Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
- What is the Green Party?
- Are you an environmental group?
- What policy positions does the Green Party support?
- Is the Green Party liberal or conservative?
- Aren't Greens just "spoilers"? Won't they hurt "real" candidates?
- Didn't Greens cost Democrats the presidential election in 2000/2016?
- What is the Green Party position on…?
- Who are the Green Party's candidates in Texas?
- Who have been the Green Party's presidential and VP nominees?
- How can I join the Green Party?
- Where can I get more information on the Greens?
What is the Green Party?
The Green Party is a grass-roots political party dedicated to building a just and sustainable society, a democracy of empowered citizens. It is the electoral arm of the worldwide Green Movement. Dozens of nations, on all inhabited continents, have political parties with "Green" or "Ecology" in their names; their policies may differ, but their stated goals include peace, justice, democracy, and deep concern for the natural environment.
Are you an environmental group?
Not really, more of a political voice for environmental groups and individual activists. The Green Party is an alternative to a corporately controlled two-party system. We run candidates for political offices. Between election cycles, we work for fair and sustainable social, economic and environmental policies.
What policy positions does the Green Party support?
On a wide range of issues, the Green Party takes positions consistent with its Ten Key Values: social justice, grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom, nonviolence, community-based economics, decentralization, future focus and sustainability, feminism, personal and global responsibility, and respect for diversity. Some examples of Green policy positions include health care for all, a living wage, clean air and energy, an end to poverty, and removing corporate money from electoral politics. (See below for more on these topics.)
Is the Green Party liberal or conservative?
It depends. "Liberal" and "conservative" are often just labels that politicians use to avoid taking real stands. Is universal health care a "liberal" objective? Fine. Is not using tax dollars to subsidize large corporations part of a "conservative" agenda? So be it. Some Greens like to be called "progressive," and some prefer "socialist" or "eco-socialist," but the truth is that labels are less important than the day-to-day work that Greens do.
(On a lighter note, some of us like to say, "We're not right or left, we're out in front!")
Aren't Greens just "spoilers"? Won't they hurt "real" candidates?
Addressing real issues with real solutions is what makes a candidate real. It's true that a Green candidate may take votes from a less qualified Democrat or Republican, just as a good restaurant will take customers from a bad one. Does that mean we tell good restaurants to close up shop because they're "spoilers"? "Spoiling" reflects a flaw in our electoral system (see next question about how to fix it), not a mistake by candidates giving voters an alternative.
Didn't Greens cost Democrats the presidential election in 2000/2016?
There is no short or easy answer for that question, but no. The Democrats have their own big problems to fix: They must promote policies that truly benefit the people as a whole, rather than their corporate contributors. Greens see neither major party as entitled to anyone's vote. Votes must be earned. When both establishment parties' policies perpetuate war, economic injustice, and ecological disasters, a vote for either party's ticket makes no sense.
In Florida in 2000, where George W. Bush "officially" won by about 500 votes, far more Democrats voted for Bush than for Green nominee Ralph Nader. Later recounts revealed that Al Gore actually received more votes in Florida, but by then it was too late.
In 2016, as in 2000, there were close results in several states that Donald Trump officially won. Green nominee Jill Stein raised millions in individual donations and led the effort to recount votes in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. State officials and the Trump campaign worked to thwart the effort, and electoral laws in two of those states defied common sense, making recounts impossible or prohibitively expensive. Those states' Republican legislatures—via Voter ID laws, misuse of Interstate Crosscheck, and other means—have made voting increasingly difficult for constituents of color, students, seniors, and the poor who are likely to vote for Democrats.
Both elections demonstrated that the United States needs serious electoral reform. The Green Party supports voting reforms such as Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) and Approval Voting. RCV, adopted in 2016 by the people of Maine, allows voters to rank candidates in the order of their preference. If your first choice receives the fewest votes, your vote is transferred to your next choice; this continues until a winner emerges with an absolute majority. Approval Voting removes the ranking and allows voters to choose all the candidates they might support. Both systems let voters vote their conscience without possibly helping a candidate they dislike. They also save tax money by removing the need for separate runoff elections.
- Campaign finance reform? Greens support publicly funded elections to eliminate control of our government by wealthy individuals and corporations.
- Health care? Greens support a single-payer system that provides care to all Americans, similar to that found in dozens of nations, such as Canada, Costa Rica, Italy, and Japan.
- Drugs? Greens support the decriminalization of addiction. Money wasted on a losing drug war would be better spent on education and rehabilitation.
- Labor? Greens support strong worker protections and a living wage of at least $15/hr to ensure that families can afford food and housing.
- Military? Greens believe a strong defense begins with a lean military. The current military budget is bloated and unrealistic, designed around Cold War threats and corporate profits rather than current defense needs. There is no legitimate need to maintain military bases in more than 70 nations.
Who are the Green Party's candidates in Texas?
In each election since 2010, the Green Party of Texas has fielded anywhere from a dozen to 40 candidates for federal, state, and county offices. Statewide, Texas Greens have run for the U.S. Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, seats on the Railroad Commission (which regulates the oil and gas industry), and the various executive offices.
In the 2016 election, Railroad Commission nominee Martina Salinas broke her own record for vote total and percentage in a four-way contested race, earning 3.26% of the vote statewide (285,614 votes). Rodolfo Rivera-Muñoz received 2.66% in the race for Supreme Court Position 3.
The elections of 2000, '10, '12, and '14 saw several Green Party candidates achieve the requisite 5% of the vote that allowed the Party to retain ballot access in Texas. This occurred in races in which the Democratic Party did not nominate a candidate. In a Republican-dominated state, with dozens of safe legislative districts where incumbents run unopposed, it is vital to provide voters more choices.
Click the links below to view the Wikipedia entries for the candidates. The 2004 and 2008 tickets ran a write-in campaign in Texas due to lack of ballot access.
- 2000: Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke
- 2004: David Cobb and Patricia LaMarche
- 2008: Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente
- 2012: Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala
- 2016: Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka
How can I join the Green Party?
Anyone who agrees with the Ten Key Values is welcome as a member of the Green Party, regardless of age, religion, ethnic background, gender identity, orientation, or family status. There are no dues or fees. In Harris County, after attending two general meetings, you will have voting privileges in party decisions. If you would like to get started now, you can learn more about our various committees and work groups.
Here is our signup page to get you started.
Where can I get more information on the Greens?
You can visit us on the Web at www.hcgp.org where you can find a wealth of information and helpful links to learn more about other Green organizations in Greater Houston and elsewhere. Visit our contact page for e-mail addresses, phone number, and mailing address.
Come to our general meetings, open to all, on the fourth Monday of every month, 7 pm, at the Havens Center, 1827 West Alabama Street, Houston 77006 (Montrose).
For less Party business, you can drop by the weekly G3 Meetings. G3 stands for Green Community, Green Thought, Green Action. These informal gatherings occur Sunday evenings, 7-9 pm, at Midtown Bar & Grill, 415 West Gray Avenue, Houston 77019 (Neartown/Fourth Ward).