Monday, June 14, 2010

Greens Choose Candidate - Fight Accusation

The Texas Green Party held its convention in San Antonio this past weekend. At that convention they nominated their candidate for governor -- Deb Shafto (pictured), a 71 year-old retired school teacher and one of the founders of the Green Party in Texas. Now all she has to do is get on the ballot.

I say that because the Texas Democratic Party has gone to court to try and keep the Green Party off the state's November ballot. The Green Party got over 90,000 petition signatures to get on the ballot (about twice the required number), but the Democrats are claiming they have violated campaign finance laws by accepting a gift from an out-of-state corporation (probably funded by one or more Texas Republicans) to pay for help in gathering signatures.

The Democrats would like for people to believe that the gathering of signatures to get a party on the ballot and a candidate's campaign for public office are the same thing (and it is against Texas law for a corporation to donate money to a candidate's campaign). But helping to gain ballot access and donating to a candidate's campaign fund are not the same thing and never have been.

Why would the Democrats, who claim to be in favor of more democracy, actually go to court to restrict the choices a Texas voter can have in November? Because they are afraid that progressives (like myself) will vote for the only progressive running for governor this year -- Deb Shafto of the Green Party. While the Democrats have nominated some good candidates in down-ballot races, they did not nominate a progressive (or even a half-hearted liberal) in the governor's race.

The Democratic nominee for governor is ex-Houston mayor Bill White -- a boring "blue dog" corporate-owned conservative from the energy industry. That's right. They nominated one corporate-owned conservative to run against another corporate-owned conservative (Rick Perry). The difference between the two is only one of style and not substance. Is it any wonder that they are now terrified at the prospect of having a real progressive like Deb Shafto on the ballot?

They are hoping that if they can keep Shafto off the ballot with their anti-democratic actions then progressives will vote for their pitiful candidate. I don't know about other Texas progressives (who must all satisfy their own consciences), but I would not vote for Bill "blue dog" White if he was the only candidate on the ballot. If the Democrats want progressive votes, they should nominate a progressive candidate -- not try to force other parties off the ballot.

Meanwhile, the Green Party is answering the ridiculous charges of the Democratic Party. Green Party Statewide Coordinator Kat Swift says:

“93,000 Texas voters legitimately expressed their wish to have the Green Party on the ballot, and we intend to make every legitimate effort to avoid disappointing them.”

“Ritchie has been making incendiary statements in the media and robocalls around the state based on unsubstantiated conjecture. We do not now nor have we ever had any intention of acting in violation of the Texas Ethics Commission rules, which we lobbied for and helped establish.”

“Their further allegation that we are controlled by the Republican Party is as ridiculous as asserting that Democratic candidates who regularly accept campaign contributions from Republicans are in fact controlled by the Republican Party.”

“Clearly, the Texas Democratic Party does not really want fair elections. Their leadership is content with rigged election systems and double standards regarding campaign contributions. The Republican Party is no different in these regards.”


  1. I hope you keep us up to date on this. I can remember when Texas Democrats were unabashedly progressive but it's been so long ago the memory is getting a little dim.

  2. You're right tnlib. The Texas Democratic Party does have a proud tradition of progressivism, but you would never know that to see the weak-kneed cowards that run the party these days. They ran some progressives out of the race so this conservative could have the nomination. For some strange reason they think they can get elected officials statewide by being more like the Republicans. I disagree. I think their chances would be better if they offered voters a real choice.

  3. Took a lot of time to read but I really found this very interesting and informative, thank you buddy for sharing


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