Cynthia McKinney Greens Up Ruta Maya
Green Party presidential hopeful visits Austin for fundraiser
While Austin is traditionally friendly to Green Party values, that may make it harder for candidates to make gains against incumbents. "There's a lot of complacency in the progressive community," said Scott Trimble, who hopes to challenge Lloyd Doggett for his U.S. House seat. "They think, 'We've already got progressives in office and on City Council' – but they're making a lot of decisions that are pro-business. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but when it's business interests over people's interests, it's not progressive."
McKinney argues that Greens have the opportunity not simply to split votes from the Democrats but to appeal to discontented moderate Republicans, not to reach across the aisle but to be the aisle. Travis Co. Precinct 3 commissioner candidate David Griffin, an Austin public-access TV producer, sees this broad church approach as fulfilling a necessity. "After seeing politics like I have firsthand, I'd prefer to work as an independent," Griffin said, "but it doesn't really work without a party behind you, even if it's a third party to break the logjam and shake things up."
McKinney says she's optimistic about finding candidates for national, state, and local races and is sanguine about the potential difficulty of being a third-party president governing in a two-party system. "Congress has ceded a lot of its power to the executive branch," she noted wryly.