result of the domino effect of (a) already existing overly-restrictive ballot access laws, and (b) the new loss of federal presidential matching funds as a result of the raised threshold, minor parties will begin to disappear under HR1/S1 — further clearing the field for the major party duopoly — at the same time polls show support for a ‘third party' in the U.S. at an all-time high.
In a misleading response (that was forwarded to the Green Party), Common Cause — which co-wrote the campaign finance section of HR1/S1 — said this to a Common Cause member who wrote to them concerned HR1 would hurt minor parties:
Thanks for your email. The claim that H.R. 1/S. 1 disadvantages third parties is untrue -- the bill treats all parties equally….The update to the qualifying threshold is merely modernizing the presidential small donor system to account for inflation and the increasing costs of presidential campaigns.
This is an incredible statement to make for a national organization that stands for voting rights and integrity in government. Just because a bill may treat all political parties equally, doesn’t mean it won’t disadvantage some compared to others in the process!
Cynically, this Common Cause letter employs the same sleight-of-hand reasoning as used by Georgia Republicans in adding a voter identification requirement to the process for requesting an absentee ballot, after previously only requiring voters to sign an application, and simultaneously shortening the time frame to request a ballot. “It treats all voters the same” argue supporters of the new Georgia law, while ignoring the well-known disparate impact of the requirement upon communities that disproportionally lack the requisite ID or access to getting them.
In the case of HR1/S1 and presidential primary public matching funds, Federal Election Commission records show that under the current system, nominees of six different minor parties have qualified for presidential matching funds on 13 different occasions since 1980, along with several independents. But HR1/S1 would raise the total dollar threshold by 500% of the current level, and the minimum number of donors by 625% - beyond the reach of most minor party candidates.
This will clearly and unequivocally disadvantage ‘third parties’ and voters who support them.
So what Common Cause is saying is not true. In a national campaign. For voting reform.
HR1/S1 is expected to come for floor vote in the U.S Senate no later than September.
At issue is whether Senate Democrats will waive the filibuster rule to pass it in the Senate by a simply majority vote, as the bill is facing vociferous Republican opposition and is not expected to receive any Republican support, certainly not the ten votes to reach the 60 needed to override the filibuster.
The Green Party’s position has been to seek amendment of the bill so that the existing presidential matching funds thresholds remain in place. Greens want the voting rights protections in HR1/S1 to pass, but not the hatchet job on voter choice.
This kind of amendment should be in the interest of all voters. Because without real voter choice, we don’t have a real democracy. Certainly not a democracy ‘For the People.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.
Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Michael O’Neil, Communications Manager, email@example.com, 202-804-2758
Diana C. Brown, Co-chair, Media Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-804-2758
Philena Farley, Co-chair, Media Committee, email@example.com, 202-804-2758
WASHINGTON — The Green Party of the United States said today that President Biden’s rumored climate goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030, reported in the press two days before his Earth Day Summit, is a step in the right direction but falls woefully short of what the science says must be done to avert a climate catastrophe.
“Democrats love to lecture that ‘half a loaf of bread is better than none’ but the President is offering half of a parachute when we’re about to be kicked out of an airplane,” said Green Party Communications Manager Michael O’Neil.
“The COVID pandemic showed us how quickly and profoundly we can alter the fundamentals of society when we recognize we’re in an overwhelming crisis,” said Howie Hawkins, the 2020 Green Party Presidential Nominee. “There’s no doubt that climate change is an existential crisis to humanity and the planet. Biden needs to formally declare a climate emergency and launch an all-out mobilization of national resources to give current and future generations a fighting chance for a future” said Hawkins who became the first candidate in the United States to campaign for a Green New Deal, in 2010.
The Green Party noted the science has long been clear: 7 years remain, at the world’s present rate of greenhouse gas emissions, before surpassing the limit required to keep warming below the 1.5℃ threshold that will trigger catastrophic climate change. Extreme weather, species extinction and fracturing ice sheets threatening massive sea level rise are all accelerating.
“Biden and the Democrats must, at long last, stop following the fossil fuel companies and their campaign contributions and start following the science,” said Green Party National Co-Chair Margaret Elisabeth. “That means a goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Aiming short of that is a plan to fail, before we even start.”
The Green Party’s plan for a Green New Deal — to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy while ensuring living wage jobs and economic security for everyone — calls for an annual, multi-trillion dollar investment that will include:
To pay for the program, the Green Party supports slashing the dangerous, bloated military budget (that devours over 60% of Congressional expenditures), enacting a carbon tax on polluters, and increasing taxes on the wealthy.
The Greens recently called for Congress to pass a ten-year, $4.1 trillion per year green economic stimulus to create 30 million jobs and accelerate the transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. By comparison, Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure stimulus barely scrapes the surface of urgent climate needs, with only $400 billion for specific climate measures, and even that is spread out over 8 years.
Green leaders also prioritize a Just Transition to guarantee good wages for existing fossil fuel workers and to invest in frontline communities that bear the greatest risk, both at home and abroad, who’ve long been the principal victims of fossil fuel pollution and climate change. The Green New Deal revitalization will include environmental reforms beyond energy and climate goals, such as stricter EPA guidelines for disposal of toxic waste and agriculture regulations for pesticides, herbicides and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
“Many Americans realize that the U.S. was an international climate pariah under Trump and his climate-change-denying promotion of fossil fuels. But they overlook how the U.S. was a negative force at the 2015 Paris climate summit, leading the industrial polluting nations in opposing a reduction in the global warming cap to 1.5℃ and blocking mandatory emission reductions. The world remains skeptical of the climate positions of both the Democrats and Republicans” added Green Party National Co-Chair Tamar Yager.
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