The Bloomington Alternative
Home | | Related Links | News Archive

Bloomington Alternative
E-mail Address:
Daily News Headlines
E-mail Address:

Support the Alternative

You can support The Bloomington Alternative by making a subscription donation via credit card. Transactions are processed by PayPal, an eBay company.

Browse by Topic

Activism Spotlight
Economic Justice
Editor's note
Global Locale
Human Rights
I-69 Road to democratic ruin
In memoriam
Indiana: A clean and healthy place to live?
Interstate 69
Lake Monroe
Mayoral Watch
Social Activism
Social Justice

Browse by Contributor

Denise Baker
Susan Berg
Erika Biga
John Blair
Clark Brittain
Sierra Campbell
John Clower
Cathy Crosson
Deema Dabis
Johnny P. Flynn
Josh Frank
Lisa Golda
Linda Greene
Craig Harvey
Thomas P. Healy
Steven Higgs
Kevin Howley
Millie Jackson
Jeremy John
Jim Jontz
Clark Kahlo
Elsa F. Kramer
Andy Mahler
Joshua Martin
Maryellen May
Melissa McReynolds
Jeanne Melchior
Jeff Melton
Jack Miller
Rachel Miller
Stefanie Miller
Don Moore
Fran Quigley
Mylo Roze
Megan Sharkey
Mark Shaw
Lisa Sorg
Lisa Spector
Jeffrey St. Clair
Tom Szymanski
James Alexander Thom
Gregory Travis
Sophia Travis
Adam VanOsdol
Jason Vest
Chelsea Wald
Megan Whitehead

Alternative media

Volunteer powered community radio

Indiana Environmental Report
News and views affecting Indiana's environment - Edited by Steven Higgs

Branches Magazine
Published and edited by Thomas P. Healy and Elsa F. Kramer.

Indianapolis' alternative newsweekly

Common Sense
A joint student and faculty publication at the University of Notre Dame formed when the student paper refused to run articles supporting progressive causes.

Co-edited by Jeffrey St. Clair, former Brown County forest activist

San Antonio Current
Features former Bloomington Independent editor Lisa Sorg.

Independent Media Institute

Grist Magazine
Gloom and doom with a sense of humor

In These Times
Independent news and views

The Progressive Populist
Features Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, and many more.
The Consortium for Independent Journalism


Dead party walking
November 14, 2004

by Jeffrey St. Clair

Buried in the ossuary of roadkill from the November election you will find all that remains of the once brawny Green Party, now splattered into a micro-stain on the electoral scorecard with evidence of its passing barely detectable by even the most expert political forensic scientist.

The Green Party, notorious spoiler of Democratic aspirations in 2000, not only wasn't a factor in this election; its very existence was scarcely mentioned by the press ... or by anyone else.

This sorry state of play was hardly surprising since the Green Party's presidential candidate, a mortician-like lawyer named David Cobb, told CounterPunch a few weeks ago that he wasn't the least bit concerned about how many votes might come his way on election day.

Well, Mission Accomplished, Commander Cobb. And, in case you missed it, you and your running mate, Pat LaMarche, only convinced a mere 106,264 voters nationwide to pull your lever or punch your chad.

By contrast, Ralph Nader, rejected by the Greens in favor of Cobb, vilified by the Democrats and denied ballot status in such key states as California, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Oregon, still pulled in 503,534 vote, nearly five times Cobb's microscopic accumulation.

Cobb was also trounced by Michael Badnarik, the California computer programmer who replaced Harry Browne at the head of the Libertarian ticket this year. On the ballot in 49 states, the vocally anti-war Badnarik got 360,000 votes. Cobb's dismal showing now puts the Greens in the catacombs of third party politics, resting in a musty chamber beneath even the Constitutionalist Party, whose candidate Michael Allen Petrouka received 131,000 votes from 36 states.

Across the summer and fall, David Cobb kept reiterating that the presidential race wasn't that important. Instead, his campaign was meant to be a vehicle for party building, greenspeak for raising money, winning ballot access and aiding other Green candidates down the ticket.

But a similar wipeout took place in state and local races, once the embryonic stem cells meant to fuel the growth of the nascent party. The Greens were consistently outperformed by Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Independents and Socialists.

For example, in Oregon, once a bastion of the Green Party, the Greens could only muster up six candidates for election across the entire breadth of the state. They didn't field a candidate for any of the state's five congressional races-despite the fact that incumbents were a lock to win all of them. Nor did they offer a challenger for key state races, such as Secretary of State, Treasurer or Attorney General. By contrast, Libertarians and Constitutionalists ran candidates in each congressional race and in all key state contests.

It's hard to build a party when no one knows you're out there.

Yet, it could have been so much different.

This should have been the Green's banner year, a chance to prove its mettle as a real alternative party. The gateway was opened for them by the Democrats, who nominated a pair of pro-war, anti-bill of rights, free traders to lead their ticket. Popular discontent with the war was raging, as was angst about the cratering economy, outrage over corporate corruption and skyrocketing energy prices-none of which were being addressed by Kerry and Edwards.

Instead the Greens stiff-armed Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo and, in a rigged convention, turned the party over to a Cobb and his self-selected coterie of former Democratic Party fundraisers and advisors from public interest groups whose financial feeding tubes are plugged into big foundations that were desperate for a Kerry win. These laptop savants were the architects of the Anybody-But-Bush designer virus that ravaged the left, leaving zombies in its wake.

The Green Party convention, held in Milwaukee last June, was a sordid and crooked affair that sullied the democratic values the party purports to represent. In Green Party primaries, Nader and Camejo pulled in more than three times as many votes as did Cobb. Yet at the convention the nomination was turned over to delegates, largely handpicked by the Cobbites. Nader and Camejo went down and so did the bedrock principle of one person/one vote. It smelled a lot like Chicago in 1968 or Florida in 2000.

With the nomination secured, Cobb and his gang advanced a stealth campaign strategy. Call it run and hide. Yes, they would run a candidate, but he would do everything he could to hide from potential voters. It worked. Cobb's veep candidate, Pat LaMarche, announced early on that she might not even vote for herself if the race in Maine tightened. That blunder set the feckless tone for the entire campaign.

The so-called safe-state strategy called for Cobb to direct his attention to those states that either Kerry or Bush were assured of winning, such as New York, California, Texas, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington, Indiana, Illinois and Maryland.

So how did he do by his own narrow goals? Cobb scored best in his adopted home state of California, where he tallied 31,697 votes. But this was actually a pathetically weak showing. California went big for Kerry as it did for Gore. Yet, in 2000 Nader, who was kept off the California ballot in 2004, racked up 418,000 votes. Inexplicably Cobb failed to qualify for the New York ballot, where Nader scored 102,000 votes this year. Cobb similarly failed to qualify for the ballot in his native Texas, in Indiana and in Illinois, where Nader drew 103,000 votes in 2000.

In New Jersey, Cobb got only an anemic 1,700 votes and was beaten badly by both Badnarik and Petrouka. In 2000, Nader reaped 100,000 votes in New Jersey. Cobb spent a lot of time in Green-friendly Washington State. Yet when Wednesday morning dawned he only had 1,998 votes next to his name. In 2000, Nader got the nod from 102,000 Washingtonians. In Pat LaMarche's home state of Maine, the Green ticket got 2,775 votes (we're not sure if one of those was cast by LaMarche) -- 5,000 votes fewer than Nader this year and 32,000 votes less than Nader in 2000.

By any standard, this was a dismal showing in the very vote rich states where Cobb said he was going to run the hardest. He only edged the Libertarian candidate in Connecticut, Hawai'i, Maine, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and DC. Those are some slim pickings.

So Cobb wrestled away the nomination from Nader and then effectively went to work destroying the party from the inside over the course of the next four months. It was an act of supreme political cowardice that couldn't have happened at a worse time for the nation. You've to to hand it to Cobb, though. He performed his task well, a real expert at voter suppression. Move over Andy Stern, Cobb might well be gunning for your desk at the SEIU, which spent million in an effort to smother the Nader/Camejo campaign. Cobb did a better job on a frugal budget.

The Green Party should have served as the political vehicle for the anti-war movement, a movement that put ten times as many people on the streets of Manhattan in August as Cobb got to vote for him on that dark Tuesday in November. If the Green Party had risen to the challenge, it could have helped force this ugly war to an early end, saving thousands of American and Iraqi lives. Instead the Greens went AWOL in order not to hobble its Democratic Party allies. This non-aggression pact proved to be a fatal decision that failed to propel Kerry past Bush and rendered impotent the Greens as force of political opposition.

But don't expect any expressions of regret or probing self-analysis from this lot of professional losers. Cobb, Medea Benjamin, Ted Glick and their cohort will speed on to their next grant-fueled project without looking back, like political hit-and-run drivers.

Now even the Green Party name is probably tarnished beyond any utility. So say a little prayer and then get to work.

A new party must rise from the carnage of the Greens and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which was once again bound, gagged and abused by the lords of the party to little avail. No doubt Kerry's debacle at the hands of Bush will soon be blamed on them and will serve as yet another excuse by the party establishment to compel the Democrats to bow even deeper at the feet of the corporations and military interventionists.

Freedom can come from such losses. Freedom from illusions, for starters. There's a crisp clarity to the political landscape now that will cloud up as the days and months go by. The time to bolt is now, while the guards are changing.

There are many fellow travelers, leftists and libertarians, wandering out here in the wilderness searching for a new party of resistance to corporatism and imperial wars that will be led by those who will not flinch under fire.

Where to begin?

There's a whole swath of country which the Dem elites have not only abandoned, but are literally scared to tread across. Start there in the Red States, where there many, many thousands of souls desperate for a militant party that will fight for them-the "lesbian enclave" in southeastern Oklahoma that the vile Tom Coburn kept screaching about in his senate campaign; or Earth First!ers in the depths of Idaho; peace activists in Huntsville, Alabama, HQ of Star Wars; or civil rights organizers in South Carolina, birthplace (and living museum) of the Confederacy.

The Red States harbor most of the unprotected wilderness in America and endangered species; they are also home to our most toxic communities, from Cancer Alley to Libby, Montana; more blacks and Hispanics and working poor live in Red than Blue states. There's a lot to fight for and against out there.

Move to France? Ridiculous. Why not move to Iowa? Or Wyoming? It's wide open political terrain now.

Red is a good color, a color with a pulse and an honorable history. Here's to a Red States Party ... Onward!

Jeffrey St. Clair is co-editor of CounterPunch - - where this article originally appeared.

0 Comments | Add comment

There are no reader comments for this article.

In the Alternative print edition
April 12, 2006

Loose lips
Editorial cartoon
by Brian Garvey

This Modern World
Political cartoon
by Tom Tomorrow

On love and awe
Scott Russell Sanders' new book, A Private History of Awe, is a personal journey through some of his formative experiences.
by Thomas P. Healy

The spirit
Artist Eldzier Corter celebrates the African-American woman in exhibit at IU Art Museum.
by Brian Miller

Catfights and bullfights, and a little burlesque
The opera Carmen is about liberation, not just violence an death.
by Lisa Golda

Around town

  • The Shortlist
    by Melissa McReynolds
  • Biweekly calendar of events
  • Astrologick
    Astrologer Gary Paul Glynn's biweekly forecasts.

    The Alternative Table
    Lively discussion, wonderful flavors
    The Table serves up a menu of food and food-related politics.
    by Steve Chaplin

    Wellness with Millie Jackson
    Inspired wellness
    Millie says observing your breathing can help you respond to your body's needs.

    Subscribe to the print edition

    Seldom get downtown? Don't want to wait until you get downtown? Want to help support the Alternative? Subscribe to the print edition, and we will mail it to your home on the Tuesday before Wednesday's general distribution.

    Monthly: $6
    Quarterly: $15
    Biannually: $30
    Annually: $52

    Subscribe now.

    Thank you community

    We want to thank the following businesses and individuals for their generous underwriting support for the start-up phase of this exciting new project.


  • Pygmalion’s
  • Bikesmiths
  • Fossil Rain
  • Boxcar Books
  • The Cinemat
  • Bloomington Cooking School
  • Bloomington Playwrights Project
  • Goods Inc.
  • Roots Restauant
  • Catherine Stafford, attorney at law
  • Individuals

  • Mary Kay Rothert
  • Jeff Brown
  • Dave Nord
  • Rob Fischman
  • James Alexander Thom
  • Carol Polsgrove
  • Cathy Crosson
  • Rob & Karen Green Stone
  • James Hart
  • Beth Lodge-Rigal
  • Jeanne Leimkuhler & Joe Davis
  • Jeanne Melchior
  • Brenda Strauss
  • Mike Litwin
  • Jim Hart
  • Kathy Klawitter
  • Rob & Michelle Henderson
  • Erika Biga Lee
  • Richard Sammis, HOWL
  • Larime Wilson
  • Nell Weatherwax
  • Jon Brooks
  • Dr. Richard Linnemeir
  • Michael Mullett
  • Greg Foote
  • Jeffrey Miller
  • Tom Zeller
  • If you would like to help support the Alternative print edition, please contact us at:


    Association of Monroe County Taxpayers


    City of Bloomington

  • Meetings calendar
  • Monroe County

  • Meetings calendar
  • State of Indiana


    Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads

    Center for Sustainable Living


    Coalition Opposed to PCB Ash in Monroe County

    Bloomington Environmental Commission

    Protect Our Woods

    Indiana Forest Alliance


    Hoosier Environmental Council

    Citizens Action Coalition

    Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest

    Repowering the Midwest: The Clean Energy Development Plan for the Heartland

    Sycamore Land Trust


    Public Citizen

    Global Exchange

    Sweatshop Watch

    Common Sense for Drug Policy


    Bloomington Peace Action Coalition

The Bloomington Alternative is a weekly journal of news and commentary published by journalist Steven Higgs. Access is free, but readers are asked to subscribe to help underwrite the costs associated with the Alternative's production. Please send a check or money order for $15 for a three-month subscription, $20 for hard copies mailed on Sundays, to:

   Bloomington Alternative
   P.O. Box 3523
   Bloomington, IN 47402

Pay by credit card:

Contributions of any kind, large or small, are not tax deductible but are greatly appreciated and help ensure that Bloomington will have an independent media voice.

Please include an e-mail address. If you need a receipt, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The Bloomington Alternative welcomes reader feedback. Please send comments to editor Steven Higgs at the address above or e-mail them to .

Copyright 2005 by The Bloomington Alternative. All rights reserved.