Green Party of the United States

Last updated

Green Party of the United States
Governing body Green National Committee
FoundedApril 2001;18 years ago (2001-04)
Split from Greens/Green Party USA
Preceded by Citizens Party
Association of State Green Parties
Headquarters6411 Orchard Avenue, Suite 101, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
NewspaperGreen Pages
Youth wing Young Ecosocialists
Women's wingNational Women's Caucus
LGBT wingLavender Greens
Latinx wingLatinx Caucus
Black wingBlack Caucus
Membership~250,000 [1]
Ideology Anti-capitalism [2]
Eco-socialism [3]
Green politics [4]
Political position Left-wing [5] [6]
International affiliation Global Greens
Continental affiliation Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas
Colors     Green
Seats in the Senate
0 / 100
Seats in the House
0 / 435
0 / 50
State Upper House Seats
0 / 1,972
State Lower House Seats
0 / 5,411
Territorial Governorships
0 / 6
Territorial Upper Chamber Seats
0 / 97
Territorial Lower Chamber Seats
0 / 91
Other elected offices140 (March 2019) [7]

The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) is a green federation of political parties in the United States. [8] The party promotes green politics, specifically environmentalism; nonviolence; social justice; participatory, grassroots democracy; gender equality; LGBT rights; anti-war and anti-racism. On the political spectrum, the party is generally seen as left-wing. [2]

Green party type of political party

A Green party is a formally organized political party based on the principles of green politics, such as social justice, environmentalism and nonviolence.

Political parties in the United States

Political parties in the United States are mostly dominated by a two-party system consisting of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The United States Constitution has always been silent on the issue of political parties, since at the time it was signed in 1787 there were no parties in the nation.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.


The GPUS was founded in 2001 as the evolution of the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP), which was formed in 1996. [9] After its founding, the GPUS soon became the primary national green organization in the country, eclipsing the Greens/Green Party USA (G/GPUSA), which formed in 1991 out of the Green Committees of Correspondence (CoC), a collection of local green groups active since 1984. [10] The ASGP had increasingly distanced itself from the G/GPUSA in the late 1990s. [11]

The Association of State Green Parties was an organization of state Green Parties in the United States between 1996 and 2001. In 2001, it evolved into the Green Party of the United States.

The Greens/Green Party USA (G/GPUSA) formed out of the Green Committees of Correspondence in 1990 and was recognized as a national political party by the FEC from 1991 to 2005. It is based in Chicago. Synthesis/Regeneration, an affiliated journal of green social thought, is published in St. Louis. The now predominant Green Party of the United States split from the G/GPUSA in 2001.

The Greens gained widespread public attention during the 2000 presidential election, when the ticket composed of Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke won 2.7% of the popular vote. Nader was vilified by many Democrats and even some Greens, who accused him of spoiling the election for Al Gore, the Democratic candidate. [12] Nader maintains that he was not a spoiler in the 2000 election. [13]

Ralph Nader American consumer rights activist and corporate critic

Ralph Nader is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney, noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism and government reform causes. The son of Lebanese immigrants to the United States, Nader was educated at Princeton and Harvard and first came to prominence in 1965 with the publication of the bestselling book Unsafe at Any Speed, a critique of the safety record of American automobile manufacturers that became known as one of the most important journalistic pieces of the 20th century. Following the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, Nader led a group of volunteer law students—dubbed "Nader's Raiders"—in a groundbreaking investigation of the Federal Trade Commission, leading directly to that agency's overhaul and reform. In the 1970s, Nader leveraged his growing popularity to establish a number of advocacy and watchdog groups including the Public Interest Research Group, the Center for Auto Safety, and Public Citizen.

Winona LaDuke author and activist

Winona LaDuke is an American environmentalist, economist, and writer, known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation, as well as sustainable development. In a December 2018 interview she also described herself as an industrial hemp grower.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.


Early years

The political movement that began in 1985 as the decentralized Committees of Correspondence [14] evolved into a more centralized structure by 1990, opening a national clearinghouse and forming governing bodies, bylaws and a platform as the Green Committees of Correspondence (GCoC) and by 1990 simply The Greens. The organization conducted grassroots organizing efforts, educational activities and electoral campaigns.

Internal divisions arose between members who saw electoral politics as ultimately corrupting and supported the notion of an "anti-party party" formed by Petra Kelly and other leaders of the Greens in Germany [15] vs. those who saw electoral strategies as a crucial engine of social change. A struggle for the direction of the organization culminated a "compromise agreement", ratified in 1990 at the Greens National Congress in Elkins, West Virginia and in which both strategies would be accommodated within the same 527 political organization renamed the Greens/Green Party USA (G/GPUSA). It was recognized by the FEC as a national political party in 1991.

Petra Kelly German politician and activist

Petra Karin Kelly was a German Green politician and ecofeminist activist. She was a founding member of the German Green Party, the first Green party to rise to prominence both nationally in Germany and worldwide.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Elkins, West Virginia City in West Virginia, United States

Elkins is a city in and the county seat of Randolph County, West Virginia, United States. The community was incorporated in 1890 and named in honor of Stephen Benton Elkins, a U.S. Senator from West Virginia. The population was 7,094 at the 2010 census. Elkins is home to Davis and Elkins College and to the Mountain State Forest Festival, held in early October every year.

The compromise agreement subsequently collapsed and two Green party organizations have co-existed in the United States since. The Green Politics Network was organized in 1990 and the National Association of Statewide Green Parties formed by 1994. Divisions between those pressing to break onto the national political stage and those aiming to grow roots at the local level continued to widen during the 1990s. The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) encouraged and backed Nader's presidential runs in 1996 and 2000. By 2001, the push to separate electoral activity from the G/GPUSA issue-based organizing led to the Boston Proposal and subsequent rise of the Green Party of the United States. The G/GPUSA lost most of its affiliates in the following months and dropped its FEC national party status in 2005.

In 2016, Mark Salazar set a new record for a Green Party nominee for Congress. Running in the Arizona 8th district against incumbent Republican Congressman Trent Franks, Salazar received 93,954 votes or 31.43%. [16]


Part of a series on
Green politics
Sunflower (Green symbol).svg

The GPUS follows the ideals of green politics, which are based on the Four Pillars, namely ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy and nonviolence. [17]

The Ten Key Values, which expand upon the Four Pillars, are as follows: [18]

  1. Grassroots democracy
  2. Social justice and equal opportunity
  3. Ecological wisdom
  4. Nonviolence
  5. Decentralization
  6. Community-based economics
  7. Feminism and gender equality
  8. Respect for diversity
  9. Personal and global responsibility
  10. Future focus and sustainability

Peter Camejo was quoted in 2002 as claiming that he was a watermelon—green on the outside, but red on the inside. [19] In January 2004, he initiated the Avocado Declaration, which compares Greens to avocados. "An avocado is Green on the outside and Green on the inside". [20] The Declaration goes on to explain that Greens have a vital role in bringing democracy to the otherwise undemocratic two party system of the United States; that the Greens have a unique and independent identity as a third party, which cannot be subsumed into the Republican or Democratic parties; and that they cannot be dismissed by Republican or Democratic critics by implying that they are merely socialists or communists.

The Green Party does not accept donations from corporations, political action committees (PACs), 527(c) organizations or soft money. The party's platforms and rhetoric harshly criticize corporate influence and control over government, media and society at large. [21]

Political positions

Economic issues


The party supports the implementation of a single-payer healthcare system. They have also called for contraception and abortion procedures to be available on demand. [22]


The Green Party calls for providing tuition-free college at public universities and vocational schools, increasing funding for after-school and daycare programs, cancelling all student loan debt, and repealing the No Child Left Behind Act. They are strongly against the dissolution of public schools and the privatization of education. [23]

Green New Deal

In 2006 the Green Party developed a Green New Deal (unrelated to the Democratic version created by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) that would serve as a transitional plan to an one hundred percent clean, renewable energy by 2030 utilizing a carbon tax, jobs guarantee, tuition-free college, single-payer healthcare and a focus on using public programs. [24] [25] [26]

Social issues

Criminal justice

The party favors the abolition of the death penalty, repeal of three-strikes laws, banning of private prisons, legalization of marijuana, and decriminalization of other drugs. [27]

Racial justice

The Green Party advocates for "complete and full" reparations to the African American community, as well the removal of the Confederate flag from all government buildings. [28]

LGBT+ rights

The party supports same-sex marriage, the right of access to medical and surgical treatment for sex reassignment, and withdrawing foreign aid to countries with poor LGBT+ rights records. [28]

Foreign policy

The Green Party calls on the United States to join the International Criminal Court, and sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and Non-Proliferation Treaty. Additionally, it supports cutting the defense budget in half as well as prohibiting all arms sales to foreign countries. [29]


Greens support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. [30]


The Green Party advocates for the right of return, cutting all U.S. aid to Israel, and a one-state solution. It has also expressed support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. [31]

Structure and composition


The Green Party has two national committees recognized by the Federal Election Commission (FEC):

Green National Committee

The GNC is composed of delegates elected by affiliated state parties. The state parties also appoint delegates to serve on the various standing committees of the GNC. The National Committee elects a steering committee of seven co-chairs, a secretary and a treasurer to oversee daily operations. The National Committee performs most of its business online, but it also holds an annual national meeting to conduct business in person.


Five Identity Caucuses have achieved representation on the GNC:

Other caucuses have worked toward formal recognition by the GNC:

Geographic distribution

The Green Party has its strongest popular support on the Pacific Coast, Upper Great Lakes, and Northeast, as reflected in the geographical distribution of Green candidates elected. [42] As of June 2007, Californians have elected 55 of the 226 office-holding Greens nationwide. Other states with high numbers of Green elected officials include Pennsylvania (31), Wisconsin (23), Massachusetts (18) and Maine (17). Maine has the highest per capita number of Green elected officials in the country and the largest Green registration percentage with more than 29,273 Greens comprising 2.95% of the electorate as of November 2006. [43] Madison, Wisconsin is the city with the most Green elected officials (8), followed by Portland, Maine (7).

The 2016 presidential campaign of Jill Stein got substantive support from counties and precincts with a high percentage of Native American population. For instance, in Sioux County (North Dakota, 84,1% Native American), Stein gained her best county-wide result: 10.4% of the votes. In Rolette County (also North Dakota, 77% Native American), she got 4.7% of the votes. Other majority Native American counties where Stein did above state average are Menominee (WI), Roosevelt (MN) and several precincts in Alaska. [44] [45]

In 2005, the Green Party had 305,000 registered members in states allowing party registration and tens of thousands of members and contributors in the rest of the country. [46] One challenge that the Green Party (as well as other third parties) faces is the difficulty of overcoming ballot access laws in many states.

State and District of Columbia parties

The following is a list of accredited state parties which comprise the Green Party of the United States. [47]

In addition, the Green Party has a chapter in the United States Virgin Islands. [48] The Green Party does not currently have active state chapters in The Dakotas, or Vermont.

Office holders

Musician Jello Biafra ran for several offices with the Green Party, including for President in 2000 Jello Biafra at Fusion Festival 2010.jpg
Musician Jello Biafra ran for several offices with the Green Party, including for President in 2000
Malik Rahim, former Black Panther Party activist, ran for Congress in 2008 with the Green Party Malik rahim (cropped).JPG
Malik Rahim, former Black Panther Party activist, ran for Congress in 2008 with the Green Party
Psychiatrist Joel Kovel ran for the Green Party's presidential nomination in 2000 NLN Joel Kovel.jpg
Psychiatrist Joel Kovel ran for the Green Party's presidential nomination in 2000
2012 and 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein Jill Stein (25740592525).jpg
2012 and 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein

As of October 2016, 143 officeholders in the United States were affiliated with the Green Party, the majority of them in California, several in Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, with five or fewer in ten other states. [49] These included one mayor and one deputy mayor and fourteen county or city commissioners (or equivalent). The remainder were members of school boards, clerks and other local administrative bodies and positions. [49]

Several Green Party members have been elected to state-level office, though not always as affiliates of the party. John Eder was elected to the Maine House of Representatives, re-elected in 2004, but defeated in 2006. Audie Bock was elected to the California State Assembly in 1999, but switched her registration to independent seven months later [50] running as such in the 2000 election. [51] Richard Carroll was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2008, but switched parties to become a Democrat five months after his election. [52] Fred Smith was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2012, [53] but re-registered as a Democrat in 2014. [54] In 2010, former Green Party leader Ben Chipman was elected to the Maine House of Representatives as an unenrolled candidate and was re-elected in 2012 and 2014. [55]

Gayle McLaughlin was twice elected mayor of Richmond, California, defeating two Democrats in 2006 [56] and then reelected in 2010; and elected to City Council in 2014 after completing her second term as mayor. [57] With a population of over 100,000 people, it was the largest American city with a Green mayor. Fairfax, California; Arcata, California; Sebastopol, California; and New Paltz, New York are the only towns in the United States to have had a Green Party majority in their town councils. Twin Ridges Elementary in Nevada County, California held the first Green Party majority school board in the United States. [58]

On September 21, 2017, Ralph Chapman, a member of the Maine House of Representatives, switched his party registration from unaffiliated to Green, providing the Green Party with their first state-level representative since 2014. [59] Henry John Bear became a member of the Green Party in the same year as Chapman, giving the Maine Green Independent Party and GPUS its second currently-serving state representative, though Bear is a nonvoting tribal member of the Maine House of Representatives.

No nominee of the Green Party has been elected to office in the federal government.

List of national conventions and annual meetings

The Green National Convention is scheduled in presidential election years and the Annual National Meeting is scheduled in other years. The Green National Committee conducts business online between these in-person meetings.

Presidential ballot access

2004 2008 2012 2016 2020
Electoral votes267 (479)368 (528)439 (489)494 (522) [60] [61] TBD (+241) [62] [63]
History of ballot access by location:
# Alabama Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Alaska On ballotNot on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Arizona Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Arkansas Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# California On ballot
# Colorado On ballot
# Connecticut On ballot(write-in)On ballot
# Delaware On ballot
# Florida On ballot
# Georgia (write-in)TBD
# Hawaii On ballot
# Idaho (write-in)On ballotTBD
# Illinois Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Indiana (write-in)Not on ballot(write-in)TBD
# Iowa On ballotTBD
# Kansas (write-in)On ballot [64] TBD
# Kentucky Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Louisiana On ballot
# Maine On ballot
# Maryland On ballotTBD
# Massachusetts On ballot
# Michigan On ballot
# Minnesota On ballotTBD
# Mississippi On ballot
# Missouri Not on ballot(write-in)Not on ballotOn ballot [65]
# Montana On ballot(write-in)Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Nebraska Not on ballotOn ballotNot on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Nevada On ballotNot on ballotTBD
# New Hampshire Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# New Jersey On ballot [64] TBD
# New Mexico On ballot
# New York (write-in)On ballot
# North Carolina Not on ballot(write-in)Not on ballot(write-in)On ballot
# North Dakota Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Ohio Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Oklahoma Not on ballotTBD
# Oregon On ballot
# Pennsylvania On ballotTBD
# Rhode Island On ballot [66] TBD
# South Carolina On ballot
# South Dakota Not on ballot [64] TBD
# Tennessee On ballotTBD
# Texas (write-in)On ballotTBD
# Utah On ballot
# Vermont Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# Virginia (write-in)Not on ballot [64] On ballotTBD
# Washington On ballotTBD
# West Virginia Not on ballot [64] On ballot
# Wisconsin (write-in)On ballotTBD
# Wyoming Not on ballotOn ballotTBD
# District of Columbia Not on ballotOn ballotNot on ballot [64] On ballot

Electoral results

President and Vice President

YearPresidential nomineeHome statePrevious positionsVice presidential nomineeHome statePrevious positionsVotesNotes
1996 Naderspeak (cropped).JPG
Ralph Nader
Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut Lawyer, activist Reception (4099192018) (cropped).jpg
Winona LaDuke
Flag of Minnesota.svg  Minnesota Environmentalist685,297 (0.7%)
0 EV
[67] [68]
2000 Naderspeak (cropped).JPG
Ralph Nader
Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut Nominee for President of the United States (1996) Reception (4099192018) (cropped).jpg
Winona LaDuke
Flag of Minnesota.svg  Minnesota Nominee for Vice President of the United States (1996)2,882,955 (2.7%)
0 EV
2004 David Cobb at Oct 2016 Berkeley rally for Jill Stein - 3 (cropped3).jpg
David Cobb
Flag of Texas.svg  Texas Lawyer
Nominee for Attorney General of Texas
Pat LaMarche Flag of Maine.svg  Maine Nominee for Governor of Maine
119,859 (0.1%)
0 EV
2008 Cynthia McKinney.jpg
Cynthia McKinney
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg  Georgia Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
Member of the United States House of Representatives from Georgia's 11th district
Member of the United States House of Representatives from Georgia's 4th district
(1997–2003; 2005–2007)
NLN Rosa Clemente.jpg
Rosa Clemente
Flag of New York.svg  New York Community organizer161,797 (0.1%)
0 EV
2012 Jill Stein by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Jill Stein
Flag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts Nominee for Governor of Massachusetts
(2002; 2010)
Nominee for Massachusetts's 9th Middlesex State House of Representatives district
Member of the Lexington Town Meeting (2005–2011)
Nominee for Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
Cheri Honkala.jpg
Cheri Honkala
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg  Pennsylvania Activist
Nominee for Sheriff of Philadelphia
469,627 (0.4%)
0 EV
2016 Jill Stein by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Jill Stein
Flag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts (see above for previous positions)
Nominee for President of the United States
Ajamu Baraka at Oct 2016 Berkeley rally for Jill Stein - 4 (cropped) (cropped).jpg
Ajamu Baraka
Flag of Illinois.svg  Illinois Activist1,457,216 (1.1%)
0 EV


House of Representatives

Election yearNo. of overall votes% of overall voteNo. of overall seats won+/-
1992 134,0720.14
0 / 435
1994 52,0960.07
0 / 435
1996 42,5100.05
0 / 435
1998 70,9320.11
0 / 435
2000 260,0870.26
0 / 435
2002 297,1870.40
0 / 435
2004 344,5490.30
0 / 435
2006 243,3910.29
0 / 435
2008 580,2630.47
0 / 435
2010 252,6880.29
0 / 435
2012 372,9960.30
0 / 435
2014 246,5670.30
0 / 435
2016 515,263 [72] 0.42?
0 / 435
2018 247,0210.22
0 / 435


Election yearNo. of overall votes% of overall voteNo. of overall seats won+/-
2000 685,2890.90
0 / 34
2002 94,7020.20
0 / 34
2004 157,6710.20
0 / 34
2006 295,9350.50
0 / 33
2008 427,4270.70
0 / 33
2010 516,5170.80
0 / 37
2012 212,1030.20
0 / 33
2014 152,5550.32
0 / 33
2016 695,604 [73] 0.97?
0 / 33
2018 177,4980.21
0 / 33

Fundraising and position on Super PACs

In the early decades of Green organizing in the United States, the prevailing American system of money-dominated elections was universally rejected by Greens, so that some Greens were reluctant to have Greens participate in the election system at all because they deemed the campaign finance system inherently corrupt. Other Greens felt strongly that the Green Party should develop in the electoral arena and many of these Greens felt that adopting an alternative model of campaign finance, emphasizing self-imposed contribution limits, would present a wholesome and attractive contrast to the odious campaign finance practices of the money-dominated major parties.

Over the years, some state Green parties have come to place less emphasis on the principle of self-imposed limits than they did in the past. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that Green Party fundraising (for candidates' campaigns and for the party itself) still tends to rely on relatively small contributions and that Greens generally decry not only the rise of the Super PACs, but also the big-money system, which some Greens criticize as plutocracy.

Some Greens feel that the Green Party's position should be simply to follow the laws and regulations of campaign finance. [74] Other Greens argue that it would injure the Green Party not to practice a principled stand against the anti-democratic influence of money in the political process. Candidates for office, like Jill Stein, the 2012 and 2016 Green Party nominee for the President of the United States, typically rely on smaller donations to fund their campaigns. [75]

State and territorial parties

See also

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