Greens want to draft Nader
parties have had a miserable political history. Their candidates
either get forgotten in the media hoopla or face charges of
spoiling the race. But beginning with the "96 presidential
campaign, the Green Party hopes to establish third parties as an
election choice of the future. Its goal is to build broad-based
excitement about third parties by running a virtually
Consumer rights activist
Ralph Nader has agreed to put his name on Green primary ballots,
but only on certain conditions: He refuses to make many TV
appearances, plans to spend less than $5,000, and doesn't want to
"lead" any campaign. The Draft Ralph Nader for President campaign
is currently working in over 30 states to build the broad-based
organization necessary to convince Nader to be their candidate. In
the West, only California and New Mexico can claim success. Nader
was on the March 26 California ballot and will appear on the New
Mexico ballot in June.
In speeches, Nader slams
trade agreements such as GATT and NAFTA , and says he hopes to
appeal to people disgruntled with both Democrats and Republicans.
"He is a kinder and gentler (Pat) Buchanan," says California Green
organizer Mike Feinstein. "His populism is more digestible."
Voters will see a smattering of Greens on local
and state ballots throughout the West, especially in California and
Colorado. New Mexico Greens are already a force to be contended
with. Over the past two years, party registration has leapt from
800 to 4,000 and they have achieved major party status; on June 4
the party will hold its first New Mexico primary. Greens will
decide then whether environmentalist Sam Hitt or former Green Party
Chairman Abraham Gutmann will challenge Republican Sen. Pete
Although it is extremely unlikely
either Green candidate could beat Domenici, the party's presence
could mar the incumbent's ride to Washington by decreasing the size
of his victory. Domenici breezed through his last two New Mexico
elections with over 70 percent of the vote, and this year's
Democratic frontrunner, former Santa Fe mayor Art Trujillo, is not
expected to be a formidable opponent.
candidates hope to hold Domenici accountable not only for his
positions on logging and grazing but also for New Mexico's
persistent and severe poverty.
"Domenici is seen
as a guy who brings home the bacon, but really he brings money for
Los Alamos labs," says Gutmann. "These are high-end jobs mostly
given to people from out of state. My priority is to change the
mission of labs from bomb labs to alternative energy."