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The Coastal Packet

The longtime national journal, Progressive Review, has moved its headquarters from Washington DC to Freeport, Maine, where its editor, Sam Smith, has long ties. This is a local edition dealing with Maine news and progressive politics.

3/16/10

BAD DAYS FOR THE GREEN PARTY

PINE TREE POLITICS - The failure of the Green Party to produce a candidate after having made so much headway in this state over the last two decades represents a bitter disappointment that may spell the ultimate doom of Maine’s strongest third party. In the last several election cycles, Maine’s Green Party has enjoyed success and made gains that have been nationally significant, easily establishing itself as the Pine Tree State’s most relevant third party.

Consider:

- In 1994, Green Party candidate Jonathan Carter received 32,695 votes – 6.39% of ballots cast
- In 1998, Green Party candidate Pat LaMarche received 28,722 votes – 6.82% of ballots cast
- In 2002, Green Party candidate Jonathan Carter received 46,903 votes – 9.28% of ballots cast
- In 2006, Green Party candidate Pat LaMarche received 52,150 votes – 9.60% of ballots cast

In each election, the Green Party received a higher percentage of the raw vote than in the previous election, slowly building legitimacy and experience.

Maine's political culture was the better for it. Green Party activists siphoning off a significant portion of the vote forces the comparatively moderate Democratic Party in Maine to take the left flank seriously and not simply take it for granted. That same division on the political left helps Republicans be perhaps more competitive than they otherwise would be in a pure two party state. Maine always kind of reminded me of a mini version the United Kingdom in many ways – with the Greens taking on the role of the Liberal-Democrats. . .

The Green Party should be safe from a complete demise, however, so long as 10,000 of their registered voters in the 2010 election [vote] – a turnout of 33%, which should be more than possible. Nonetheless, it is a major setback for the strongest Green Party organ in the United States, and one which will take a great deal of time to rebuild from.

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