Just in case you missed the Green Party results for the California Presidential primary, here they are:
Ralph Nader 61.7 % with 15332 votes
Cynthia McKinney 25.3% with 6279 votes
Elaine Brown 4.5% with 1114 votes
Kat Swift 3.0% with 768 votes
Kent Mesplay 2.1% with 526 votes
Ralph Nader won, which I'll get back to in a second. The most obvious point is that only about 25,000 Green votes were cast in all of California, excepting I think there were a lot of write-ins for Barack Obama. This is a dismal turnout, and if you are not depressed enough by American politics already, I'm going to go into why.
For statewide offices in California Green Party candidates have polled far higher. For instance, in the 2002 race for Governor, Peter Camejo received 393,036 votes.
Before declaring an end to the Green Party, consider what people in Mendocino County were saying about how they wanted to vote in the primary. There were two common themes among greenish voters here: people could not vote in the Green Primary because they had switched to Democrat, usually back in 2004, to vote for Dennis Kucinich. And people who were mad they were registered Green because they wanted to vote for Barack Obama.
Let's take the Barack Obama greens first. A secondary comment was that the Green Party primary was not exciting because they had not heard of any of the candidates except Ralph Nader, who no longer excited them. Since there was close to zero press coverage of the Green Party candidates, of course they had not heard of them. If the corporate press that they say they hate and distrust had not whipped up Barack's campaign he'd be as obscure as any other black person in Congress.
The Kucinich greens are a sad lot. Consciously or not, Dennis Kucinich had a mission in 2004: to destroy the Green Party. He did great at that. He claimed he was going to move the Democrats to the left, but instead he made a joke of the left within the party. So he killed two birds with one stone. The dope-addled Kucinich Democrats of Mendocino County mostly fell into the we-love-Obama camp. After all, they had trained themselves for over a decade to hate the kind of Democratic Party that the Clintons represent. And Obama is not Clinton.
Anyone who thinks that because they are now what passes for the far left in the United States, people registered in the Green Party must be particularly astute or even news-aware don't know the Greens of Mendocino County, or of California. Green Party members, as a whole, hardly ever vote. They pay little attention to the news, and get most of their knowledge of the world from the corporate media. When focused they are as smart as anyone and may remember some of the lessons they have learned about corporate control of the media, the candidates, and the two party system, but they drift away from that pretty easily.
Cynthia McKinney is a far better choice to lead the Green Party ticket in 2008 than Ralph Nader, but she was smashed in the primary. Interestingly, there was only one city where the press covered the Green Party primary at all: San Francisco. There was a Green Party Presidential debate there, and while there was no TV coverage, the daily paper wrote a short article and enough people attended to create a buzz. Cynthia edged out Ralph there, 46% to 44%. If there had been statewide televised debates I think the statewide electoral results would have been similar.
Why? Because Greens, like other voters, mostly vote based solely on name recognition. Ralph Nader has way better name recognition than Ms. McKinney, an African-American who has served several terms in the House of Representatives for her Georgia district.
If there is anything that will make the Green Party rise from the ashes, aside from strong local candidates, it is a Democratic Party owning the White House and Congress at the same time. Then people will hear a parade of excuses about why nothing much can really be done about the economy, the environment, or the U.S. military budget.
Another Nader candidacy will be another disaster. It may throw the election to the Republicans not because Nader will get many votes, but because he'll make John McCain look like a young man.