Don’t call it a comeback


By Steven T. Jones

The defensive reaction of some (but not all – some have welcomed this public discussion) Greens to my story this week on the party’s declining fortunes in San Francisco seems to underscore a key reason for the fall: many Greens would rather hurl insults or adopt self-righteous postures than engage in critical self-examination or do the hard work of progressive organizing.

Researching my story, I was amazed to learn that nearly one San Francisco voter in three declines to identify with any political party. That represents a significant opportunity if progressive political parties and entities can figure out how to organize these independent voters and address their issues. It might even create pressure on President Obama to reengage with the left.

Yet the Green Party numbers have dropped just as the DTS ranks have risen. And in the comments section after my story, Greens try to simply deny that reality (falsely claiming a comeback has already begun), question my motives, and write-off the newsworthiness of this story (despite the fact that the Wall Street Journal today published a very similar story to mine).

But I’m more heartened by some of the thoughtful comments about my story, creating an interesting conversation about the relevance of third parties, the mechanisms of power, and the pitfalls of following charismatic leaders. That’s the kind of productive discussion that I hoped my article would create, and I hope that it continues.