Geov Parrish has a piece in the current issue of the Seattle Weekly on Green Party senate candidate Aaron Dixon, and while I disagree with Geov’s broad condemnation of Sen. Maria Cantwell’s voting record, I know from our conversations that we share a lot of common ground… like our mutual criticism of the Greens’ failure to do the hard work necessary to build itself into a real party.
For example, if I were advising Dixon, I think maybe my first recommendation would be to, gee… I dunno… register to vote?
Yeah, that’s right… apparently the man so disgusted with Cantwell and the Dems that he’s willing to pour his energies into giving voters a third choice, isn’t even an active voter himself!
Go look it up in our good friend Stefan’s voter registration database, and you’ll find an Aaron L. Dixon, born Jan. 2, 1949, who registered to vote in 1998 at an address on the 500 block of 29th AVE S. But he’s listed as “inactive,” and there’s no record that he’s ever been credited with voting.
I suppose Stefan’s data could be wrong (it’s been known to happen) so I’ve made repeated inquiries with Dixon’s media contact (his wife Farah), and so far she has been unable to confirm or deny his voter registration status. She said she thought he voted in the last election, but King County’s voter database clearly doesn’t credit him with casting a ballot. And to further cloud his registration status is the fact that while he claims to live in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, the address on his inactive registration is smack dab in the Central District.
Perhaps there’s a reasonable explanation, and if so, I’ll print a retraction. (And if there is an explanation, then they need to get their media shit together, because I gave them every opportunity to refute this.) But it sure doesn’t look like during the past few years, Dixon has been much of an active voter.
So why the hell is he running for the US Senate?
Now I don’t want to get all high and mighty on him, but in my book, you don’t have much right to criticize the electoral process if you don’t participate. And if anybody should understand the importance of minority communities exercising their voting rights, it’s a longtime activist and former Black Panther Party leader like Aaron Dixon.
I mean, really… who the hell is Dixon to talk about “all the people fed up with the current political system” if he doesn’t vote?
One couldn’t help but wonder if the Greens’ recruitment of Dixon was demographically cynical considering his prior lack of history with the party, but an active voter registration is a technical prerequisite of candidacy, so you’d think they would have at least inquired about that one, basic qualification for office, huh? And it doesn’t say much about their GOTV potential when they can’t even get the top of their ticket to reliably turn out at the polls.
I personally sympathize with the Green agenda, but am endlessly disappointed by their half-assed and counterproductive strategy and execution. And as Geov points out, I’m not the only one giving a hostile welcome to Dixon’s largely fictional candidacy:
So far, the reaction to Dixon’s campaign among many progressive Democratic activists has been negative. In Seattle, Dixon’s home base, progressive bloggers mostly ignored or excoriated his campaign. Not one speaker on a panel of six of the most prominent local progressive bloggers, including myself, at last week’s “Podcasting Liberally” (www.podcastingliberally.com) defended Dixon’s campaign. Most, while professing sympathy for green ideals, savaged it and the Greens. What’s wrong?
“Aaron Dixon started out the campaign with two lies,” says David Goldstein of HorsesAss.org, Seattle’s best-known progressive blogger and a fierce critic of Dixon. “The first one being, ‘I can win’; the second one being, ‘There’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats.'”
Though in all fairness, I suppose when it comes to the vote you don’t cast, there really is no difference between which party doesn’t get it.
The other day I pleaded with my fellow progressives to get real and accept the fact that our choice this November is between Cantwell and McGavick, and that sometimes, life forces us to compromise. I don’t expect the race to be nearly as close as it was in 2000, but if it is, even a pathetic showing by Dixon could be enough to give President Bush another rubber stamp in the Senate. And the political ramifications could be much broader.
Goldstein also points not only to the infamous “spoiler” factor but to the impact of Dixon’s presence on the ballot if the race between Cantwell and Republican challenger Mike McGavick changes from a comfortable Democratic win to a closer race of, say, 5 percent.
The loser, Goldstein says, will be Darcy Burner, whose challenge of U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert in the 8th Congressional District east of Lake Washington is the state’s second-biggest race this year. If Cantwell’s race is close, the theory goes, it costs Burner both campaign money and media exposure that will flow to the Senate race instead. That, Goldstein says, would hurt the chance to elect a progressive to Congress in a winnable race, all for Dixon’s quixotic bid.
Of course, Dixon disagrees… but then, what does he know about electoral politics? He doesn’t even vote.