Guide to local elections: Third Party Edition

John McClatchy

A few months ago we gave you candidates for the Republican and Democratic Parties, but what about other parties?

In the leadup to last year’s elections, there were profiles for candidates running for local offices in the Republican and Democratic Parties. There are other parties in the area, and here is a profile of two different parties.

Green Party
The Green Party is one of the largest third parties in the country. It has a presence in over 40 states and the District of Columbia, and has over 100 elected officials in the states of Arkansas and California.

The platform of the party is based in what is called the four pillars: ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence, according to Philadelphia Membership Secretary Chris Robinson.

Robinson said the party is active in Philadelphia, but not in Chester County. “There is no official presence in Chester County, but we are active in Delaware County,” he said. “The last meeting was on March 4 in Swarthmore.”

The membership of the Green Party is largely made up of younger college age people. “A lot of Greens support Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democrats,” Robinson said. “However, the Greens will be having their own nominating process for President, which will end in August.”

Robinson said they are also focusing on some more local positions. “We are trying to get people on the ballot for Auditor General, Attorney General, and for the Senate to run against Pat Toomey and whoever the Democratic candidate will be,” he said.

Robinson said there will be candidates for various state offices, but that none will be in the five county area.

The Green Party has had trouble being recognized on the national stage because of it refuses money from PACs, officially unaffiliated groups that can spend money on ads, mail, or other ways to support or defeat candidates.

“They have taken over our elections,” Robinson said. “And ever since the Citizens United ruling, it has gotten worse.”

The Citizens United Supreme Court case in 2010 allowed the formation of “Super PACs”, which place no limits on individual contributions to a PAC. Before a person could only give $5,000 to a PAC.

Robinson has hope about the party, however. “We urge people to not only look at the Green Party, but at other third parties as well,” he said. “Who knows, they may appeal to you more than the Republicans or Democrats.”
Constitution Party
The Constitution is based in protecting the Constitution, and limiting the power of the government that they view as unconstitutionally afforded. There are less elected officials than the Green Party, but have elected officials in more states, including two in Pennsylvania.

State Vice Chairman Troy Bowman said the three most important issues for the Constitution Party are family, and property and states rights, as well as recognizing that the country was founded “not by religionists, but by Christians” in the preamble.

“We pride ourselves in running a grassroots campaign,” Bowman said. “The Constitution Party wants to keep politics local, and build a bottom-up movement, because that’s how popular movements work.”

The National Convention of the Constitution Party is earlier than most, with the party selecting its presidential and vice presidential candidates at the Hilton Salt Lake City Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah from April 13-16, with the actual selection occurring on the last two days of the conference.

Bowman said that a vote for the Constitution Party would not be wasted.

“For a very long time, politics has been dominated by two parties,” he said. “Well, how’s that been working out? It’s turned out to be the same old same old for all elected officials – Republican or Democrat.”