Voting Democratic won�t help Green grow, candidate asserts
By RONNIE RATLIFF JR, The Virginian-Pilot
© May 12, 2004
NORFOLK � He wore cowboy boots, talked fast in a Texas drawl and called President Bush an �absolute horror.�
David Cobb brought his campaign for the Green Party�s presidential nomination
to a group of people at the Fair Grounds Coffee House in Norfolk on Tuesday. His goals include ousting Bush, helping the Green Party grow and, eventually, changing the entire election process in the United States.
Cobb is the first to admit that achieving these goals won�t be easy. He will have to persuade voters � Democrats, progressives, even Green Party members � that voting for him won�t make him a �spoiler� who steals votes from the Democratic candidate and thus ensures the election of Bush, as Green Party candidate Ralph Nader was accused of doing in the 2000 election.
First, Cobb has to persuade Green Party delegates to choose him at the party�s national convention, scheduled to be held in Milwaukee in June .
Some Greens have argued that anyone would be better than Bush, so their votes should go to Democrat John Kerry , Cobb said.
Kerry has earned high marks from groups such as the League of Conservation Voters .
But Cobb argued that a vote for Kerry will not help the Green Party grow. And the Democratic Party and its primary process is the place where progressive politics goes to die, he said.
Cobb�s strategy is to campaign hardest not in the usual swing states but in states such as Virginia, where Bush is all but assured of victory.
�Don�t waste your vote� by voting for Kerry, he told his audience. �Invest your vote.�
In the swing states, where a vote for Cobb could actually count, his strategy becomes less clear.
On the one hand, voters should have the chance to vote for him if they choose, he said. But he also said he doesn�t want to �unintentionally� be the election spoiler.
Cobb is a lawyer who served as the national Green Party�s general counsel before running for president.
He hopes to help the Green Party grow at the state and national levels, getting enough votes to keep the party on the ballots in future years and registering more Green Party voters.
This year the Green Party has 44 organized state parties , is on the ballot in 23 states and boasts 205 elected officials across the country. That compares with 10 state parties, five state ballot listings and 40 elected officials in 1996 .
In Virginia, Cobb said, the party is petitioning to be listed on the ballot.
The Green Party�s new list of ideals includes ending the use of war as foreign policy, �dismantling the military-industrial complex and the transnational corporate empire that it supports,� and providing public funding for political campaigns.
Cobb said the country should stand for a government of equality, justice and liberty rather than an American empire based on greed, exploitation and oppression.
�Our current system is broken, and the Greens are the only ones advocating the overhaul,� Cobb said. �This is our government. We are serious, credible citizen activists.�
Although he calls Bush �a big problem,� and said his foreign policy �puts us at war with the rest of the world,� Cobb said the real problem is �the racist, sexist, classist and homophobic socio-political-economic system that is literally destroying our planet.�
Reach Ronnie Ratliff at 446-2949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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