The Progressives’ Green Party Dilemma

Many progressives struggle with the “lesser-evil” dilemma. They may sympathize with Green Party positions but fear that voting for Green candidates will give right-wing Republicans control of the U.S. government, as in getting George W. Bush close enough to steal Election 2000 from Al Gore, notes Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

The presumptive presidential candidate for the U.S. Green Party, Dr. Jill Stein, has long held definite ideas of what the party’s position should be on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And, despite some past skepticism from Palestinian advocates, Stein’s position is, from the progressive point of view, as near perfect as one is likely to get from an American politician. She has stated in a position paper the following:

“United States policy regarding Israel and Palestine must be revised to make international law, peace and human rights the central priorities. The United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, blockades, building nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law. We must reset U.S. policy regarding Israel and Palestine, as part of a broader revision of U.S. policy towards the Middle East.”

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

Stein has government actions in mind to make this policy change real, including the withholding of material support and the diplomatic and economic isolation of those who consistently violate human rights and international law.

If Stein prevails as the party leader and carries through her position into the party platform, it should be enough to cause every supporter of justice in the Middle East (and in other areas as well, for the party’s positions on many issues, domestic and foreign, are consistently progressive) to give serious consideration to supporting the Green Party’s national candidates.

Certainly the Greens deserve to be on the ballot in every state and have enough supporters to make their candidacy a serious one.

Of course, the actual election of the Green Party, with or without Stein, is an unlikely event. Modern American politics has never been congenial for third parties. On a national level the best the U.S. Greens have done was 2.74 percent of the vote when Ralph Nader ran as their presidential candidate in 2000, a result I will consider more closely below.

The mass media gives the party almost no attention and, while the Green Party presidential candidate in 2012, Stein was not invited to any of the televised debates.

Even so, it is interesting to speculate what would happen if American progressives and others rallied around the Green Party and it actually attained power and moved to implement Jill Stein’s position paper on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What If?

First, we have to mention the actual role of position papers as well as party platforms. They are statements of “what we might do if we had sufficient power.” And indeed, it is rare that presidents are elected with such power – that is, with their party also in control of both houses of Congress. Nonetheless, Stein is a principled person and I have no doubt that, given the opportunity, she would attempt to turn these theoretical positions into practice.

Second, the Green Party president would have to monitor carefully the government bureaucracy attached to the Executive Branch to make sure its leaders actually did what she instructed it to do. This would require a lot of shifting around at the upper levels, where the State Department (including some embassy staff), Department of the Treasury, Department of Defense and some others are staffed with pro-Israeli appointees. After these reassignments are carried through the middle-echelon civil service bureaucrats would probably be fairly reliable and responsive.

Third, the Green Party president would find herself in a battle royal with Congress (assuming the Greens did not take control here too) over questions of aid and structurally created ties with Israel that lay outside of the president’s hands. For instance, much of the infamous $3 billion “aid” package given to the Zionist state yearly can only be altered by Congress. I think such a battle, carried out publicly, would be very beneficial for the country as a whole, but it also might end with a Green Party president having to compromise.

The Progressive’s Dilemma

The dream of a successful Green Party sounds great and it is heartening that there is actually a political party out there with the courage and wisdom to take a stand for international law, peace and justice. But, given the present political state of things, Jill Stein may run for office, but she really cannot win.

And, that sets up the progressive’s dilemma – the question whether, under these circumstances, progressives should actually vote for the Green Party’s national ticket candidates.

The dilemma was first made apparent in the year 2000 when Ralph Nader, running for president on the Green Party ticket, got close to 3 million votes. The other two candidates in that race were the Democrat Al Gore and the Republican George W. Bush. The race proved close enough that some have seen Nader’s campaign as a “spoiler” drawing off enough otherwise Democratic votes to throw the race to Bush.

Actually, I cannot resolve this dilemma, but I can tell you that it begs the question of why the most reasonable and rational political party, the one with positions that actually deal with both the nation’s and the planet’s worsening problems, remains at best a marginal player here in the United States.

The answer to this question probably has to do with the way most Americans, confined as they are within their local venues, have been acculturated to see the world – a range of perception that, over the decades, has melded with the range of propaganda put out by the two major parties.

This has left the more rational positions expressed by the Green Party vulnerable to the charge of naive idealism. In other words, most Americans, at least those who bother to vote, see the world through indoctrinated eyes and this makes it psychologically comfortable to vote for Democrats or Republicans even though doing so perpetuates old and deepening problems.

Heading off in new directions means going beyond politically conditioned perceptual views. And, even if it is demonstrably more reasonable and promising to do so, such a change causes a lot of discomfort.

So are we stuck in a self-destructive rut here? Quite likely. And, if history acts as a guide, the most likely thing to kick the U.S. out of the rut is catastrophe – something even worse than the fiascos of Vietnam and Iraq, and the economic time-bombs of ongoing bank scandals.

That is a really sad conclusion, especially since such a catastrophe could lead the nation toward the hard right rather than the progressive left. However, it just may be the truth of the matter.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.


26 comments for “The Progressives’ Green Party Dilemma

  1. alexander
    November 11, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Dear Mr Davidson,

    ” Making international law, peace and human rights…. central priorities” should be the position of “every” candidate running for office regardless of their political party or conservative/liberal disposition……

    I mean what is the opposite position…”.making criminality, war and oppression their central priorities?…..Who is going to run on that platform?

    How tragic is it for our Nation…that nearly every Democrat or Republican running for office …is (in fact) running on that platform and will, to an almost near certainty,start another war of aggression……

    ….and the only choice for just basic” peace” (and perhaps a tad of good will) can never win.

    What kind of Nation have we created where this is the case ?

    • Steve Naidamast
      November 11, 2015 at 4:07 pm


      Your concerns are very similar to many of us in the United States. However, as one who is a military historian I can categorically state that no one in current times has brought the United States to its current state. The United States has always been a nation that has lived by the sword for no other purpose than to make its aristocracy richer than the gods.

      Newly found evidence finding that the American Revolution was fought to maintain the institution of slavery, a deplorable economic construct still in existence from ancient times, has had earlier corroborative evidence across the studies of three separate researchers (Beard-1913, Lundberg-1980, McGuire-2005) into the basis of the US Constitution, which these people have found is nothing more than an economic document having little to do with the ideals that the “Founding Fathers” professed.

      The psychopathic greed that many Americans see as inherent in our domestic policies today as well as in our business institutions became more dominant with the beginning of the Reagan Era. However, though Reagan helped to promote such policies, he was rather mild considering the dysfunctional narcissism that Presidents Bush and Obama have brought to the office. Nonetheless, this trend was not so much a result of political evolution as many have claimed to have been but more in the changing nature of the top echelons in US business.

      Up until the 1980s, business leaders had vested interests in their companies since many still involved founded their companies and helped in the creation of their unique products. For example, up until Welsh took over GE, that company was the American bastion of creativity and ingenuity that was part of the inherent culture that its founders imbued. Welsh, nothing more than a Wall Street bag-man turned it into a poster child for financial capital.

      Once, many of these early business leaders left their companies there was an onset to “modernize” these companies with cadres of “professional management”, who were the early shock troops for Wall Street.

      This trend mixed well with the political supporters of the financial classes who once the Reagan Era commenced, were quite ready to turn the United States into the travesty it has become.

      However, the social contracts that earlier existed between business and labor and which developed into the ideal of personal contribution to the nation as a whole in reality only existed for a very short period of time after hard won labor conflicts were resolved in the latter 1930s with Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. By the 1970s this was to begin to change dramatically and was the impetus to Reagan’s win of the presidency.

      The United States has never been a nation committed to the idealism it has professed. That was all a smoke screen to act as a cover while it perpetrated its deprivations across the globe all for the sake of corporate interests. In South America, US deprivations are legendary. The Cold War, which was directly initiated by Truman, was a propaganda coup for the United States regarding the USSR. However, the last thing the USSR ever wanted was a violent confrontation with the US (see Gareth Porter’s, “Perils of Dominance”)..

      There are some small sparks of hope. Jill Stein, unfortunately is not one of them as she is too powerless to initiate meaningful change. However, there are groups around the world that are fed up to the eyeballs with US imperialistic greed that has been brought on by a massive, psychopathic group-think by the US financial capital classes. However, it has always been a part of US political ambitions with recent advances in technologies providing the capacity to expand such ambitions into unimaginable evil…

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 12, 2015 at 12:52 am

        Back in the early nineties, I used to go to SCORE for small business advice. These Senior Retired Executives I would meet with, we’re all from the WWII generation. As, usual, before the end of a brain drain session, one of these older executives would ask me the question, ‘now, how would this idea of yours benefit our community’. What???

        Today, my wife came home upset over a local radio talk jock, who was talking badly about raising the minimum wage. He said things, ‘like, hey, how much should someone get paid to clean a toilet’? There in lies the problem. To many who have made it (at least in their mines), think that they deserve it, because they worked harder than you did for their piece of the infamous pie. These self proclaimed elites, see all of their lessors, through the lens of a not so flattering stereotype, and that is that, case closed. Now, get back to working your three jobs, and leave me alone. If only the smart rich kid would only try and put the not so smart poor kid to work, then what a lovely world you would have.

        Back, when America had real life long career industry jobs, there were plenty not so fortunate who did good. Many of this hardworking class, somehow saved enough of money to put their kids through college. They did good, because they were needed, and useful. I remember how even large companies valued their employees. Okay, it was no utopia, but it was better than it is today. Steve, like your comment here, the Jack Welsh’s took over, and it has not been the same since.

        I wish Jill Stein could get more in the news. Hey, maybe she could appear on a couple of episodes of the Kardashian’s… no kidding, The Donald would s#|+ himself, if that were to happen. The sad part, is today you need to promote yourself by being the story, and not just a part of it. Get Jill Stein on ‘the View’, and let’s see if Joy, and Whoopi, help make a difference.

        • Joe Tedesky
          November 12, 2015 at 1:44 am

          I wish I knew how to run a campaign, but I don’t, but listen hear this is November 2015, not 2016. Isn’t there enough of smart people out there, who could benefit a Jill Stein campaign for president? Jill Stein, should at least get a national campaign big enough, to get her much more attention, than she is currently getting. What firm does Trump contract for his publicity? Call John Hamm, Jill needs a Madman, or a GEICO commercial agency, behind her. Let’s hear more about her, before we pull the blanket over her eyes….besides, I have nothing better to do than study over each of these presidential candidate’s to vote for all the way until about this time next year, I’m not going nowhere! Need money, get the professional athletes, movie stars, (both professions have unions) I don’t know, but don’t give up….Start with this; “need to hear more about Jill Stein for President.”

      • Peter Loeb
        November 13, 2015 at 8:04 am

        IF I VOTE AT ALL…

        “The United States has always been a nation that has lived by the
        sword for no other purpose than to make its aristocracy richer
        than the gods….”

        “The United States has never been a nation committed to the
        idealism it has professed. …”

        With many thanks to Steve Naidamast whose incisive comments I
        do not recall reading recently.

        “However, the social contracts that earlier existed between business
        and labor and which developed into the ideal of personal contribution
        to the nation as a whole in reality only existed for a very short period
        of time after hard won labor conflicts were resolved in the latter
        1930s with Roosevelt’s New Deal policies…”—-kSteve Naidamast (above)

        On one point I respectfully dissent: It is the myth of liberal/progressives
        that there was a halcyon era thanks due to FDR’s New Deal. This illusion
        provides sustenance to many on the left.

        The New Deal itself was intimately related to big business as was/is
        organized labor. The remedy of the Great Depression was nowhere
        in the New Deal (unemployment continued to rise etc) but in WW II.
        After the Federal Budget of 1941 with jobs for all and guaranteed
        profits plus contracts for business etc. the US changed drastically.
        Read with care Gabriel Kolko’s thorough analysis of US society
        (workers, organized labor etc.) and the resolution of the Great
        Depression through war in MAIN CURRENTS IN MODERN
        AMERICAN HISTORY. (My personal opinion is that this work
        has received little attention because of its fearlessness in
        analyzing the realities of things as they are, not of dreams we
        continue to believe really did exist.)

        As to Lawrence Davidson’s primary thesis, many of his points
        while correct leave me with no “dilemma”. I no longer see
        the political spectrum from the point of view of a committed
        follower of one party (I did once). I will follow the Green
        Party closely and vote for it as a protest or else I will vote
        for no candidate at all, also as a protest.

        Where does the Green Party receive its funding?

        —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  2. JohnH
    November 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

    For progressives in most states, the decision to vote Green should be a no brainier. Let’s not overthink this: vote your conscience! vote Green! In most states the 2016 election is already decided. States voting for a Democrat (New York, California, Massachusetts) are already known, as are most states voting Republican. Any groundswell of progressive will not be large enough to change that, because most people will stick to the two parties.

    Only in the handful of competitive states need progressives vote strategically for the lesser of two evils.

    If enough people in the non-competitive states voted their conscience, it would send a powerful message to the establishment…and might give a third party enough prominence and credibility to force one of the two parties to respond positively in word and hopefully in deed.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 11, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Let’s not overthink this: vote your conscience!

      In a sense this really does matter. When a person chooses a candidate to support, he or she embraces what that person says he will or won’t do. Or what the candidate has already done. So I can’t really fault myself for voting for Obama in 2008 – his lies were mighty persuasive. Come 2012, if I’d done it again I’d have accepted all his now-obvious blatant lies as well as his refusal to prosecute the Bush Torturers or the monster banking crooks. The Republicans were chosen to be distinctly worse, but so what? As I’ve said many times since then, I had a choice of a “three ax-murder” criminal and or a “6 ax-murder” guy. I was unwilling to vote for the former to avoid the latter.

      Not that it really matters in the end except for my refusal to accept and identify with evil – I live in Touchscreen Voting Indiana.

      • Peter Loeb
        November 14, 2015 at 8:22 am


        Elsewhere I have tried to express the essence of the ideas
        that Zachary Smith as so well phrased.

        “When a person chooses a candidate to support, he or she embraces what that person says he will or won’t do. Or what the candidate has already done…”
        —Zachary Smith (above)

        I voted for Obama in 2008 in error. I, like Smith, confess
        my sins but not in detail here for brevity. I did not vote for
        Obama in 2012. An excellent decision marred by two
        exceptions, two candidates for office who have been
        excellent but have miserably failed on Israel,Palestine
        and opposition to increased defense authorizations.
        Despite their accomplishments (if any), they will no
        longer receive my support.

        I shall not trade in the lives and survival, the well-being
        of Palestinians for empty promises. I shall not
        express support for administrations which
        send arms, so-called “non-lethal” weapons
        and the like to foreign and terrorist invaders of
        the secular regime of Syria To Zionist Israel.
        Or who fabricate a coup in Ukraine. Or who
        support Israel’s criminality without a word.

        Z. Smith expresses my intentions clearly and

        I have watched no so-called “debates”, have
        wasted no time deciding who “won” or “lost”.

        More attention should be paid to what is really
        going on (See Paul Pillar in today’s Consortiumnews
        to take one example). We must prepare for
        the next version of American jingoism and world
        destruction building not only on the actions
        of recent administrations but also of American
        policies of the last 35 years.

        —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • November 12, 2015 at 12:04 am

      John H is totally correct, and I am surprised that the author of the article didn’t mention this. Furthermore it is likely that Maine voters will be deciding in November 2016 whether to implement instant runoff voting for all federal and state office (except president, unfortunately). If it passes, it may stimulate other states to also pass IRV, and include president. The new Canadian government has pledged to ask Canadian voters within the next 18 months if they want to use either IRV or proportional representation. If thathappens that will also stimulate the same movement in the U.S.

  3. ProNewerDeal
    November 11, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    “This has left the more rational positions expressed by the Green Party vulnerable to the charge of naive idealism. In other words, most Americans, at least those who bother to vote, see the world through indoctrinated eyes and this makes it psychologically comfortable to vote for Democrats or Republicans even though doing so perpetuates old and deepening problems.”

    IMHO I’d guesstimate the larger reason the faction of Progressives that prefers voting for Democrats over Greens, is they believe in the Evil Lesser Theory of voting for the Lesser of 2 Evils.

    A 3rd reason is a media blackout of the Green Party. Many voters are not even aware of any of the parties’ existence outside of the 2 BigParties.

    A 4th reason is ballot access, the Greens are not on the ballot for many offices.

  4. Pat
    November 11, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    If progressives would get out the mindset that Bernie Sanders is a shill for Israel and never met a defense budget he didn’t like, they would have a fine alternative – and one who has at least some chance of getting elected.

    In fact, “Bernie” is the least aligned with Israel of all the candidates, both Republican and Democrat. Contrary to what Chris Hedges claims, he was not one of “100 Senators who stood up like AIPAC wind up dolls and approved Israel’s 51-day slaughter last summer of Palestinians in Gaza.” Hedges was referring to S. Res. 498 (link below), which Bernie DID NOT SIGN, and did not vote for, because there is no vote on resolutions. They are approved by an arcane Senate rule called “unanimous consent,” which is not what it sounds like. The resolution had 79 signatures, so think about that. Do you think that if he was a shill for Israel, he would have abstained from joining more than three-fourths of his colleagues?

    Bernie has criticized Israel, and while he doesn’t go far enough for Palestinian rights advocates, that he criticizes Israel at all puts him in a small minority in Congress. And while he doesn’t support eliminating military aid to Israel, he has called for reducing military aid and increasing economic support to both Israel and Palestine. Who else has gone on record with that? Moreover, Sanders is the ONLY SENATOR who doesn’t take money from the pro-Israel lobby. Even Elizabeth Warren does.

    While he has voted for some defense budgets, he voted against others. The practice of tacking unrelated amendments on to budget bills makes it hard to know why he did or didn’t support them. But the idea that he “never met a defense budget he didn’t like” is just plain false. It’s easy enough to find his voting record online, for anyone who is willing to take the time to go through the list item by item. His alleged support of the MIC also is no mystery. The IAMAW is among his biggest contributors.

    Jill Stein’s campaign platform is attractive to progressives, but it’s not enough to have solid ideas. How do we know that if she got into the White House, she wouldn’t cave to all the various lobbies and coalitions or make odious compromises? Sanders has a record, and while we don’t like some it, overall it is vastly better than any other candidate’s – again, taken as a whole and not just cherry picked to support the far left’s narrative.

  5. Earth Ling
    November 11, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Go to to see the super simple voting system that eliminates the false choice of the lesser of evils. For example on a presidential ballot with 10 choices, vote yes for the 2 or 3 or 4 candidates you approve of. No ranking, just a yes or no vote for each candidate on the ticket. Think about it. In the first cycle a typical Dem might still vote for an evil like Obama while also voting for a sane person like Jill Stein. Realize that it won’t take many election cycles for people to stop voting for any evil politicians.

  6. al perry
    November 11, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    yes, the “lesser evil” voting conundrum can be avoided…and our politicians have long been aware of it!!!…there are many countries more democratic than the u.s. because their voting systems are more proportionally representative!…the powers that be in the u.s. simply do not want that kind of electoral system; it tends to diminish the power of those who wield it…the u.s. wealthy are entirely happy with the see-saw political system..they have more control over their profits…

  7. CAW
    November 12, 2015 at 4:07 am

    As Andrew Vachss lets a character say in his noir fable, Two Trains Running, about how the 1960 election was stolen for JFK (quoted from memory, not verbatim) :

    “The way the have it set up, there are two parties in the running. Sure, you can vote for the one who promises to exterminate all the Jews and drive the niggers into the sea, or the one who promises a Worker’s Paradise, but you’ll be betting on a pig in a horse race.”

    The manipulative tactic of setting up a third party for draining votes so as to split an opponent’s ticket is a tried and true parliamentary tactic. For more on that, study the career of trickster/political consultant Roger Stone, best done in a long series at

  8. Banger
    November 12, 2015 at 9:26 am

    I vote because it is a civic ritual and not because my candidates will win and not the lesser of two evils. I do this because I lived in and around the federal govt most of my life and I know we are, at this point, neither a democracy nor a Constitutional republic. We are ruled by oligarchs who run thencountry for their benefit. American politics is an interesting sort of “reality” TV show that was pioneered by pro wrestling except, unlike wrestling it is a con. We are ruled by a Deep State which rules through the application of force, that is, if they have to they’ll kill you with or without the kangaroo court. The best we can hope for is to be ruled by a faction that has a conscience of some kind. We are fortunate at this time that there is a power-struggle going on in the real government. In terms of elections have the courage to vote Green or Libertarian if you vote a mainstream party the oligarchs are less inclined to be generous.

  9. November 12, 2015 at 10:23 am

    The “lesser of two evils” argument is a fallacy with two major underlying false premises: [i] election of the most despised candidate will be a disaster; and [ii] unless you vote for someone with a chance of winning, your vote is wasted, i.e., won’t count.

    I debunked that fallacy in my article, “The Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil” at (.) That article appends links to articles by others who have written on this topic.

    The bottom line: costing a major political party an election is the only thing that has ever moved either of them in a progressive direction. When they lose elections, they either change their positions to accomodate the dissenting voters or they wither on the vine. Your vote still counts when you vote for a third party candidate.

    • CraigS
      November 12, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks for saying that. Things only change when you have leverage to impact the outcome. The only “message” the duopoly listens to is the money from corporations. Then they spin their own “message” of appeasement so some portion of the public thinks there’s been change.

      Since the Green Party runs slates of candidates from local to federal, under any wild circumstance that they should win the Presidency, it would certainly man a plethora of Greens election to Congress and State Legislatures as well. While they may not hold the majorities, the leverage would be considerable since they can impact what legislation would pass.

      If one doesn’t think the leverage is real, consider how much energy and expense is used to keep the Greens and other alternatives off the ballot or, keep their exposure to a minimum when on the ballot.

    • ms_xeno
      November 13, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      You’d think so, but then again Democrats have had their cake and eaten it, too ever since the 2000 election. They have claimed that Nader led to Bush. However, this did not lead to a more hospitable Democratic Party for Leftists who acted on their dislike/distrust of Gore. Quite the contrary: they doubled down in their abuse of Greens. They meddled in Green campaigns, and reached a kind of (no pun intended) nadir in this regard by jailing Stein and Honkkala in 2012: for the imaginary crime of showing up on the grounds of a debate they were forbidden from participating in.

      I suppose most so-called “Progressives” consider this right and proper, if they consider it at all. Mostly it tells me that I made the right decision in bailing on the Democrats. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever return.

  10. Rob
    November 12, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    There is no question whatsoever that Ralph Nader directed his campaign in 2000 primarily against Al Gore and that he drew enough votes away from Gore to throw the outcome in Florida into the “to close to call” category. This gave Republicans all the room they needed to steal the election. Think what a different world we would live in today, if George W. Bush had not been selected President by the Supreme Court.

    As for the progressive’s dilemma vis a vis the Green Party, I don’t think that it will be that difficult a choice. I expect that the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, will hold a substantial lead in the polls and in the Electoral College vote going into election day. If she has a commanding lead in my state, then I will feel free to vote my conscience and support the Green Party candidate. If the race is close, then I will hold my nose and vote for Hillary as the lesser of two evils. Not to vote for her under that scenario would amount to voting for the greater of two evils.

    • November 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      @ “If the race is close, then I will hold my nose and vote for Hillary as the lesser of two evils. Not to vote for her under that scenario would amount to voting for the greater of two evils.”

      I firmly disagree. Please read my article at

      Voting for Hillary under any circumstances is telling the powers that be in the Democratic Party that you will hold your nose and vote for whoever they choose. The only way those powers will listen to you is if you cost them an election.

      @ “Think what a different world we would live in today, if George W. Bush had not been selected President by the Supreme Court.”

      I don’t know that it would be any different than it is today. Al Gore was simply the War Party’s other candidate.

      As a combat veteran who has experienced war up close and personal, I will never vote for a war criminal or a war criminal wannabe. And I do not think highly of anyone who is willing to vote for one of them under any circumstance. Those who have voted for war criminals and war criminal wannabes like the Bushes, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama have the blood of millions of people on their hands.

      • Rob
        November 12, 2015 at 6:35 pm

        With all due respect, what you write is nonsense. Invading Iraq would not have been on President Al Gore’s “things to do” list. In fact the whole PNAC deal had previously been rejected by Bill Clinton, and Gore would have done the same. President Gore would have been vigilant with respect to possible terrorist attacks, meaning that 9/11 might never have happened. Of course, that is a counterfactual argument, but it is a highly plausible one. Finally, if Al Gore were President, we would not have the John Roberts Supreme Court. That means, amongst other things, that a key provision of the Voting Rights Act would not have been overturned. So, it turns out that which of the two parties is in power does matter in the real lives of real people. This is hard for people who see the world through an ideological prism to understand. The Democratic Party is very far from perfect, but it will generally do less harm, and maybe a little more good, than the Republican Party.

        • November 15, 2015 at 8:19 am

          You did not read the article I wrote and linked, did you?

          What would have been on Gore’s todo list post-9/11 is not entirely speculative. There is, after all, the insatiable demand of the military/industrial complex for war. Al Gore did not get to where he was by standing up to that complex.

          And as a retired lawyer who keeps up on the state of the law, I can tell you that beyond a shadow of a doubt, no Democratic president has ever nominated a progressive to the Supreme Court Bench. You may not like the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act, but its logic was compelling and the decision left Congress free to enact new voting rights legislation that is addressed to today’s voting problems rather than conditions 40 years ago. For example, should Congress decide to legislate against efforts to deny black voters the ballot based on ID requirements coupled with making it more difficult to obtain IDs, it would probably pass muster in the Robert Court. Read the opinion.

          But the Roberts Court was unanimous on the civil rights side when it came to the electronic surveillance involved in the Riley v. California case, nearly screaming that they’d rule against NSA bulk surveillance if presented with a case in which they could do so.

          On the other hand, it took only two Democratic presidents (Clinton and Obama) to appoint three Zionist Jews to the Supreme Court. Would you care to take a guess at what that portends for a case brought to enforce the establishment of religion clause against U.S. efforts to establish “the Jewish State’s” two-state solution? What if another Democratic President appoints two more?

          As to your insinuation that I “see the world through an ideological prism,” I do not. Involuntarily participating in a major foreign war for 27 months thoroughly convinced me that I need to embrace reality in my thoughts and opinions. Part of the reality I observed is that war results in humanity at its very worst. Over three million Vietnamese were killed and millions more are still maimed. I personally still carry both physical and mental scars. Accordingly, I do not vote for anyone who is willing to launch foreign wars. It takes a psychopath to do that and I don’t vote for psychopaths. If human life and civilization mean so little to you that you disagree, then that is your delusion, not mine.

  11. richo
    November 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    This is yet again another reason to move toward a parliamentary system of government, one that almost every other democracy has.

  12. Howard Switzer
    November 13, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I don’t really see any dilemma, as has been pointed out we need a system change and system candidates will not bring it. The Green’s national campaign is about more than electing Jill Stein, it is about organizing a political movement that can elect a Congress full of agents for change. Jill has been demonstrating that the Green campaign for change does not end with a political cycle, it is in progress and will not stop until it has succeeded or there is some other positive political shift. Yes, we need a better more representative proportional parliamentary political system….and publicly counted paper ballots.

    The psychopathic economic system we have is that way, I believe, because the Founding Fathers, after winning the revolution by funding it with publicly issued money, then turned the money power over to itself, the economic elite, instead of government. It was as Salvador Allende said, “We’ve won the revolution but we’ve not won the power.” That remained an issue up through the early part of last century. The issue is; should debt-free money be created by fiat and issued as an asset for societies needs by elected public authority or should we continue to allow private institutions to create it all as interest bearing debt for personal gain? Should our money be based on care or usury?

    This is the heart of the Green economic platform, somewhat buried just as it is buried in the Constitution, Article 1 Section 8 Line 5. Any national government that does not issue its own money for its own needs is instead controlled by those who do. This is THE political issue of the Common Era, recognized by the Greeks as the most vital prerogative of a democratic government as they discovered the many problems with oligarchic rule. It is about who should control the economy, the few or the many? The public or a few privately owned institutions? As we can all see, money is as much about power as it is about economics.

    I think Jill Stein needs to raise this issue to prominence by including it in her narrative as the way to win democracy and pay for the things people and planet need. In a public money system “cost” for government is no longer a matter of money but whether or not we have the resources, the labor and materials, to do a particular thing. There are also significant psychological influences in such a system that would affect human behavior in general in a positive way.

    AND we already have the 3 essential reforms from the Green Platform in a bill that has already passed the legislative legal review, HR2990, The NEED Act, which would ban the private issue of money, the fractional reserve system, and implement public money for healthcare, education, a new 21st century infrastructure, a citizens dividend to tie everyone over until the money gets into the economy and pay off the national debt as it comes due and have the nation fully employed in months, with a quarter of the money flowing into local and state economies for them to decide how they need to spend it. This has been modeled and would not create any inflation until all the needs are fulfilled at which point a democratic monetary authority would make the necessary adjustments to avoid inflation/deflation. It is the kind of bill that could fund the Green New Deal without taxes or debt. Just imagine how much less speculation there would be if government was issuing the money for public needs instead of big private banks issuing it for personal gain?

    Finally, what you do in the voting booth at the end of the day is your business, but the Green Campaign should be pushed up front by all progressives in order to promote the change we need, educate the electorate and reinvigorate our national politics.

  13. John Browning
    November 13, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    One person, one vote. I’m voting my conscience and the candidate most aligned with my views – Jill Stein, Green Party. Voting for “almost good” has gotten me nowhere. I see GOP and Dems as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Can’t vote for either of them, but Green lines up exactly with my thinking. I can’t live with moral relativism at the ballot box any more.

  14. CG
    November 19, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Dear Mr. Merrell:

    I read your piece awhile back — I can’t remember where — but your points are excellent.

    There’s a peace movement taking shape in Kingston, New York. The founder, Gerald Celente, also says that there’s no such thing as a “Lesser of Two Evils”. Evil is as evil does, right?

    Here’s a link to the organization. I was at the launch when Ralph Nader spoke. What an incredibly sharp mind!

    Thanks for your intelligent input on this subject. It’s much appreciated.

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