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How the Green Party Nixed a Promising Candidate

By       Message Bill Samuel     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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I had seen videos of Joe Schriner in early Green Party forums.  He did well, and appeared to get a very favorable response.  But as the Green Party Presidential primary campaign went on, he didn't appear to be in it.  This was very puzzling for me.  How did such a promising candidate so well embodying Green Party values drop from the picture?

Now Joe has written an open letter to Green Party members which gives the story.  It's a sad one.  Joe wanted to participate actively in the primaries, but was blocked by state Green Party leaders who didn't want to give the members a free choice.

Joe continues as an independent candidate.  Here is his open letter:


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Dear Green Party members,           

Last year I declared to vie for the Green Party nomination for president.  My platform – which has been developed during 15 solid years and 200,000 miles of cross-country research – matches closely with many of the Green Party’s  “10 Key Values.” 

            We’re on the same page with things like: social justice, decentralism, community-based economics, ecological wisdom…  In fact, when it comes to reversing the alarming crisis of global warming, the Green Party has the best platform, by far, I’ve consistently said on the campaign trail.

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            Our campaigning has spanned three successive election cycles.  And we’ve been hard at it, generating some 2,000 newspaper articles, 175 regional network TV news shows, hundreds of radio spots… over more than 80,000 miles of campaigning.

            As part of this campaigning, we participated in the Green Party National Convention in Reading, PA, last summer where I spent three full days answering an in-depth candidate questionnaire, gave a talk to the General Assembly during a Candidate Forum and participated in a Presidential Candidate Press Conference.

            After the Press Conference, Green Party National Media Coordinator Scott McLarty said to me that never had he heard a candidate hit more “home runs” than I did during one of these press conferences.  (Just a few days prior, after a Presidential Candidate Debate at the National Press Club in D.C., the Green Party’s 2004 Vice-Presidential candidate Pat LaMarche approached me, said my part of the debate had been tremendously “refreshing,” and if there was anything she could do to help us in the Party -- we were to just let her know.)

            We were jazzed with these types of responses, and shortly after headed out on a tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio, touting aspects of the Green Party in newspapers, regional network news shows… Then back at our home in Cleveland, Ohio, we began mapping out logistics for participating in the Green Party’s Primaries.

            And that’s where the wheels came off.

            We contacted the GP in California to find out about participation in their Primary, the party’s biggest.  Warner S. Bloomberg III, Coordinator for the Green Party of California Campaigns and Candidates Working Group told me in an e-mail that my candidacy was in the “not recommended list” to participate because of my Pro-life stance.  (We have a “Consistent Life Ethic” that sets us against abortion, poverty, pollution, nuclear proliferation… and anything else that can end life prematurely.)

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            “Personally, I don’t understand how you made it to the podium at the July (National Convention) meeting,” Mr. Bloomberg III wrote.

            I tried to reason with him, arguing that Rudy Gulliani – who is pro-choice – was being allowed to participate in the Republican Primaries to the fullest extent, even though the Republican platform includes the Pro-life stance.  What’s more, it’s not uncommon that a candidate’s positions don’t match up perfectly with an entire Party platform. 

What’s more, one of the Green Party’s 10 Key Values is “Grassroots Democracy” and shunning me would fly in the face of that and make the Republicans (as ironic as this sounds) look more open to “grassroots democracy” than the Green Party seemed to be, I said.

            This was all to no avail, however.  And we were summarily closed out of the GP California Primary. 

            Not easily discouraged… we were also planning a campaign tour of the Northeast at the time, and tried to contact Green Party people up there we could meet with.  We were, again, shunned because of the Pro-life stance.  And even though we were invited to Green Party events in Rhode Island and Minnesota, it didn’t make logistic sense to put our time and energy into something we weren’t being allowed to fully participate in, and consequently losing seemed a foregone conclusion.

            So we put all our energy into continuing to run as an independent.  We have traveled many more miles, continuing to get a message out, continuing to expand our support base… and continuing to believe the country needs a viable alternative to the dominant paradigm.

            In regard to the latter (a few hard feelings notwithstanding) we are also continuing talk about the Green Party.  I told NBC News out of Toledo yesterday that I believe just tweaking environmental policy at this point (which both major party candidates seem to be proposing) is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Global Warming Titanic.  And we need the dramatic vision of the Green Party per: decentralism, a major shift to alternative vehicles and energy in general, etc. – if our children are going to have a world to live in 30 years from now.

            And today I told the Fremont (OH) News-Messenger that we look at the environment as a “Pro-life issue” (no world, no life), as we do war, poverty, racism…

            What’s more, at the Green Party National Convention last summer, we passed out a flyer that said it would be my “average Joe” persona, left leaning stance on the environment, and our right leaning stance on abortion that would cut across multiple voting lines and create, in essence, a “winning shade of green.”

            Otherwise it’s our belief the Green Party USA is destined to stay marginalized, along with its vision to create a sustainable country, and world.  And that would not only be a shame, it would be the end of our world, as we know it.

            And running as you’re “average” concerned parent from the Midwest, when I look into our kid’s eyes, and their possible future, well, my wife and I feel compelled to do everything we can to help turn their world ‘green’ – before it’s too late.





“average Joe” Schriner





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Having lived six decades now, I've had a lot of experiences! Grew up in a family often oppressed because of our faith - we stood for peace and against war, and for the rights of all regardless of ethnic background. Active from youth in peace and (more...)

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