GRP Sets Sights on 2010 Races
by Dave England
An Electorate in Search of Alternatives
This is the year of dismay for those who gave the Democratic Party their time, money, and faith, hoping for ‘CHANGE’, only to see business-as-usual continue in crisis areas such as health-care, the economy, war, and climate protection. Meanwhile, here in Massachusetts, the Democrats have engineered regressive tax hikes, hikes to public transportation fares, painful cuts to education and social programs, and worked with real estate interests to disempower local land use planning. More is coming since the stopgap measures used to balance the budget promise another budget crisis next year.
The people of Massachusetts know that Beacon Hill is not getting the job done. In a poll earlier this year, 87% of residents stated that they were either ìvery concernedî or ìsomewhat concernedî about the influence of lobbyists and special interests on state government. Almost half of the electorate has refused to register under the banner of any political party – which shows a high level of disengagement. But no matter how badly Massachusetts politicians perform, there is little chance that the voters will hold them accountable at the polls because two-thirds of incumbents run unopposed.
The Tactical Challenge: A Voice in the Legislature
In 2010, the Green-Rainbow Party will offer an alternative to more of the same. The GRP State Committee recently approved a new campaign strategy that makes its first priority the running GRP candidates in potentially winnable legislative House races. These House races take place in districts of manageable size, where face-to-face contact with voters can be decisive. Good candidates can overcome any disadvantages they may have with regard to money or pre-existing infrastructure.
Even with the best strategy, the GRP anticipates that it will take more than one campaign cycle to win a district legislative race in most districts. When candidates run for the second time, they have an established infrastructure of volunteers and donors that gets them rolling quicker. By making a commitment to running repeatedly in districts where voters are ready for change, ìGreen strongholdsî will be established that will make 2010 a precursor to even stronger showings in 2012.
A Strategic Challenge: The Campaign for Governor
The 2010 gubernatorial race is likely to feature three male corporate-serving candidates (Deval Patrick, Charlie Baker, and Timothy Cahill) who will all agree that single-payer health care is off the table, public education should yield to expansion of charter schools, go-slow policies on climate change are acceptable, community planning should be weakened to help developers, spending on social programs should be cut, gambling casinos should proliferate, and that a progressive income tax is out of the question. A GRP candidate would remind the people of Massachusetts that options being kept off the table may be critical to solving our problems. And putting a GRP candidate into the mix would help focus attention on the proposed 2010 referendum question that would establish an instant runoff voting (IRV) system in Massachusetts.
People Power: The Key to Change
The GRP electoral strategy is built upon the concept of grassroots engagement by ordinary citizens who know that politics is too important to be left to the politicians. The freely-offered skills of GRP volunteers offer a critical antidote to money-driven politics. Volunteers collect signatures to put GRP candidates on the ballot and work to make GRP candidates visible in their local communities And of course we are always on the lookout for people willing to run for public office. If you havenít yet been directly involved in the Party, this is an ideal time to join up.
Dave England is the co-chair of the GRP Candidate Development and Legal Committee.