November 17, 2018

Watch Out, Democrats! Here Comes the Green Party

“For Democrats, the 2018 midterm cycle has a singular goal: flipping control of Congress.

The House looks likely to turn blue. The Senate is tougher, but not out of the question. But even one chamber would be enormous for Democrats.

But while Democrats contend with midterm voter turnout, increased internal polarization, and grassroots restlessness, another foe could quietly prove dangerous in their mission: the Green Party.

The Green Party is still a relatively new party in U.S. politics. After emerging in the 1980s with a focus on anti-capitalism and environmentalism, the party began fielding candidates for state and local office in 1985. In 1996, it ran Ralph Nader as a presidential candidate, and in 2000 Nader’s candidacy was seen as a prime reason George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in Florida — and thus in the entire presidential election. In 2016, Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s vote total in key states, like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, was more than the total difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and many have said Stein’s campaign spoiled the election for Clinton.

The Green Party has 161 officeholders; two of them are in state legislatures, while the rest hold local office. No Green Party candidate has ever been elected to national office. But the party grew by roughly 40,000 members between 2016 and mid-2018 — and now, as more and more voters become disillusioned by the two major parties, the Green Party is poised to once again play its biggest role: spoiler.”

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