AP, San Francisco: San Francisco Mayor Matt Gonzalez announced his campaign for the Green Party nomination for President today. He is expected to encounter only token opposition at the Green Party nominating convention in July. A likely running mate is Georgia representative Cynthia McKinney, according to Green Party officials.
Pledging an immediate withdrawal of US troops from the Middle East, the Gonzalez-McKinney ticket is expected to galvanize anti war activists displeased with the current field of candidates all of whom are on record as having supported President Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. Congressional support of subsequent incursions into Syria and airstrikes on major Iranian cities have led to numerous, increasingly disruptive demonstrations across the nation.
Unlike previous Green Party candidates, Gonzalez brings to the table substantial experience in governance. A big city mayor and public interest lawyer, Gonzalez’s resume is equivalent to that of his likely Republican opponent, though largely untainted by the plague of scandal that has been a conspicuous feature of the Giuliani campaign since its outset.
The multi-ethnic ticket is also expected to attract the support of Latino voters angered by the Democratic frontrunner’s overtures to anti-immigrant groups. A former member of the Congressional Black Caucus, McKinney will be the first member of this body nominated for executive office. She is expected to make the war on drugs, widely viewed as catastrophic for African American communities, a centerpiece of the campaign and has pledged to make voter registration among traditionally disenfranchised groups a major focus.
The Green Party ticket’s endorsement of single payer, universal health care has attracted the support of large activist organizations developed in the wake of Michael Moore’s Sicko, which last week became the largest grossing film in history. The only other candidate supporting single payer, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has remained mired in the low single digits and has, since September, been excluded from debates sponsored by major news organizations.
Experts noted that while a Gonzalez-McKinney ticket would be a long shot under normal electoral circumstances, the presence of two moderate candidates in a four-way race leaves the field open for a left wing challenge.
While lacking the financial resources of the major party candidates, Green Party officials believe they can compensate for this shortfall through on line donations and an effectively organized volunteer staff. They note that these were sufficient to overcome a candidate lavishly financed by corporations, wealthy donors and the full weight of the Democratic Party machine in 2003.
While some progressives remain skeptical about the prospects for third parties, others have reconsidered their position. “A year ago I was on record as saying ‘It’s not going to happen.’ Now I’m not so sure,” said one who insisted on anonymity.