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It isn’t easy being a Green Party candidate in a Democratic Party town

June 1, 2018

by Barry Hermanson

On the Muppets show in the 1970s, Kermit the Frog sang, “It’s not easy being green.” It isn’t easy being a Green Party candidate. There are advantages and disadvantages.

I was a Democrat until 2001, at age 50, I registered to vote with the Green Party. Greens value people, planet and peace over profit. Leaders in the Democratic Party do not.

I am a candidate for Congress because San Francisco voters do not have an advocate for peace in Washington. Democratic Party leaders join with Republicans to fund never ending wars. Little, if anything, is spent to promote peace.

I’d like to share with you some of my experiences campaigning over the last two years. I’ve been a candidate before. Voters will never hear about the Green Party unless we have candidates.

I’ve never worked as much on a campaign, never met and talked to so many people on the street, never walked so many neighborhoods or delivered as many campaign cards to voters. I’ve also never had as much fun. The people I’m meeting and their positive feedback give me energy to get up every morning and go out to meet more voters.

I am a candidate for Congress because San Francisco voters do not have an advocate for peace in Washington. Democratic Party leaders join with Republicans to fund never ending wars. Little, if anything, is spent to promote peace.

After Green Party mayoral candidate Matt Gonzalez narrowly lost to Gavin Newsom, the 38 chartered Democratic Party clubs in San Francisco were prohibited from endorsing non-Democrats. One clear disadvantage of being Green is I’m not invited to speak to them.

The advantage? I have more time to walk neighborhoods and engage voters one on one. Other than the San Francisco Green Party, the only other political club that has endorsed me is San Francisco for Democracy. I am very grateful for both.

Since the leadership of organized labor is joined at the hip with the leadership of the Democratic Party, San Francisco is a one-party town. In 2006, I was invited to participate in a SEIU 1021 primary election panel opposite Democrats Fiona Ma and Janet Reilly for State Assembly.

Both of the Democratic Party candidates admitted during the forum that they had not done as much to support working people as I had. I was told in advance not to expect an endorsement. I’ve never been invited to speak at another labor candidate forum. It isn’t easy being Green.

Since the leadership of organized labor is joined at the hip with the leadership of the Democratic Party, San Francisco is a one-party town.

I’ve walked a lot of picket lines with workers from Local 2, the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union. One of the picket line chants begins: “Early in the morning and late at night …” in all kinds of weather. Yet, workers are told nothing about me by the leadership of the union. I think I’ve been taken off Local 2’s e-mail list since I don’t hear about their picket lines any more.

The California Nurses Association, one of the most powerful political organizations in California and the leading advocate for an Improved Medicare for All, has not mentioned my candidacy to its thousands of San Francisco members even though we have worked together for many years.

I support their No. 1 policy objective. Nancy Pelosi does not. Advocacy for an Improved Medicare for All has been a central part of my platforms for 16 years. It isn’t easy being a Green.

On the street, I’m meeting Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, members of the Peace and Freedom Party and those with no party affiliation. My message hasn’t been filtered or blocked by any organization.

Advocacy for an Improved Medicare for All has been a central part of my platforms for 16 years.

I ask everyone: Would you vote to give Trump more for the military than he requested? No one has replied yes. Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris did (HR 2810).

Why do Democratic Party leaders prioritize military spending over everything else? That is the question I am not allowed to ask members of chartered Democratic Party clubs, members of organized labor and many other organizations who are tied to the Democratic Party. It is fun, asking the question on the street and hearing voters respond.

I ask everyone: Would you vote to give Trump more for the military than he requested? No one has replied yes. Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris did (HR 2810). Why do Democratic Party leaders prioritize military spending over everything else?

Kermit finishes his song by singing: “I’m Green. It’ll do fine. It’s beautiful. And I think it’s what I want to be.” I’m glad I registered to vote with the Green Party. Like Kermit says, it isn’t easy, but it’s what I want to be.

I’d like to thank the Bay View newspaper for printing my monthly columns for the last year. I was honored they asked me to write. I will write more.

Barry Hermanson is the San Francisco-based Green Party candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, the seat Nancy Pelosi now holds. Visit his website, barry4congress.org, and email him at Barry@Barry4Congress.org.

3 thoughts on “It isn’t easy being a Green Party candidate in a Democratic Party town

  1. ctweber

    I am glad that Bay View is allowing Barry Hermanson a forum. I strongly advocate support for candidates from alternative parties. The two party manipulation of elections needs to end. I advocate that voters vote for Barry Hermanson in the primary which closes on June 5.

    Reply
  2. Michael Feinsetin

    I join my fellow California Secretary of State candidate C.T. Weber (Peace and Freedom) in thanking the SF Bay View in providing a platform for voices like Barry Hermanson's. Under elections by proportional representation – which is a centerpiece of my own campaign, we would have voices from many political parties in our state and federal legislature, giving more people a seat at the table of our democracy.

    For the CA state legislature, this is my proportional representation proposal https://feinstein4sos.org/issues/proportional-rep

    For the U.S. Congress, I support the Fair Representation Act http://www.fairvote.org/fair_rep_in_congress#why_

    Michael Feinstein
    2018 candidate for California Secretary of State http://www.feinstein4sos.org/issues http://www.feinstein4sos.org/news-updates http://www.twitter.com/feinstein4sos http://www.facebook.com/feinstein.michael

    Reply

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