Lansing State Journal
Green Party a thorn in side of Democrats
November 28, 2002
Democrats have come up with an acronym for the Green
Get Republicans Elected Every November.
Were it not for
the Greens, Democrats believe, Al Gore would be president, Dianne
Byrum would be in Congress and state Sen. Gary Peters would be
preparing to take over as attorney general.
On Monday, the Board of
State Canvassers certified Republican Mike Cox's 5,200-vote win over
Peters in one of the closest races in state history. More than 3
million votes were cast.
Green Party candidate Jerry Kaufman
garnered 47,894 votes. Democrats have little doubt the vast majority
of those votes would have gone to Peters had Kaufman not been in the
The Greens have been a thorn in the side of Democrats, to say
In the 2000 election, the thousands of votes cast for
Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader in Florida and New
Hampshire were considerably more than the margin of victory for
George W. Bush over Gore.
Had Gore carried either of those states,
he would never have grown a beard.
In the 8th District
congressional race that year, Republican Mike Rogers defeated Byrum
by just 111 votes.
Green Party candidate Bonnie Bucqueroux tallied
3,467 votes - about 1 percent of the vote, but 30 times the margin
Of course, third parties are born out of frustration
that neither of the major parties is addressing issues important to
Arguably, Democrats have no one to blame but
themselves if voters desert them for the Greens.
aren't the only party affected by minor parties.
Most of the 27,186
voters who supported U.S. Taxpayers candidate Gerald Van Sickle for
attorney general probably would have otherwise voted for Cox.
Michigan Green Party advocates a change to "instant runoff voting,"
in which voters rank their preferences for an office rather than
just pick one candidate.
If no candidate has a majority, the
candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and his or her votes
go to the voters' second choice.
With that system, a voter who
wanted to support Kaufman for attorney general but preferred Peters
over Cox could have ranked them in that order.
San Francisco voters
approved such a measure last March.
A similar change is unlikely to
happen in Michigan any time soon - and certainly not while
Republicans control the Legislature.
The existing system is working
just fine for them.