A friend of mine was speaking to me on the phone today about the election results. He was angry about the results in Arizona, where the Democratic candidate for Senate lost to the Republican by a smaller margin than the Green vote. He viewed the Greens as spoilers.
There was a time I would have agreed. I don’t any more. As I have been told many times on this site, the Greens don’t owe us their votes.
I’ve made a mistake about the Greens. I’ve thought of them as liberal allies. They aren’t. They happen to share some positions with us and I suppose if they got elected to legislative office they’d vote with Democrats a lot but that doesn’t make them allies.
We’re never going to make them allies. This actually has very little to do with ideology. What it’s really about is a difference in approach. When we talk to Greens, we talk about strategems for getting closer to what we want. That’s Greek to them. They care about What but they basically ignore How. As long as that’s true, there is no way to reach common ground because if all you care about is What, any differences in What for any reason look like selling out, no matter what accepting those differences accomplishes for anyone. It makes no sense to us why they wouldn’t care about maximizing what good we can actually accomplish, but they don’t.
We have this argument a lot but it doesn’t make any sense. Here it takes the form of an argument about Lesser Evilism. We think that accepting a Lesser Evil makes sense if it’s the only way to avoid a Greater Evil, they think that Evil is Evil and you don’t touch it regardless of the consequences because they’re not about consequences, they’re about positions.
The long and the short of it is that if we need more turnout, don’t look there. It’s a waste of effort. They aren’t spoilers at all, they’re just a population that looks enough like us that we’re fooled.
Don’t bother. It’s the wrong place to look.