The Green Party
The Green Party
Matthew Jones (Political Science Instructor) gives expert video advice on: How did the Green Party start?; How is the Green Party changing?; What does the Green Party stand for? and more...
How did the Green Party start?
The Green Party started in the 1980's. The Green Party is kind of an outgrowth of the Green Movement that really took form in Europe, especially Germany, where a Green Party was really able to get into politics in a formal way. It started in the 1980's, but not much came of it until Ralph Nader took up the mantle of the Green Party and started challenging the other two parties. Especially with Al Gore in 2000. People started to really know what the Green Party was. It started in the 1980's, came into its own with Ralph Nader, and throughout the 90's to the 2000 election.
How is the Green Party changing?
Green Party is a fairly recent phenomenon, relatively anyway, so it hasn't changed much. I mean it went from, being in the 1980's, kind of this beginning, nobody-really-knew-much-about-it party, to going into the 1990's, especially with Bill Clinton and him bringing the Democratic Party his third way politics - bringing the Democratic Party more towards the middle, especially economically. That's where the Green Party started. The people who are dissatisfied with that - more liberal, and especially the environmentalists who they didn't think Bill Clinton and Al Gore were doing enough - started to look toward the Green Party as an alternative, a kind of a, "this is who we're going to vote for to voice our displeasure." And then Ralph Nadar took up the mantle of the Green Party and brought a nationally recognized name - somebody who's already been into politics since the 1970's, had already made a name for himself - into it. And with the 2000 Election, that's been kind of like the high point of the Green Party, with Ralph Nadar able to, you know, get 5% of the vote - or close to 5% of the vote in certain places, or sometimes even over 5% of the vote - and really kind of threaten Al Gore's candidacy. Not in terms of he's going to take it over, but threaten in terms of taking enough votes away from him that he had to address Ralph Nadar's presence. And since then, it started to decline - with Ralph Nadar kind of moving away from it, it started to decline again.
What does the Green Party stand for?
The Green Party stands for... obviously; one of its foremost priorities is environmentalism, or protecting the environment. And one aspect of it, and one of the things Ralph Nader really brought into it, was challenging business, and challenging big business, because a lot of times, big business practices tend to be in opposition to environmental causes, for various reasons. So it's protecting the environment, challenging big business. They also tend to like litigation, or trial lawyers. They view trial lawyers and lawsuits as a way to challenge big business and a way to work for the "little guy" kind of a thing. That tends to be some of their priorities. And then other things fall along the lines of helping out minorities and the little guy, that kind of go along more with the liberal or Democratic spectrum anyway.
Who votes for the Green Party?
The Green Party is similar to the Libertarian Party. It kind of has an academic following. On college campuses, especially with undergraduate students, the Green Party tends to be more popular. With younger people, the Green Party tends to be a little bit more popular, as was also true with the Libertarian Party.