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Green Party Candidate - 2002-10-24

On November 5th, Americans will go to the polls to vote for representatives to the U.S. House and Senate. While most of the focus has been on whether Democrats or Republicans will control congress, other smaller political parties are also active. One of those parties may be familiar to some of you. It’s called the ‘Green Party’, which is active in many countries.

VOA-TV’s Tim Wardner went on the campaign trail with a Green Party candidate.

NATURAL SOUND (Speaker introduces)
“The hardest working man in show business, we’re talking about Adam Eidenger.”

Adam Eidinger is the Green Party candidate for Shadow Representative in Washington D.C., which is a symbolic office the city has established in hope of gaining representation in the U.S. Congress.

NATURAL SOUND (Adam Eidinger speaking)

At a Green Party fundraiser to rally the faithful, Adam looks the part of a conventional political candidate.

NATURAL SOUND (Adam Eidinger speaking)

When we first met Adam two years ago he was involved in a more informal and confrontational style of politics as an activist leader in the demonstrations against the World Bank in Washington D.C.

NATURAL SOUND (Adam Eidinger speaking)

“Ain’t no power like the power of the people because the power of the people won’t stop.”

Adam grew up in a working class family and got active in politics during his college years. And like a growing number of youth around the world, he found the Green Party expressed his concerns about the environment, corporate power and social justice issues. Now, at age 29, he is taking his first steps into elective politics.

“I don’t want to live the rest of my life as a second class citizen, so I decided I had to run for office.”

The Green Party is drawing talented liberal activists, like Adam, in many countries. Globalization now includes political parties. In the U.S., the focal point of the Green movement for the past several years, as far as the public is concerned, has been long time consumer crusader and social activist Ralph Nader.

“There are Green Parties now in over 60 countries around the world. And they are all independent and rooted in their nations, of course, but they share many common platforms and agendas. So in that sense they further a global movement for democracy and its various manifestations to protect peoples’ health, safety and environment.”

Although the Green Party is still relatively small in the U.S., political science Professor Paul Brewer points to a trend that the two main political parties are losing ground.

“Americans are turning away from the two major parties. Fewer and fewer Americans say they are Republicans or say they are Democrats, more say they are Independents.”

This dissatisfaction with the established political parties is thought help the Green Party and attracts committed activists like Adam.

“I’m a member of the Green Party since 1996 mainly because I am a disaffected Democrat. I was part of the Democratic Party, was raised in a Democratic household. I gave up on the Democratic Party in 1996 because I saw it as the party of big business, same as the Republicans really.”

Adam’s disillusionment with traditional politics…

NATURAL SOUND (Adam Eidinger speaking)

…is not shared by most voters in Washington D.C. The city is majority African-American with an overwhelming allegiance to the Democratic Party.

“If I’m elected I’m going to organize a citywide holiday to strike in DC for our statehood, our voting rights in Congress.”

Granting statehood to the nation’s capital is one common issue for both the Green Party and black voters in Washington D.C.

NATURAL SOUND (Adam Eidinger speaking)

Still, the Green Party’s appeal is to a relatively small group of voters.

“My impression of the typical profile of the Green Party person is: relatively young, relatively well educated, probably white, and probably living either in a college town or major urban area.”

“Our strategy is more to promote the party right now. We are still in the building phase. We want people to join our party.”

So while the politically active like Maya O’Conner are going Green...

“The Green Party has values that I believe in.”

...other less politically active citizens may find…

NATURAL SOUND (Adam Eidinger speaking)

…the Green’s message of global environmental damage and corporate corruption somewhat abstract. The Green Party also lacks the major parties resources for getting publicity.

“I’ve only raised about $3,500 for my campaign. Most of that money is going towards posters.”

The Green Party has yet to elect major officeholders in the U.S., but that could change over time.

“So far this hasn’t had a huge impact on mainstream politics, mainstream elections. But it could be the beginning of a wave.”

NATURAL SOUND (Children cheering)

On this Saturday afternoon candidate Adam Eidinger is one Green Party member trying to get inside the political power structure by…

NATURAL SOUND (Adam Eidinger speaking)

…selling himself to voters in the Brookland section of Washington DC.

“Our message is getting out there.”