30, 2008, 12 a.m. - When former U.S. Rep.
Cynthia McKinney formally announced that she was leaving the
Democratic Party and running against Ralph Nader for the Green
Party's presidential nomination, many in her former party quickly
wrote her off.
Maybe Democrats are gambling that McKinney is still a
virtual laughingstock of Capitol Hill and will not be taken
seriously. Maybe they know that most of her core constituents are
black, and that they have loyally voted for Democrats ever since the
"Surely she can't be serious," Revis Butler Jr. of Atlanta, a
retired dentist and Navy Reserve commander told the Atlanta
McKinney is serious.
She has spent much of the last few months in the grassroots
independent movement, since her stunning reelection defeat in the
primary in 2007. That same day her campaign posted a YouTube video
of her declaring she received an endorsement from Atlanta
Progressive News, which wrote: "From Hurricane Katrina, to
electronic voting, to impeachment of President Bush, McKinney
provided strong leadership in the US House." She also received
a standing ovation during a recent debate.
As a recovering Democrat and current nonpartisan nonvoting
independent (see my book
Hired Hatred), it is common knowledge the
two major political parties have long said that a vote for an
independent is throwing away your vote. Not to mention the fact that
every independent begins his or her election battle not fighting
their opponents on issues, but just trying to get on the ballot in
every state, and gaining access to debates and raising money.
Still, McKinney may prove to be the
perfect storm for the Democrats. She is sharp on the issues and
brings Greens a candidate with a proven policy track record, based
on the fact she has served in Congress. Because of her congressional
record and unique issue selection--one of her favorite subjects is
COINTELPRO--she just may be able to pull many blacks off the
Democratic party plantation.
Sure she was defeated for reelection, largely due to
a scuffle she supposedly brought on herself with a security guard on
Capitol Hill. This was followed by implying President Bush had
knowledge of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. D.C. and
wanting to accept money from Saudi Arabia, right after America
admitted that its foreign policy brought about the attacks. Let's
also forget for a minute that she waffled on her Bush remarks during
an interview with me in Atlanta. She said that she never meant to
imply that Bush had anything to do with the attacks.
The fact is a lot of the conspiracy theorists like McKinney, along
with black voters, can be a sizable constituency. And what many
Green party folks are counting on is that McKinney's supporters like
living an independent life.
(Robert "Rob" Redding Jr. is the Publisher of the Washington
Continent, Redding News Review and author of "Hired Hatred: Why
politicians, political parties & the political prejudices they tout
are mutually exclusive from good government.")