I monitor more than a few blogs and forums, maybe more than I really have the time to deal with. I would like to tie some comments together to make a point that I think is critical to Green Party growth.
The Cal-Forum list has had a short thread on National Party direct mail report for Dec 2005. That report prompted someone to comment that "To me, that says that your average registered Green has no tremendous affinity with the party as an institution..." If that statement is true, then we are having a real difficulty communicating our message.
As part of the camaign to retire Congressman Pombo, I monitor both lefty and conservative blogs. On one, SanJoaquinBlog, I read a core complaint that may apply to the Green Party as well as the Democrats in this race.
I would like to see ONE post dedicated to how any of the challengers would make Valley residents better off than they are now.
There are multiple implications in this challenge, which was aimed at the activists who are challenging Pombo (3 Democrats and Pete McCloskey).
- While negative messages seem to arrouse the pasions of activists, they may not be as effective in building sustained party loyalty.
- Many of the new registrants in a party are pulled in more by the appeal of a charismatic candidate than by the party message.
- Most effective action has derived from ad hoc associations of people from various backgrounds and affiliations (or non-affiliation) around single issues: affordable health care, Iraq War opposition, California Fair Wage Initiative. Even with Green Party leadership, as the Fair Wage Initiative has, it does not translate to party loyalty.
- The Green Party has failed to differentiate itself as fundamentally different from other political parties. Even though Nader's message was that both the Republicans and Democrats do terrible things, that did not translate into the perception that Greens were somehow different.
- In areas where the Democrats are comparatively weaker, like the Central Valley, the Green Party is not in a position to fill the void as an alternative to the Republicans. This is due to a great extent in the urban, coastal focus of the party and lack of organizing efforts in high growth commities of San Joaquin or Kern Counties.
- We have not fully learned the lessons of Tip O'Neil. All politics is local. We have our best results where local Greens are dealing with solutions to local problems as in Arcata, to choose one example.