The 700 Club: Green Party makes a stand this week

By MAX PIZARRO
PoliticsNJ.com

Although the issue of energy independence has gained traction in recent times, the Green Party, which literally made a name for itself promoting alternative sources of energy, does not appear poised to claim any resounding electoral victories this year.

There are over 700 registered Green Party members in New Jersey, according to State Party Chair George DeCarlo, who is looking forward to his party’s 11th annual state convention on Saturday, March 24.

DeCarlo says the Greens want universal healthcare, an end to the war in Iraq, an end to eminent domain except for public purposes, and, of course, energy independence.

Recognizing the political power gap, the Berkeley Heights-based chairman says the Greens want to reach out to those voters at long last infuriated by what Ralph Nader, the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2000, once referred to as the country’s two-party duopoly.

“A majority in this state are nor Democratic or Republican, they’re independent voters,” says DeCarlo, who complains that New Jersey is one of the worst states in the country in terms of limiting third-party ballot access.

He says having one clear column on the ballot in every county would help the party’s candidates and maybe, in time, aid in getting them elected. With maybe one or two exceptions in non-partisan voting districts, the party doesn’t have anyone holding elected municipal office in this state, let alone representation in the Legislature.

DeCarlo concedes that one of his party’s problems is it currently has no eloquent, charismatic standard-bearer or household name, as consumer advocate and Princeton University grad Nader was when he ran in 2000. In the wake of that election, Nader also arguably deadened some enthusiasm for third party candidates on the left by drawing voters away from the Democratic Party nominee, Al Gore, acording to Nader's critics.

To turn the tide, DeCarlo says he wants disaffected Republicans as well as Democrats.

“There’s this impression that all Greens are ex-Democrats,” he says. “That’s not true in New Jersey, where Greens have a tendency to have more affiliation with the Republican Party. At the very least, it’s even: 25 percent former Democrats, and 25 percent former Republicans.”

DeCarlo says Nader may run again in 2008, maybe with former Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia., as his running mate.

“I’ve heard they’ve talked with each other,” DeCarlo says. “Hopefully, they won’t run against each other.”

The Greens’ convention will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington’s Crossing in Titusville.

The 700 Club: Green Party makes a stand this week