The Instigator
governments_kill
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
independentprogressive
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Elaine Brown is the best Green Party candidate for President

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/21/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,260 times Debate No: 780
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

governments_kill

Pro

Please only take this debate if you are a member of the Green Party or identify with Green Values. This is intended as a debate about strategy and not about principles. That said, I feel that Elaine Brown is the best candidate for the Green Party, and that her platform (http://wilderside.wordpress.com...) represents the most strategically beneficial approach for the party to take. I chose four rounds, because I plan on writing more, after I understand what type of position my opponent is articulating. I think that a strategy that focuses primarily on currently disenfranchised voters and other traditionally marginalized groups will be the most effective way for the Green Party to effect true progressive change.
independentprogressive

Con

Elaine Brown is a single issue candidate- racial discrimination. I truly believe the Green Party needs a candidate who can answer to ALL issues. Just go to her website, all I see is universal healthcare, repeal of three strikes laws, and racial discrimination. Someone like Cynthia McKinney, or Kent Mesplay would both be great GP presidential nominees. Personally, I think the GP should endorse either Dennis Kucinich (if he gets the Democratic nomination), or Brian Moore of the Socialist Party. The Greens have endorsed Brian Moore in a Senatorial race. I don't see why they can't do so now.
Debate Round No. 1
governments_kill

Pro

If you're alright with it, I'd like to deal with the real world. In other words, Kucinich isn't going to get the Democratic Party's nomination, so that's not even up for discussion for me. And I think we can both agree to that. So that out of the way, we'll deal with candidates who are truly free of the two party system. I'll talk about Moore and Nader and even McKinney later on in my post as I think they represent what is wrong with the traditional focus of Green Candidates.

To begin, Elaine is not a single issue candidate. I'll display the numerical points that she includes in her platform, so that all the observers can make their own decision (a la Fox News).

1. Repeal of the "three-strikes" crime laws, restoring a juvenile justice system, funding programs of education and rehabilitation for those incarcerated and transitional housing and employment for those released, and restoring voting and other civil rights to prisoners and former prisoners.

2. Full and free health care for everyone, as exists in most civilized countries.

3. Complete and free primary, secondary and higher education for everyone, eliminating the exclusion of the children of poor and working families from obtaining a college education.

4. Complete opening of the borders of the United States accompanied by the institution of a guaranteed minimum living wage of $25/hour for all workers, so as to elucidate the so-called immigration question now confounded by racist assaults on Mexicans and Central Americans coming into the U.S. to work and to provide all people working in the United States with a decent standard of living.

5. Creation of a base of free or low-cost, decent housing, so as to eliminate homelessness and provide every human being the fundamental right to a decent place to live.

6. The repeal of all laws that discriminate against or dehumanize people on account of ethnicity, gender, nationality, sexuality, religion, age, or disability, and the creation of laws that guarantee non-discrimination and human rights to all.

7. Institution of laws and policies that promote purification and cleansing of the air, water and land and that outlaw polluting, contaminating or adulterating them, toward reversal of the pollution of nature itself, particularly as this pollution seeps into and devastates the lives of black and brown and other poor people trying to breathe and live in the ghettos, barrios and hollers of this nation.

8. The payment of reparations by the United States government to native peoples for the theft of land and to Gullah/Geechee and other African slave descendants for slave labor.

9. Total dismantling of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction by the United States, and recognition of and adherence to all international agreements as to war, crime and human rights.

10. Imposition of wealth taxes and reduction of taxes for poor and working people, toward a complete and fair redistribution of the wealth of the nation.

Earlier in her platform she gives a shoutout to a progressive foreign policy by saying, "Beyond a call for the immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and war machinery from Iraq and Afghanistan."

She is a multi-issue candidate that frames issues in how they disproportionately affect marginalized groups, be they black and brown folks, or working class folks. This goes with her overall strategy. As she puts it, "The Green Party, too, must seize this moment of national malaise and disillusion to come out of the morass of being a repository for disgruntled Democrats and open the Party's doors to the non-voting millions so as to actively and powerfully challenge the status quo and become an effective force in the national political arena." I have been deeply involved in the Green Party at the State and Local level for the past 2 and a half years. This could not be more true.

My criticism of Moore, Nader, Mesplay, and even McKinney is that they are the same old politics in a new body. All of the above want to push progressive policies but not do the groundwork of expanding the electorate. Brown recognizes that that strategy is ineffective. I see the strategy of what I'll call traditional politics as fundamentally against the 10 key values. It only focuses on targeting active voters within the system. This means that the Green Party ends up targeting Independents and disgruntled Democrats. In other words, we craft our platform to the already privileged folks within the American system. The folks that don't register, don't register because regardless of who wins, there's no difference in their day to day life. When we refocus our efforts on the marginalized peoples, it only brings us strategic benefits as well as keeping us closer to our principles.

The positive elements of focusing on marginalized groups are as follows:
First it keeps us closer to the ten key values and a living breathing vision for social justice. These are the folks that don't have a voice in the current political system. Real voter registration efforts that focus on community issues and build a base keep a door open both ways, between folks that are largely disempowered, to whom the party should be responsible, and the party. This way the party would have more input and could articulate a more clear vision for the society. This can only happen if the party has a commitment first to changing the political landscape and second to winning elections.
Second, it is strategic. Greens have tried for 4 different national elections to pull disgruntled Democrats into voting for their candidate. All they have gotten are charges of being "spoilers." If they refocus their efforts on expanding the voting pool and targeting non-voting groups, and taking up issues that affect communities that are too controversial for mainstream politicians to take, then that charge won't be able to hold water. The reality of the situation is that in the past, the Greens have actually tried to spoil. They want to fight over the 45 percent of the population that votes instead of doing the harder work of mobilizing the non-voting majority of disempowered and marginalized peoples. If they do this admittedly difficult work, they would be a much more powerful organization.

As I had said earlier, I feel that Elaine Brown is the best candidate for the party due to her strategic vision for the party. While the other candidates have platforms that are fine, her focus on disempowered folks and marginalized communities is going to be the first step in a process of changing the Green Party to truly embrace the principle of Grassroots Democracy. Right now, we're playing on astroturf, and that has got to change. For me, Elaine Brown is the way to get there. I've got nothing against Cynthia. Ralph is a little weird on the immigration question, and I don't know enough about Kent or Brian. What I do know, is that they fully intend on playing politics as usual. That is what has got to change, and Elaine is the way to change that.
independentprogressive

Con

I sincerely believe experience is key, especially when running for the highest office in the land. McKinney has stunning congressional records and experience in community leadership like no other, not to mention her piercing and powerful charisma. Brian Moore is also highly experienced in both domestic, humanitarian, and international policy. While Nader would most likely be the best choice I do disagree with him on his weak affirmative action positions and immigration, although he truly is the most experienced of them all (with the name recognition). Yea, Elaine Brown might be an inspiring speaker and activist, but how does that qualify her to be president? Her platform is extremely vague. If she fully explained all her positions on the major issues, I might consider her, but as of now, she is yet to define her positions.
Debate Round No. 2
governments_kill

Pro

This debate almost appears as if we are talking past each other. You have yet to articulate support for why a traditional candidate is a positive thing. The only thing that comes close to that support would be this argument of experience so I will answer that below. Seeing as how you are now supporting the endorsement of Moore, that makes the issue even more complicated, but I will not bring up third party sectarianism.

I want to reiterate here my argument about Elaine Brown's alternate approach to a Green Party election. I feel that her approach (which no other candidates even have on the table) will expand the electorate for the Green Party, in addition to giving her a guarunteed base of support, because she is the only candidate who is specifically designing her campaign toward marginalized folks. This creates both short term gains (might get the 5%) as well as long term gains (where it could potentially create long term stable party building success).

That said, your argument seems to assume that a Green Party Candidate is a real and viable candidate. While I would never argue against voting third parties, I understand that many folks don't consider them. Given this reality, the "experience" factor doesn't appear to be very important. While that is a very, very, very important issue to the currently voting population, who is more experienced than Ralph Nader, who drew about 3 percent nationally in 2000. Experience is something to possibly consider when the GP has the luxury to think about that. Right now, it needs to think about how to most effectively make itself a true political force, and in a land where money dominates the majority of politics it needs to go Grassroots. Moore does not appear to have the commitment to run a truly grassroots campaign. From my experience with Socialist organizations, they tend to be very centralized and non-mobile. The GP (and larger progressive movement) needs the exact opposite in terms of electoral campaigns. The campaign needs to be run through the roots while the candidate simply gives aid and direction. This is the exact opposite approach of traditional socialist organizations as well as traditional campaigns. The GP needs to understand that it's not going to raise a ton of money to support a candidate. You need to have committed volunteers that are going to do the groundwork of building a base and candidate support. Moore's not going to be able to do this, but Brown will be. I am currently not deluded into thinking that Brown has a shot in the general election. It unfortunately sounds like you think that Moore's got a shot. I would never tell people not to vote for Moore, (if of course he's the only alternative candidate) but that doesn't mean he has a shot. The Green Party and other progressive third parties need to stop being parties for Democrats that don't like the direction of the party. It's not an electoral party. It's a movement party, and it needs to understand that. We need to evaluate our candidates in terms of how they can build an independent electoral movement, not in terms that the currently ruling classes use to evaluate their candidates. In other words, I don't want people having experience in terms of how to better marginalize folks (not accusing Cynthia of this I have nothing but respect for her). I want people having the knowledge and capacity to build a movement that can challenge the Republicrats in 2-4-6-8-10 years and finally start building power and effecting change. That can only happen with effective base building, and Brown is the only candidate who is talking about that.
independentprogressive

Con

I just don't see how you believe Elaine Browne will bring more support to the Green Party. She really doesn't have the broad appeal, nor the name recognition McKinney does. I hate generalizing groups of people, but I really think McKinney could mobilize the black vote, even more so than Brown. McKinney was highly popular among her black constituency AND has been a long time supporter of reparations of slavery.

Just look at McKinney's congressional record:
-Voted AGAINST the 2003 Invasion of Iraq
-Introduced Articles of Impeachment for George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice
-Introduced, championed, and passed in the U.S. House the Arms Trade Code of Conduct, prohibiting the sale of arms to known human rights abusers
-Challenged Pentagon Secretary Rumsfeld and Chairman Myers of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the $2.3 trillion missing Pentagon money and on U.S.-sponsored war games taking place on September 11, 2001

McKinney was a spectacular congresswoman who wasn't afraid to stand up. As a democratic congresswoman, she basically started a huge grassroots movement behind the impeachment of members of the executive office.

McKinney is popular among Democrats, Greens, and Independents. She truly has the power to mobilize progressive, moderate, and truth-seeking independent Americans.
Debate Round No. 3
governments_kill

Pro

Our arguments have unfortunately continued talking past each other. I have repeatedly conceded that in traditional campaigning Cynthia McKinney is a far superior candidate. I don't disagree with McKinney on a single issue. This debate was framed as a discussion about the strategic viability of Brown's approach vs. all the other candidate's approaches. McKinney has always run traditional campaigns, which makes sense for her in that circumstance, but the GP nationally need a refocusing and a new strategy. Brown, in my opinion, is the way to do this. This was supposed to be a debate about the strategic benefits of Brown's strategy. I feel that her strategy is the best short term and long term strategy for the party.
independentprogressive

Con

I still don't see why Brown is the best. She is not the only candidate that is able to appeal to the oppressed. McKinney could do that just as well. I agree the GP must get the votes of marginalized peoples, but I don't believe Elaine Brown is the one to do so. As I stated earlier, McKinney has the name recognition and experience needed for a presidential candidate, green or not, experience and name recognition are necessary qualities in a presidential candidate. I see McKinney as a candidate who can get the votes of progressive democrats, greens, reforms, and socialists as well as the peace and freedom party, in fact, she is already on the Peace and Freedom ballot in California.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by schoolglutton 9 years ago
schoolglutton
Progressive, being a McKinney fan you may enjoy the documentary American Blackout. http://www.americanblackout.org...
Posted by independentprogressive 9 years ago
independentprogressive
McKinney is really the best GP candidate, but I just happen to be more politically aligned with Moore.
Posted by governments_kill 9 years ago
governments_kill
By the way, I just thought it was cool that we don't have a single point of disagreement.
Posted by independentprogressive 9 years ago
independentprogressive
well, I am currently supporting Dennis Kucinich, but I guess I will just debate for the GP endorsing Brian Moore.
Posted by governments_kill 9 years ago
governments_kill
If it's alright, could you stick to one candidate? I understand that you simply have to negate, but I think the debate would be better and more developed if we both articulate who we think the best candidate is becuase we could get significantly more in depth on what constitutes the best candidate.
Posted by independentprogressive 9 years ago
independentprogressive
I sincerely believe experience is key, especially when running for the highest office in the land. McKinney has stunning congressional records and experience in community leadership like no other, not to mention her piercing and powerful charisma. Brian Moore is also highly experienced in both domestic, humanitarian, and international policy. While Nader would most likely be the best choice I do disagree with him on his weak affirmative action positions and immigration, although he truly is the most experienced of them all (with the name recognition). Yea, Elaine Brown might be an inspiring speaker and activist, but how does that qualify her to be president? Her platform is extremely vague. If she fully explained all her positions on the major issues, I might consider her, but as of now, she is yet to define her positions.
Posted by schoolglutton 9 years ago
schoolglutton
I was just about to mention Cynthia McKinney. My heart is always with Nader, of course, even though he ran as an independent last time. You really seem to know your stuff, progressive. You're way ahead of the game. Keep it up.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Chob 9 years ago
Chob
governments_killindependentprogressiveTied
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Vote Placed by TheMasterBrask 9 years ago
TheMasterBrask
governments_killindependentprogressiveTied
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Vote Placed by governments_kill 9 years ago
governments_kill
governments_killindependentprogressiveTied
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