May 16, 2008
old enough for the
Three candidates get all the air time. Ralph’s defected for an Independent run. “Green” has become the Holy Grail of marketing kitsch. And San Antonio’s newest perennial candidate (and former Current staffer), Kat Swift, is using her Minervan powers to shake down the last few uncommitted primary voters to save the world from anti-human, corporo-fascist domination.
I was thinking about that Kinky Friedman saying, “How hard could it be?” What have you found? How hard is it to run for president?
The FEC filing is insane. I mean, I’ve run for (San Antonio) City Council … you go online, it’s straightforward, it makes sense, it matches the paper forms. You go and use the FEC free software, you gotta find special characters that only special programs create and it doesn’t match the paper. You can see how they sort of made it where companies can make money off of the government’s inability to be simplistic and straightforward.
Then, of course, you have ballot-access issues, where every state is different. And this is a federal election, you know, this should be a uniform ballot-access requirement nationwide. It just makes it next to impossible. Texas is the hardest state to get on the ballot.
Why is that?
Well, we have primary screen-out. We’re the only state that has primary screen-out. It’s been ruled unconstitutional in several places, but it basically is that if you vote in the primary you can’t petition your government to get another party on the ballot, or an independent candidate. So in years like this, when people actually vote, which is not common, it makes it even more difficult because you have 75 days to get 45,000 signatures from people who registered but didn’t vote (in the primaries). And finding those people has been next to impossible.
How vital is it for the Green Party or any other third party to get established in the system?
When your only choice is a corporate-dominated party, I mean you’ve got a left wing and a right wing of the same corporate party that’s leading us to a totalitarian-fascist government, then it’s absolutely essential in order to keep democracy, in order to have choices. The people in power want to keep it. They don’t want people to have a choice. They don’t even follow the Constitution, which says you’re supposed to proportionally represent delegates … In that case, you disenfranchise entire demographics in the South.
I think if we’re going to have political parties, we need to have a multi-party system or we should just do away with political parties.
Tell me that the Green Party does not operate in this way like the Democratic Party, where we see these proportional splits in delegates and then you see the super delegates and then you have the super-duper delegates.
(Laughter.) No, we have, like, normal delegates. Every state is different. The way they choose their delegates is different, but what happens is they do proportionally distribute their delegates. If you get 33 percent of the votes, you get 33 percent of the delegates to the national (convention).
And they’re still not bound, or are they?
Almost every state binds the first round, because we do instant run-off voting. Whoever has the lowest votes after the first round will get dropped. Some states bind every round, but most don’t. Most just bind the first round and then delegates are free to do what they want
But there are no super delegates and all that craziness.
When you’re out on the street, do people ever bring up, say, “Oh, Ralph Nader, he was a spoiler. A third party or Green Party is just a spoiler for Democratic Party chances?”
It didn’t help that the media made it seem like it was Nader’s fault or the Green Party’s fault. The only people who still really say that are people who are still really angry, but who also don’t know the facts. It’s hard to deal with it. A lot of times, it’s best to just walk away and let them be ignorant. But the facts are there were more people on the ballot in Florida than Ralph Nader. There were more Democrats that voted for Bush than voted for Nader. The Democratic Party itself did not stand up for voter fraud. In 2004 in Ohio, there were numerous egregious violations of people’s rights and the Democratic Party. The Green Party and Libertarian Party did but it was thrown out because there was no way we could have won with a recount and so it was considered frivolous.
As long as the wealthy have the power, they’re going to do whatever it takes to limit your choices and limit your vote.
And maintain their own.
Right. As soon as people go, “Oh, wait a minute. I don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils because I’m afraid of the alternative. What if we all went and voted third party?”
It’s not some foregone conclusion that these are the only people who can win.
But do you think the ideals of the Green Party represent enough Americans to bring that about, to even get established?
Well, whenever you talk to people on the street who aren’t involved in politics and they find out what you’re talking about and what we stand for, they agree every time. The only disagreements I find are for people who are very key-issue orientated. Because they’re anti-abortion. They don’t want to talk about why abortions are so high. Or why unwanted pregnancies are so high, which is what we talk about, on addressing the cause of it instead of just making it illegal. When you’re dealing with people like that it doesn’t matter what you say.
What is your campaign strategy and where does the Wonder Woman suit fit into that?
(Laughter.) My Wonder Woman suit, (she) was one of my heroes. I was rewatching the series actually recently and was like, “Wow. I got a lot of my beliefs from that.” Female empowerment. Not fighting with guns. Stopping the bad guys, stuff like that.
And the truth lasso?
Yeah. The truth lasso. Making people tell the truth and stopping people from killing people, you know? That kind of belief system. So I thought it would be fun to go outside the box and not be the politicians, be the dressed up-super hero — especially for King William … I’ll probably start carrying it with me just in case the opportunity arises.
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