Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Green Party Wants to Blackmail the Democrats

Some people may be wondering why former Harvard professor Cornel West is running for the Green Party presidential nomination. Doesn't he realize that his run may result in Donald Trump, whom he hates with a passion, being elected president? Actually, he knows that very well and it is a feature, not a bug. West and everyone else running the Green Party know they have zero chance at winning a single electoral vote, let alone 270 of them. That isn't the point or the goal. The goal is essentially to blackmail the Democrats. If they don't adopt the Green Party's views on climate change, social justice, and other issues, the Greens will run West, and the Democrats' chances will go south, giving them the blues. Translated into Mafia-speak this is: "Nice candidate you got there. It would be a pity if he lost."

The Green party has about 200,000 registered members and 133 of them hold public office, mostly at the local level, like city council members. The reason West is seeking the Green Party nomination is that it is on the ballot in 17 states and D.C. and fighting for access in many more. Here is a map showing where it is on the ballot so far:

Map showing where Green Party is on the ballot

Most states don't matter. If the Green Party gets even 5% of the vote in California, it won't flip the state. But it is on the ballot in Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina, where siphoning off even 2% from Biden could result in a Trump victory. This puts the Democrats in a bind. If they move to the left, then they can neutralize the Green Party, but lose votes to No Labels if it gets on the ballot in many states. If they move to the center, they may neutralize No Labels but lose more votes to the Green Party. Joe Biden has been around the track a couple of times so he understands the problem, but he also knows there is no easy solution (other than to try to block both No Labels and the Green Party from getting on the ballot in as many states as possible).

In principle, the Republicans have the same problem. They could bleed votes to the Libertarian Party on the right and to No Labels on their left. Here is the ballot access map for the LP:

Map showing where Libertarian Party is on the ballot

But the situation is not symmetric. Many Trump supporters would walk over broken glass barefoot to vote for Trump. They won't defect. Biden's supporters like him and think he is a decent person, but some will be lured by the Green Party's siren song. Unless somebody lashes them to the mast, they could give in. Also, the Libertarian Party is not really trying to blackmail the Republicans. They have their principles, stand up for them, and let the chips fall where they may. Both maps are in flux as both parties are trying for a 50-state strategy. Again, it is ballot access in swing states that matters, not in solid states. (V)

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