Letter: ‘Neither Left nor Right, but in Front’


Edgar Alan Beem’s engaging “What’s Left of Me” a few weeks ago placed me to his left politically. As one of the principal founders of the Green Party, I daily encounter the labels “left” and “far-left.” A closer look yields a different view.

For example, I am very strong for conserving. I am strong for local self-reliance. I am strong for decentralization, small business and community values, and that means I strongly oppose big government. I deplore the gospel of perpetual economic growth, the sacred mantra of every party on the conventional “left to right” political spectrum. The Greens are shocked at this. I am aghast at the callous subordination of ecological realities to greedy financial calculations. Climate change is not just a buzz word. Extinction is not just an idle threat. The lives and livelihoods of all of us, rich and poor, are now threatened as never before. A foreign policy based on military might – and shoving killing taxes on the poor and middle class to pay for it – is truly sick.

“Left” doesn’t fit. I relate to Petra Kelly’s vision for Green Parties, she being a key founder worldwide: “Neither Left nor Right, but in Front.”

At lunch the other day, Ed Beem and I came away with a better understanding of each other’s politics. Democrats and Greens could work together. Political reforms like ranked-choice voting are crucial for that to happen. More on that as opportunity offers.

John Rensenbrink





Legislature delays and potentially repeals ranked-choice voting


The House and Senate both vote to postpone use of the system until 2021, and repeal it if the Maine Constitution isn't amended by then to address legal concerns.

Rep. Ralph Chapman, a Green Independent from Brookesville, spoke at length on the ranked-choice voting measure discussed during Monday's special session of the Legislature.
Rep. Ralph Chapman, a Green Independent from Brookesville, spoke at length on the ranked-choice voting measure discussed during Monday's special session of the Legislature. Staff photo by David Leaming



AUGUSTA — A citizen-backed law that made Maine the first state to adopt a ranked-choice voting system will be delayed and possibly repealed following a series of contentious votes Monday in a special session of the Legislature.


The Senate voted 19-10 to delay the law until December 2021 – and then repeal it if a constitutional amendment hasn’t been passed by then to address legal concerns raised by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The House held six procedural votes, then finally agreed with the Senate on a 68-63 tally. The bill now will go to Republican Gov. Paul LePage ...





Green Party Candidate Enters Maine's Governor's Race


Oct 17, 2017


Green Party candidate Betsy Marsano today kicked off her campaign to win the party's nomination in Maine's 2018 governor's race ...



“We are a large state and a very small community," she said, "and it is that community that I will most approach and try to work with as I go forward in this campaign.” ...






Rep. Chapman joins Maine Green Party

Can block calls for special legislative sessions

Representative Ralph Chapman joins Maine Green Party

Rep. Ralph Chapman.

Penobscot Bay Press file photo


by Anne Berleant


Rep. Ralph Chapman (G-Brooksville) has joined the Maine Green Party, he announced on September 20, nearly four months after unenrolling from the Democratic Party ...

“The primary reason has to do with the corporate funding,” he said. “We know the problems of corporate funding in campaigns, but what most people don’t see is that corporate funding corrupts the system inside the State House, as well…The party leadership is responding to the corporate lobbies that fund their ability to elect people of their party, and therefore purchase the loyalty of those people.”

The Green party does not accept corporate contributions, Chapman said ...





Lawmaker’s party switch gives Greens a seat in the Maine House

By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff September 22, 2017 1:52 pm

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Rep. Ralph Chapman of Brookville



A Maine House of Representatives Democrat who quit the party earlier this year has announced that he has enrolled in the Maine Green Independent Party.


That makes Rep. Ralph Chapman of Brooksville the second Green Independent to serve in the Legislature’s history. The only other was former Rep. John Eder of Portland, who was elected in 2002 and served two terms before losing a re-election bid in 2006 ...




“The Maine Green Independent Party offers an alternative” because it doesn’t accept corporate donations, said Chapman, who is in his fourth term and will be prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. “In essence, the Maine Green Independent Party is demonstrating, by its actions, how to behave as though the Citizens’ United Supreme Court decision were overturned.” ...



Jon Olson of Jefferson, who co-chairs the Green Independent Party, welcomed Chapman in a written statement. He referred to the State House as a “toxic political environment.”


“We hope that other legislators of either major party will consider following his lead and that new aspiring candidates will do so as well,” said Olson ...








Maine gubernatorial candidates on York County casino: Vote it down

Asked about their positions, all of the 2018 contenders who responded oppose the measure, citing better ways to help the state's economy and concerns about the campaign's backers.


AUGUSTA — They may not agree on much, but the pantheon of candidates now hoping to replace Gov. Paul LePage in 2018 seem to agree that a ballot question that would give one person an exclusive chance to build Maine’s third casino is a bad idea ...

Green Party candidate Betsy Marsano of Waldo also opposes the casino, saying it has the backing of wealthy developers who have made no assurances that Maine would reap any benefits.

Betsy Marsano

She also noted that voters and the Legislature have rejected efforts by Maine’s Indian tribes to develop casinos and use the profits to protect their lands and waters.

“I would suggest prior to authorizing a new casino, driven by out-of-state developers, we consider empowering and enabling out Indigenous People to move forward with their plan,” Marsano said.

Green Party candidate Jay Dresser Lunt and Libertarian Party candidate Richard Light could not be reached for comment.





Green Party’s Jill Stein: Our Voting System is Wide Open for Hacking


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González, as we continue with Part 2 of our conversation with Jill Stein, the former Green Party presidential candidate of 2016, of 2012 ...

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Oh, so you’re now definitively saying you were not invited to Trump Tower.

DR. JILL STEIN: No, I had no secret meetings, rendezvous. You know, I did not purchase a condo in Trump—you know, no—you know, to me, it’s just like so preposterous. We are absolutely at opposite ends politically and, you know, culturally and all the rest. I find it really interesting that there is such an effort, a consistent effort, to try to demonize me and the Green Party. And I take that as a compliment that, outside of an election season, we are being perceived as a threat, as really sort of the opposition party that the—that Democrats and Republicans are very worried about, because they know that there is a political revolt taking place right now, and there’s a movement that’s looking for a home. And the Green Party does seem to be, you know, opening its doors ...

AMY GOODMAN: How do you respond to those who say you’re a spoiler? And also, whether you have any regrets about having run?

DR. JILL STEIN: Right. So, my response is to say that—do the numbers, because Greens don’t just vote for Democrats. The numbers are very clear. Sixty-one percent of Greens would stay home if they didn’t have a Green to vote for. There were several exit polls that showed that. And conversation with Greens on the street will tell you that, as well. And of the remaining portion of Greens who would come out to vote, a substantial number of them would have voted for Donald Trump and not Democrat in the first place. So, wishing pigs fly doesn’t make them fly. You can wish that Greens had voted Democrat, but they wouldn’t vote Democrat. If you apply those numbers—and it’s something like 15 percent of my votes might have been the differential applied to Hillary Clinton—doesn’t make the difference anywhere.

Do I have regrets? You know, I always said that I would feel terrible if Donald Trump got elected, and I would feel terrible if Hillary Clinton got elected. But I feel most terrible about a political system that tried to shove two choices down our throats that people utterly rejected to, the most distrusted and disliked candidates in our history. We need a political system that can do justice to our need for, you know, an economy, a healthcare system, a climate and a world that we can survive in ...

And the bottom line here is that the solution to a compromised democracy, a democracy on life support, is not to suppress the voices of political opposition. Opposition is essential for democracy to function. And if all of the people who are bent out of shape about the “spoiled election,” instead of trying to silence political opposition, were just working to create a ranked-choice voting system in your state, that lets you rank your choices—you don’t have to worry about actually voting for who you want to vote for—the whole problem would go away. And then—you know, and then we could actually have a political system that reflects our deeply felt needs.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what you mean, ranked-choice voting system.

DR. JILL STEIN: So, it’s a voting system. The state of Maine just passed it in the last election by voter referendum. Instead of just picking one candidate for president, or it could be for mayor or governor, it lets you rank your choices. And if your first choice loses, your vote is automatically reassigned to your second choice. So that way, you know, you can vote for an independent or third-party candidate or an underdog who really reflects the way that you feel, knowing that if that candidate loses, your vote is automatically reassigned to your second choice.

So we can actually solve this problem. Right now, people are being intimidated into thinking they have to vote their fears. But the politics of fear isn’t working out so well for us. It’s basically producing everything that we were afraid of. So, you know, we can fix the voting system. And I would say, resist the temptation, you know, that tells you that you have to silence yourself, we’ve got to be good little boys and girls, you know, and just vote for the political system that is throwing us under the bus. Instead, we can change that voting system and be able to open it up and actually have real choice.





Jill Stein says she played a 'critical role' in 2016 election

Jill Stein said Saturday that she played a "really critical" role in last year's election.

The Green Party presidential nominee, who received about 1 percent of the popular vote in last year's contest, was asked on MSNBC to explain how she perceived her role in the election.

"Really critical," was her response. She elaborated on that point by discussing frustration with the election's two leading candidates from the major parties, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ...

"Really critical," was her response. She elaborated on that point by discussing frustration with the election's two leading candidates from the major parties, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump...





Greens’ Stein Faults Two-Party System


Some Democrats blame Jill Stein for “siphoning off” crucial votes from Hillary Clinton and thus helping to elect Donald Trump, but Stein insists that the two-party straitjacket is the real enemy of democracy, reports Dennis J Bernstein.
By Dennis J Bernstein

Former Green Party presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, remains undaunted in her belief that the only real and significant change in U.S. politics will come through a third party that can finally break the headlock that the Democrats and Republicans hold on the electoral system ...

Jill Stein: ...

And even this issue of spoiling elections, and splitting the votes. Well, hello, there’s a system called ranked-choice voting which Greens have been promoting forever. The state of Maine just passed it by voter referendum.

[California Governor] Jerry Brown just vetoed it [in California]. There was enabling legislation that was passed by the Legislature and Jerry Brown vetoed it because Democrats are at war with the liberation of our votes. They rely on extortion. They rely on intimidation, and fear, in order to hold people back. Why do they do that? Because they know that they can’t earn your vote.

Ranked-choice voting calls their bluff. It allows you to actually rank your choices. If your first choice loses, your vote is automatically reassigned to your second choice. That’s a win-win on our democracy. There are win-wins for every issue that faces us.

Right now we’re looking at a lose-lose [situation], with this corporate-sponsored duopoly. The Democrats might give us ten more years than the Republicans would, of survival, under Democratic policies. But it’s a sinking ship, with the duopoly. It’s time to get off the ship. Our lives depend on getting off that ship and launching the lifeboat. We’ve got it, let’s make it happen.