Thanks to Matt Skeete & Joyce Frommer, who put the spotlight on this. These are the words of South Orange’s Village President (Mayor), Sheena Collum:
“Neighbors – one week from today, I’ll be voting for Menendez. This decision doesn’t come from a place of “enthusiasm” – it comes from a place of sheer necessity for our state and country. As a Democrat, I’ve had no desire to fall in line, fake excitement and show up for rallies as if to suggest I’m in any way “ok” with this. In fact, I’ve considered throwing the vote away as a protest in my own mind or writing in a candidate I feel is worthy of the office but that ends today – right now. So next Tuesday, November 6th, I will march decisively into my polling location, close the curtain and will push that button for Menendez without any hesitation and I’m urging you to do so as well. The stakes have never been higher for 327 million Americans.” – Collum
Over the last year, I’ve had many challenging back-and-forth conversations with Green Party organizers, who in NJ have never elected even a municipal candidate or Freeholder, let alone legislator, but keep running top-of-the-ticket candidates like last year’s Seth Kaper-Dale, a good man and pastor, but completely unprepared gubernatorial candidate who got one-half of 1% of the vote. Greens have the same strategy now; the only candidates they’re running – whole state, any level – are Madelyn Hoffman (U.S. Senate) and Diane Moxley (CD7).
I make the distinction with folks like this, that on issues & outlook they’re my allies – I would claim them, though they do not claim me – but as candidates they are unsupported except by a tiny minority (NJ has about 6,000 registered Greens), and will not match their electability to offices they can actually compete for, preferring instead to run for top-of-ticket races they can’t compete for. They’re not interested in the possibility that the electoral outcome of telling disgruntled progressive Democrats that they’re the “alternative” may be to help flip this Senate seat to the Republicans, and thus to Trump. That’s because, by their own words, there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats – IMO that’s massively sloppy thinking.
I admire the Green U.S. Senate candidate Hoffman as a woman, and as a peace activist. Her platform is good (though thin, there’s no details). But without electability, there’s no power to transact any policy whatsoever; it’s just words and opinions. For months, I’ve been asking Greens if they’re disclosing to Dems (whose votes they say they want), that their candidates aren’t even filed with the FEC, meaning not generating resources to communicate much beyond the people they meet personally. I get back a faceful of personal invective, accusation (I’m a neoliberal, which will amuse Blue Jersey readers), and lots of schoolyard bully name-calling [not ever from the candidates, it’s important to say]. But I never get an answer to that question except to be told I’m the problem, and Greens “don’t take corporate money.” Frankly lots of people running actual viable campaigns don’t either, but are getting elected because they’re building something of power. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, raised $1.9M (average contrib $22), like Bernie Sanders was viable (ditto, $27). She’s going to Congress. The real alternatives are people who have determined that the infrastructure of the Democratic Party is powerful, even if it has been misused, and with a restive electorate and the country’s future on the line, the possibility exists to shift it forward, to create a progressive power structure. It’s all an uphill climb, but there’s hope in it.
By contrast, the Greens appear to be more interested at throwing a stick at Democrats. And it’s a lousy year for that. I’ll vote for Menendez. Not the choice I want to make, but the one for those who take electoral outcome more seriously than self-expression. And at the very same time, I see my better allies working for reform in this party – for accountability, transparency, and bottom-up power – so we can get past this establishment-worship this party is stuck in.
But Sheena Collum put it better.