It all started with a request to be a pro bono lawyer in a 2013 Minnesota Supreme Court case to preserve the Minnesota Green Party’s official status as a “minor party” entitled to certain benefits under MN election law. Then … just like what happened in the Vol. I story All in a Day’s Work, to “win” the case I ended up doing something – once again totally not in keeping with any lawyer/client retainer agreement – this time returning the Greens to official minor party status by running for office myself and getting over 1% of the vote (all in a day’s work).
Actually the reason I ran was because I’ve always believed third parties are important for democracy and because my sons, Jack & Nick, and their millennial generation friends need some reason to believe politics is worth paying attention to . . .
. . . . and also because Sean called and Ellen got a new job (stories for another day). . .
. . . . and also because I thought having a book of stories ready to go would generate a following amongst Jesse Ventura-type-voters who’d rather a real person (even someone who couldn’t get laid in a whorehouse) than someone campaigning on slogan paying attention to political correctness. Only it didn’t happen.
First thing, each and every campaign advisor (including Ellen) said “Do NOT publish your stories” – and so I held off on the best stories until after the election. Now you’ve read them, what do you think? With a little hype we could have gotten a lot of press, no? And certainly more than the puny 1.49% we received.
Speaking of puny, although we never expected to win*, I’m finding it a little bit hard to be out in public these days – at least here in Minnesota (I did just get back from an adventurous, fun, out-of-state car trip) :
Am I really so unpopular as to only get 1% of the vote, or is the
radical left that puny that there are only 1% of us out there? Neither
answer is good. I especially don’t want to believe folks of my political
stripe are so few – but it’s even worse to think that folks of my political
stripe chose not to vote for me.
My public face on all this is that probably less than 10% of the voters even knew who I was on election day or ever heard my message (we had no money), and many who heard the message voted for the Democrat out of fear of electing the Republican (if they voted for me).
But I think it goes deeper than that. The very millennials I was so courting didn’t vote. A modern day, urban, back to the earth crowd that is so anti-institutional as to not vote. Academically bright, focused on real world careers, magnificently open-minded, free to live lives wholistically, often even growing their own food, riding bikes or renting “hour cars,” volunteering to do service, strongly believing in a clean energy future without fossil fuels, but counting on technology to get us there, not politics – so they didn’t vote.
In tomorrow’s daily dose I offer up a plan to give them a second chance to change our democracy back to one where votes count more than money. And you lefties out there, you hippies and anti-war activists from the 60s and 70s, it’s a second chance to show the radical left still exists.
*Although the chances of winning were slim, we felt we were winning just by raising issues that weren’t getting enough attention or fast enough action – and asking “Why Not?” Issues like the climate crisis, getting the big money out of politics, police killings, one system of justice for the rich and another for the rest of us. Every time I gave a speech it was enthusiastically received – it’s just the crowds were small. Although I started feeling depressed the last couple months because we weren’t getting any traction, having been out of politics for so long (raising a family), I really enjoyed each and every speech as one more speech that I never thought I’d give.
Tomorrow: The Plan