Although polls show that Connecticut’s seven electoral votes will likely go to Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry ’66, Green Party candidate David Cobb brought his campaign to New Haven Friday, the latest of a number of campaign appearances in the state.
Cobb, a longtime party activist, and his running mate Patricia LaMarche are pursuing a “safe states” strategy. They campaign only in states where either Kerry or President George W. Bush ’68 are projected to win by a significant margin. At the same time, they campaign heavily for Green Party candidates for local offices.
In an interview with C-SPAN, Cobb said his campaign was oriented towards the future of the Green Party rather than a successful presidential campaign.
“The goals of the Cobb/LaMarche campaign have been consistent and clear: to grow and build the Green Party,” he said.
Cobb said he was also campaigning for election reform that would provide more opportunities for third parties. Women’s suffrage, the direct election of senators, and Social Security were originally championed by independent parties, he said.
“The ballot access laws of this country are more draconian and more restrictive than any other industrialized country,” he said.
Instant-runoff voting would improve the system and make multiparty democracy more viable, Cobb said. The system allows voters to rank their candidate preference so that if no candidate gets a majority in the initial count, second and third choices can be considered.
In an interview with the News after he appeared on C-SPAN, Cobb contrasted his campaign with that of Ralph Nader, who ran as the Green Party’s candidate in 2000 and is running as an independent in this election.
“On Nov. 3, Ralph Nader’s campaign is over,” he said. “We’ll still be here, getting ready for the next election cycle.”
Cobb also criticized the Nader campaign over allegations that Nader has accepted money and grassroots support from Republicans who believe he will steal votes from Kerry.
“If I ever found out there was a Republican effort to get me on the ballot somewhere — I would denounce it,” he said.
Edward Dunar ’08, the campus coordinator for the Nader campaign, said that the allegations were unfair because Republicans share values, like fiscal conservatism, with Nader.
“It’s not anybody’s right to question intent,” he said.
On C-SPAN, Cobb said if he were elected, his priorities would include universal health care, a living minimum wage and strong environmental legislation.
“The most important things that you’d see is a crash course to implement the existing technologies that exist for genuine sustainable energy,” he said. “Remember that it’s our addiction to oil that’s actually underlying this war, and of course we know that it’s causing global warming.”
To end what he called a “war for oil,” Cobb proposed a five-step plan to withdraw American troops from Iraq by appealing to the United Nations and other Arab nations.
Emily Biesecker ’08 said she voted for Cobb and LaMarche in Indiana because she feels the Green Party platform is more aligned with her views than that of either major party. But she said that realistically, she hopes Kerry will win the election.
“I do think at this time it is very important to choose the better of two evils,” Biesecker said.
But many Yale students said they do not know who David Cobb is, or that they are confused about the platform of the Green Party.
“I thought it was mostly about environmental issues,” Joshua Batson ’08 said.