The Year of the Well Known

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on

Well known candidates, in that the major third parties seem to be choosing them this year.  First the Libertarian Party chooses former GOP Congressman Bob Barr to head their ticket, and now the Green Party seems to thinking along the same lines: choose somebody people have heard about.

As Ballot Access reports, former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has taken the lead in delegates to the Green Party’s convention next month:

Cynthia McKinney now has the support of over 50% of the delegates to the Green Party national convention who have been chosen so far. Although not all state Green Parties have chosen their delegates, most of them have, so it is very likely that she will obtain the nomination. The national convention is July 10-13 in Chicago. This post originally said she had clinched the nomination, but that was not accurate.

As a point of interest, McKinney, like Bob Barr, is also from Georgia.

Is this the year where the major third parties are looking for faces, rather than perhaps strict adherence to platform, to try and make a bigger showing than in years past?  I’m not sure.  Lets face it; several times the Greens have run Ralph Nader, and while it’s gotten a few percent of the vote at best, it hasn’t made it big.  The difference between Nader and McKinney, though, is that she has some actual national legislative experience, which could help her, at least in the nomination.

Like McKinney, the Libertarians also have somebody with national legislative experience on their ticket this year, something they’ve sorely been lacking in their candidates since Ron Paul ran on the ticket in ’88.  So, four parties in 2008 have somebody who’s worked in Washington as their candidates.

Picking McKinney I sort of get.  Her political views pretty closely align with the Greens as far as I can tell, although I’m not sure of any particular interest in environmental issues, for which the Greens are best known.  Barr is a little more of a mystery to me, since he joined the Libertarians a couple years, but only threw his name into the ring 10 days before the race.  If he has truly renounced some of his older political views in favor of more libertarian ones, then his decision to join is more easily understood.

Yet, have they been picked because of their views, or because they are well known, or both?  I think it may be a combination of the two, definitely for McKinney, and probably for Barr.  I think the two parties sense that with McKinney and Barr, they may not have a chance to get the White House this year, but they have a better shot than they’ve ever had.  Consider the areas where the two candidates agree:

Both disagree with the war and think we should get out, both want the PATRIOT Act dismantled, and both are vocal opponents of the Bush administration.

Where they differ is on other policies, such as the economy, but I think where they agree is more important.  Both can make the case that the two parties in power now have extended the war beyond sustainability and while they’ve made some progress, have failed to make any long-lasting improvements in the country.  While McKinney I think is more likely to tackle it from a anti-war stance, and Barr an economic stance, the message they’ll have will be the same: it’s time to get out.

These arguments are likely to attract disgruntled Democrats and anti-duopoly Independents who are fed up with things in Washington.  Where these people stand on other issues will matter in which party they choose, but the issues that unite the Greens and Libertarians will, I think, seem awfully attractive to the Democrats and Independents.

Now, fast-forwarding to November, do I think this attraction will cause an upset for the Democrat and/or Republican?  I’m going to predict that while there’s not going to be a huge percentage of voters flocking to the Greens and Libertarians (lets face it – McKinney and Barr just are not as charismatic as Barack Obama), I think 2008 might be the year they get their biggest percentage of the vote yet.

Now come on November, just try and prove me wrong.

2 Comments







GreenGenes

Cynthia McKinney has had a long term connection to the Greens, many of whom worked on her campaigns for congress.

While Greens have been “known” for environmental issues they’ve ALWAYS been a lot more than that.
The Green Party has been an ECOLOGICAL party and ecology has to do with relationships between, economics, civil rights, jobs, housing, healthcare, environment, etc.

This video done for the McKinney / Green Party campaign very much typifies what both McKinney and the Green Party support,

http://www.allthingscynthiamckinney.com/Video/TruthIsMarchingOn

Michael

Yea, I realize that, and I think I made the point that McKinney definitely has politics closely aligned with them, as far as I can tell from my small amount of research.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know much about the Green Party, but am learning.