Questions for David Cobb, Green Party presidential nominee:
FOX: Why have you decided to run for president?
I chose to run for president for the Green Party (search) in order to insure that there was a political party on the ballot opposing the war, supporting universal health care, supporting raising the minimum wage to a living wage, supporting publicly-funded elections.
FOX: What in your background qualifies you for the presidency?
I believe that any intelligent, hard-working person is capable of being president of the United States. I want to get past the idea that there are only certain very wealthy white men who are allowed to be president in this country.
FOX: But what in your job background qualifies you for the presidency, what leadership positions have you held?
Again, I want to get beyond the idea that only certain wealthy, privileged, white men are qualified to be president of the United States.
FOX: There are plenty of non-white men and women in positions of power in the United States, they have proven they are leaders, how have you?
I want to get beyond the idea that only wealthy privileged people are considered appropriate for president of the United States
FOX: Tell me about the split in the Green Party, how you plan to unify the party?
There is a difference of opinions as to what to do this election cycle. All Greens agree that George W. Bush is an illegitimate occupant of the White House, who has engaged in policies that are reprehensible to the values that we share. Some Greens believe that Green Party should not run a candidate this year. Some Greens believe that the Greens should run (their own) candidate this year, others believe we should endorse Ralph Nader (search). The division among the Greens is really only a disagreement in tactics not of goals. So, the unity of the Green Party will be self-evident at the end of this election when everyone, who has been working on either the David Cobb (search) for president campaign as a Green, or for Ralph Nader for president as an independent, or have chosen to not vote at all, or for one of the other parties, every Green will be back working for the issues that we all care about at the end of this election.
FOX: Does the Green Party have the mechanics and manpower to support a presidential candidate or a president for that manner?
It’s not just manpower; there are plenty of women doing work for the Green Party. We currently have 23 guaranteed ballot lines; we’ll get on the ballot in 30 or 35 more. We are building organizational capacity in every election cycle
In 1996, there were only 10 organized state Green parties, five with a ballot line, we had elected 40 people to office. In 2000, there were 21 organized state Green parties, 10 with a ballot line, we had elected 87 Greens to office. Today, there are 44 organized state Green parties, 23 guaranteed ballot lines, and we’ve elected 205 people to office. We are getting larger, stronger and better organized with every election cycle, and we’re doing it against all odds. We are doing it in a system that’s not only designed to prevent our success; we’re doing it in a system that’s designed to prevent our existence.
FOX: As far as the Greens who did not want to run a candidate for president, do they feel that way because they feel the Greens should concentrate more at the local level, or because they are afraid of helping the Republicans?
Greens are working at the local level; we’re electing more Greens to office every election cycle. We’re also running more candidates for state house and state senate; we’re running candidates for Congress. Some Greens believe that we should not be running for president because George Bush is so bad, others believe that a presidential campaign takes too much away from local candidates, and others believe that a presidential candidate who is of and from the Green Party will help to demonstrate that the Green Party is serious, and credible, with serious candidates who are able to articulate real world solutions to the problems that face us.
FOX: If elected, how would you deal with a congress that contains no members of your own party?
Well, if I were elected president in 2004 that would mean that there would be Greens in Congress, because if I were elected president it would mean that there had been a massive political shift in this country. And that several of the Greens who are in fact running for Congress this year would certainly have won as well.
Secondly, if I were elected I would be able to use the presidency as a bully pulpit to start talking about issues that the American people care about but that the Democrats and Republicans never do talk about.
FOX: Some have said that by nominating you, and not endorsing Nader, the Greens have helped the Democrats, what do you think?
I think that they’re wrong. The Green Party is growing, we’re building an organization and we are going to be challenging both the Democratic and Republican parties.
FOX: Tell me a little about your running mate, Pat LaMarche (search)?
Pat LaMarche is a single mother of two. She lives in Maine. She has been an activist and organizer for the poor, maybe because she is considered on economics a member of the working poor. She currently works as a radio personality in, I believe, Augusta, Maine. She has run for governor in Maine helping the Green Party earn a ballot line in that state.
FOX: What do you say to those who think that voting for a third party is throwing away your vote?
When you vote for something you don’t want your wasting your vote. In this system, third parties have always been profoundly important to social change. Consider this, the following movements were all championed by third parties: the abolition of slavery, women getting the right to vote, the creation of the Social Security Administration (search), unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation laws, pure food and drug laws, the direct election of U.S. senators, the entire fabric of what all Americans would agree to be a just and compassionate society was literally woven together by so-called third parties before us.