Dahr Jamail writes at Al Jazeera:
In the race for the White House, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have talked about sustainable development.
Yet the Green Party ticket, whose stance on the issue outpaces those of both the Republican and Democratic parties, is virtually unknown by the vast majority of US voters.
Romney, who has campaigned while standing in front of a coal mine in Ohio and enjoys support from the billionaire Koch brothers who made their fortune in oil, gas and chemicals, is the bane of many environmentalists.
Meanwhile, Obama has been criticised for not cracking down on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique that uses chemicals and water to blast through underground shale formations.
Obama, who has stated that “climate change is the one of the biggest issues of this generation” and promised to “begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet”, has nevertheless given the green light for offshore oil leases in the environmentally sensitive Arctic Ocean, leaving the 66 per cent of US citizens who favour tax breaks to curb greenhouse gas emissions without a candidate.
Six-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader blames the absence of awareness of the Green Party among most Americans on what he calls an “electoral system dominated by a two-party tyranny” and “a duopoly of the Republicans and Democrats”.
“The Green Party not having a chance in this election is not because its proposals aren’t supported by the majority of Americans,” Nader told Al Jazeera. “Polls show their proposals like a living wage, cracking down on corporate crime, ending corporate bailouts, campaign finance reform, and many others, are what most people want. But since the two main parties are dialing for the same corporate dollars, they are the two heads of the corporate party, and this makes it nearly impossible for people to get on the ballot if they aren’t in one of those parties.”
A stacked deck
Dr Joshua Tucker, a professor of politics at New York University, agrees with this assessment, and says structural factors of how the US electoral system runs can explain why the Green Party is largely absent.
“The system is geared to two parties,” Tucker told Al Jazeera. “So it’s practically impossible for a third-party candidate to be relevant in terms of having a chance of winning.”
An example of the phenomenon comes from March 2012 polling carried out by Yale University and George Mason University. Polls found that 72 per cent of Americans think global warming should be a priority for the president.
According to polling of registered voters, 84 per cent of Democrats, 68 per cent of independents and 52 per cent of Republicans think global warming should be a priority.
But the Green Party ticket – consisting of presidential candidate Jill Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala – remains absent from the dominant discourse. The party was not invited to participate in the Obama-Romney presidential debates.
They weren’t just not invited, they were arrested for trying to attend. So much for the U.S. being a republic.
Anyway, read more here.