Outreach and Exploratory Candidate questionnaire for the 2016 GPUS presidential nomination
Submitted by Darryl Cherney on 11/27/2015 to the the GPUS Presidential Campaign Support Committee
1. Are you interested in seeking the Green Party 2016 presidential nomination? Are you considering seeking the nomination, but have not yet made up your mind? What factors are you taking into consideration?
Yes, I am seeking the Green Party nomination for President.
2. What do you believe the goals should be of the 2016 GPUS presidential campaign? If you were the GPUS presidential nominees, how would your campaign work to achieve them? (Will your campaign succeed?)
The primary goal of my campaign, included among the two dozen issues laid out in my platform, is to raise human consciousness and to bring “heart” into the political arena. Hence my campaign slogan is: “The Future is in our Hearts.”
Words lead to action and changes in the way we think. As a direct action activist, I am no stranger to the blockade line, the public hearing, or creating and organizing successful campaigns that have lasted well over a decade (Headwaters Forest and our FBI/Oakland police lawsuit).
It is clear that after 6000 years of recorded political history, we have been destroying our humanity and our planet in short order. Something as simple as the slogan, “The Future is in our Hearts” has the potential to raise eyebrows and draw attention, including media attention.
When an underdog runs, one of the goals is to change the discussion. Everyone from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump has been able to greatly affect the way their opposition candidates speak and even re-arrange their platforms. Part of my goal, whether I win or lose the nomination, is to sharpen Jill Stein’s skills, move her toward a more heart-centered position, and to move her to more attention-grabbing positions. We must get beyond 1/3 of 1% of the vote. My goal, short of winning, is to achieve 5% of the vote. I will do this by identifying untapped constituencies and getting their votes. I want the 9/11 truth seekers vote, the cannabis vote, the Black Lives Matters vote, the chem.-trails vote, and perhaps most important of all—the Harry Potter vote.
I am a public relations expert. You’ll find my name and more importantly, the causes I’ve worked for, in thousands of media platforms (TV, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, and later the web) and three dozen books (word search my name on Amazon), not to mention various documentaries. My and Judi Bari’s lives have even been fictionalized in a novel by T.C. Boyle, A Friend of the Planet. The issues I’ve worked on have made their way into political cartoons and comic strips. These are indications that we are succeeding in changing the way humans think.
I will accomplish this task as I always have: unconventionally through theater, song, comedy, and outrageous actions and ideas.
3. Please list five issue areas that you feel are most important and what would you do about them. (Who are you?)
• Climate change is the most important single “issue” I see facing our planet, as it involves oil companies, banks, and the daily driver, for starters. I would recalibrate the White House by covering it in solar panels, driving (or being driven in) an electric car, and much more. Further, I’ll issue an executive order to do the same to all federal buildings and departments in a timely manner. Leading by example is key. It’s important to remember a President cannot pass legislation, but I am willing to take unilateral action, without multinational treaties, to save our planet.
• Ending the War on People, which includes the war on drugs and taking on the prison industrial complex. I see 2016 as being the year of Black Lives Matter (as it has been in 2015), and this interfaces completely with ending the war on people. In addition to pardons for Leonard Peltier, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning, I’ll issue sweeping federal pardons for all non-violent drug offenders, for starters and review other sentences, en masse. Having the largest prison population in the world constitutes an inherent admission of failure of this country. The way we hire and train police, and then fail to report on the ensuring brutality and murders, has to be grabbed onto by the horns and changed dramatically. Bigotry will be addressed from the bully pulpit, but always in a compassionate way. We need to bring people together and appreciate each other for our differences. Diversity is the key to survival in nature; and we are part of nature.
• Mental health and drug addiction are colossal problems that government is barely addressing at any level. Creating and/or revamping the system to assist these health issues, along with fighting for universal healthcare by bringing Medicare to all is a cornerstone of my campaign. I spent four years as a public official on the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District, a/k/a The Hospital Board.
• The environment is my key issue overall, even if I don’t list it first. Far more than climate change, it involves our depleted ozone layer, pollution of our water and air, mountaintop removal, drought, floods, fracking, oil spills, nuclear waste and bombs, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, deforestation, mass extinction, endless wars and our own imminent annihilation just to warm up. In short we are surrounded.
Humans are part of the environment and we must retool and rebuild our nation, educate our youth and adults, put in place incentives and create emergency programs, just like the ones that come to our rescue in times of natural disasters. We are in the midst of a global unnatural disaster, and the response must be just as critical and rapid.
• I am an eco-feminist as well as a deep ecologist. That means that our disgraceful treatment of the environment is connected to the disgraceful treatment of women. With one half of the species (men) brutalizing and discriminating against the other half (women) we cannot expect to survive. We are living what the Hopi call “Life out of balance.” Women will constitute at minimum half my staff, cabinet and certainly my vice-presidential running partner. This issue is deep and ancient and requires us to re-evaluate the way we see the world. As the leader of a “super-power,” example is the key to asking others to do the same.
4. What parts of the GPUS platform do you feel most closely aligned with? What parts do you disagree with, if any? Are there parts you would improve upon and how? (Who are we?)
The GPUS Platform is probably far too long for anyone to reasonably read. So the first thing I would improve on is to shorten it. That said, my own platform, which I wrote without ever reading the GPUS platform, contains many of the same specifics from broad sweeping issues like protecting our water to micro-specifics like restoring voting rights to felons. In other words, we’re on the same page. I do appreciate that a lengthy document has been produced to get into the specifics.
I am in complete alignment with the Ten Key Values. I am in general agreement with the platform.
4a. The GPUS platform contains specific planks that address how presidential elections are conducted and financed (gpus.nationbuilder.com/democracy#DemPoliticalReform). Do you support or oppose these planks and if you support them, how would you include them in your campaign, if at all?
f. Abolish the Electoral College and provide for the direct national election of the president by Instant Runoff Voting. As a step in that direction, support National Popular Vote legislation which would guarantee the Presidency to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia), which would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).
• I am in complete agreement with this. However I find it a bit of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I would rather be asked about my positions on water, human rights or climate change. The elections system itself is flawed and the planet is being massacred rather quickly. It may be all we can do to keep it together as a nation. I do understand the need to shore up the foundation of our “democracy.” I am uncertain that this proposal, if implemented, would significantly rid us of corruption.
g. Create a new publicly-funded People’s Commission on Presidential Debates, and open its presidential debates to all candidates who appear on at least as many ballots as would represent a majority of the Electoral College and who raise enough funds to otherwise qualify for general election public financing. Any candidate who refuses to participate in such debates would lose general election public financing for their candidacy. Amend federal law to remove the non-profit tax exemption status that allows corporations to fund the existing Commission on Presidential Debates and other such exclusive privately controlled debate entities.
• I certainly agree that the debates should be open to third parties. However, offering public financing and then revoking it because someone doesn’t want to debate is a bit of micro-managing and not necessarily one of the key issues I’d bring before a prospective candidate. What if someone wants to boycott a debate because an abject racist is running and they won’t be on the same stage as this person, or because they see the election is rigged. Election functions are boycotted around the world all the time for various reasons. That clause is broad sweeping and could have unforeseen consequences. However, I can agree with the general principle and spirit as stated above.
h. Amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to change the percentage of the presidential popular vote required for a new party’s candidate to receive first time General Election public funding from 5% in the previous General Election to 1%; and change the percentage of the presidential popular vote required for a new party to receive public presidential convention funding from 5% for its candidate in the previous general election to 1%.
• I agree with this statement.
5. What in your background qualifies you to be a credible presidential candidate? What assets would you bring to your campaign in addition to those already existing within the Green Party? (What do you have to offer?)
• I am attaching my C.V. with this form. You may make it public. I have founded, organized and run long term successful campaigns, am a publicist and creative writer, speak well, sing and write songs, read history, biographies and political literature that contribute to my vision for the world, and connect with people easily.
6. Presidential campaigns are legally independent entities from the political party whose nomination they received. Yet most successful political campaigns meld candidate and party synergistically. If you were the GPUS nominee, how would you envision that working relationship? (How can we work together?)
• I would endorse and offer support for other Green Party candidates, as well as encourage, through leadership, other GP members to run, especially for School Boards. I would fundraise for ballot access, as much as possible. I intend to be an inspiration to get people, especially youth, to register for the Green Party and to run for and hold office.
6a. The Green Party both supports transparency in campaign finances and privacy rights for donors guaranteed under local, state and federal law. Given that according to federal law, it is public information that all donors of $200 or more are listed on each presidential candidate’s campaign finance report, Given that such information can only be legally used for fundraising by a political party, if the list is donated to the party by the candidate as an in-kind donation; and given that candidates may donate such lists to political parties as in-kind contributions, without any limit as per the reported in-kind value of such a list; would you donate your list of all donors of $200 or more to the GPUS after the election, and if you planned on doing so, would you give your donors an opt-in/opt-out option to have their information shared with the Green Party after the donation to your campaign is made?
• Yes and yes. I am, in fact, considering running a campaign deliberately and publicly on a shoestring budget, and using video cameras and youtube, skype, facebook, twitter and other social media avenues to operate the lean Green campaign machine. Let’s not just take the corporate money out of politics, let’s take all the money out of politics! I remain flexible in this matter as I am well aware of the funds needed to gain ballot access and even just to engage in modest traveling and campaigning.
7. Do you believe that an independent party like the Greens can succeed in the US? How would you define such success? How can it happen? (Will we succeed?)
We are an international party whose time has come in this nation. With the two major parties poised to put forth two very weak candidates, the time for the Greens to emerge is now. We need an exciting, even controversial candidate who inspires the young as well as the working class, and people of all persuasions. I have a long-standing track record of building bridges with people who may see themselves on their other “side.” As a musician and a teacher, I am well regarded by youth, being a bit of a “kid” myself. We are all in this together.
Success can be defined by 1) winning the election 2) succeeding in a massive write-in campaign by the Harry Potter generation 3) gaining 5% of the vote or more, if we lose 4) changing the debate and language and aligning with our international Green Party sisters and brothers.
7a. How would you respond as a candidate to the accusations of ‘spoiler’ that are often leveled at Green candidates, especially for president (optional to answer this one)
no answer provided
8. There is some interest within the Green Party of having the party’s nominee run together with a Green Cabinet, that would feature prospective cabinet members and federal agency heads that would serve in your government, should you be elected president. Such an approach could demonstrate what a Green government might be like and would do so during the election, promoting transparency. It could expand the number of people campaigning, with Cabinet members on the road and in the press in addition to the nominees. What do you think of this approach? Who might hold positions in a Green Cabinet? How would you see your candidacy interacting with those individuals during the campaign? (How might we connect the dots?)
I agree with this premise and thought of it on my own before even hearing about it. So yes, I would do that to a degree and in a certain way. However, the promise of jobs in exchange for campaigning can constitute a form of patronage we must be wary of. Given that we’ll have a democratic or republican Congress, I would actually—and this may seem like heresy—ask the existing cabinet to remain on to maintain continuity so that we don’t have a huge number of empty chairs and no way to run the nation, except perhaps through temporary recess appointments. It is also a form of bridge building. I am to be the President of all the people, not just the Greens.
That said, I would of course work hard to get Green minded people into every position a President appoints, from ambassadors to judges to cabinet members. I would be more than happy to offer up specific examples of people I would appoint and ask them to campaign with me. For example, I would like to ask Edward Snowden to become head of the NSA. I am running this campaign as if I am to be the next President of the United States. To this end, my positions are that of the future President and are tempered with the constitutional authorities and limits of Presidential powers.
9. Can we publish your reply on the GPUS website in a public section reserved for such responses?