From Richard Winger at Ballot Access News:
The Portland Press Herald has this comprehensive story about the Green Party in Portland, Maine. Oddly, however, it doesn’t mention that in November 2016, Maine voters will be voting on an initiative to use instant runoff voting for all state and federal office (except President).
From the article cited, written by Randy Billings:
The Portland branch of the Maine Green Independent Party was riding a wave of momentum heading into the 2015 elections, having reclaimed three seats on the School Board and playing a role in the passage of two citywide referendums – one in support of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in 2013, and another reversing the sale of Congress Square Plaza to developers and adding protections to other city parks in 2014.
This year, members set their sights on a referendum to establish a citywide minimum wage of $15 an hour – twice the state minimum and well above the $10.10 minimum approved by the City Council. The party’s mayoral candidate, Tom MacMillan, made the wage fight central to his campaign.
Instead of resulting in more victories, however, the Nov. 3 election proved to be a disappointing capstone to a divisive year for the Greens. Only one of the party’s six candidates on the 2015 municipal ballot was elected, and that was in an uncontested race. MacMillan placed a distant third in the voting for mayor. And the party’s signature initiative – the citizens referendum to raise the minimum wage – also was rejected at the polls.
Meanwhile, infighting ahead of the electoral losses – with members questioning one another’s loyalty to the party’s ideals and principles – made its way into the public through blog posts and social media.
Now that the votes have been counted, the party remains divided about whether it should embrace its outsider, activist status by focusing on campaigns and referendum efforts on philosophic issues, even if they have little chance of passing, or whether it should be more practical and focus on winning seats on elected boards, where members can work from the inside to implement its policy goals.
In short, it’s a battle for the soul of the Green Party.