Illinois Green Party feels threatened by 24 year old

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The race for Cook County Board President just got a little bit more interesting:

While the petition battles of Todd Stroger and Dorothy Brown have occupied the minds of political junkies watching the Cook CountyBoard President’s race, another petition challenge of interest has gone by unnoticed.

Green Party candidate Tom Tresser, who made a name for himself as the leader of the anti-Olympics group No Games Chicago, has challenged the petitions of his Green Party primary opponent Sean Burke upon finding out that Burke is associated with the web address for the Cook County Young Democrats.

via NBC Chicago “Green Party Candidate Challenges Primary Rival’s Affiliation

Little information about Sean Burke is available, but the Green Party is already in a tizzy. Green Party Watch went and wrote a piece about how the Democrats are “playing dirty tricks”  and cited another example of a Green Party candidate being challenged in another district as proof. Further investigation on the internets reveals that in the second case mentioned the Democratic nominee is also being challenged.   To add further fuel to this fire, Tresser went ahead and wrote on his blog why he was challenging Burke, saying:

The Machine has taken note of the Green Party and it’s entirely appropriate to protect the party from candidates who are running to mess with us. I and some of my mentors and Green Party allies believe that the party needs to protect itself from people who want to run as a Green but who do not hold to the core values of the party, are not reformers, are not fighters, who are serving the Daley-Stroger Machine and who actually want to damage viable Green party campaigns.

The whole thing sounds downright paranoid. If you scroll down the NBC link, Sean Burke made  the first comment on the story, and the only reaction to his post was by another commenter making fun of Burke’s website and telling him “you’re full of crap”. This Burke is 24 years old, and I buy his switch,  his disenchantment with the Young Democrats. The  Green Party platform is an interesting mix of Republican and Democratic ideas, and I myself can understand the appeal.  Everyone is always hammering on about how our two party system is broken, with the two parties we have bickering incessantly while slowly morphing into one another.  Is it that hard to believe someone from the Young Democrats would want to join the Green Party?

By Tresser calling out Burke (who may have just put his name on the ballot for a whim, because why not considering the politicians that run Chicago?) he may have actually helped Burke’s candidacy while also alienating potential Green Party members. I campaigned for Ron Paul and later Barack Obama, but if I now decide to join the Green Party will I too be called a spy and saboteur?

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5 Comments on “Illinois Green Party feels threatened by 24 year old”

  1. waltergpw says:

    If you also read the NBC story carefully, you’ll also find that the Mr. Burke made no contact with the Greens whatsoever before considering a run. Even after filing, he did not return phone calls to the Greens. So there was no good faith effort.

    As a active Green member in Cook County, I would have been okay with him AND Tresser on the ballot if the membership in Cook County was able to vet him and see if he holds Green values (see: that story about a neo-nazi trying to run as a Green in the 10th District). Our bylaws state that there is a internal recognition process by which the Green members in that local district give the okay and say “hey this person is a Green and he/she is legit.” So that way, you can have multiple RECOGNIZED Green candidates in a given district. We Greens believe in internal democracy unlike the Democrat machine and the Republicans.

    As a member of my party, I want to know if my standard bearer: Is he/she serious about running? What does he/she think of our Ten Key Values? Is this person interested in building a third viable party or is he or she just using our ballot line for their own person agenda.

    You see, as a grassroots Green member living in Cook County, I didn’t get that chance to ask Sean Burke questions or anything to see if he holds Green values. On the other hand, Tom Tresser came to the party, was transparent and any Green member was able to ask questions about his candidacy before recognizing him as a Green candidate.

    • Fruzsina Eordogh says:

      While I don’t know what is going on in Mr. Burke’s head:

      I didn’t find the “not answering the phone” bit suspicious as I don’t know any one that age who answers an unknown number for fear of talking to a debt collector or a student loan officer. I am betting texting or e-mails would have yielded more results?

      From what little I’ve seen of Burke, and his statements on the matter, I think it’s safe to assume he didn’t really know what he was doing, which was why I found the resulting hoopla hilarious.

  2. daveschwab says:

    Hi. I’m a contributor at Green Party Watch. I can understand how the Greens’ reaction to Burke could seem paranoid, if you don’t know some of the details. Apparently, he hadn’t been in touch with anyone from the Greens before he filed as a candidate – and didn’t return their calls when they tried to get in touch with him. That’s suspicious, because getting on the ballot takes a lot of petitioning and the first thing most candidates do is call up the party for help. The fact that Burke had no contact with the Greens before his name appeared as a candidate, his link to the Democratic Party, and the Democrats’ history of messing with the Green Party (I can elaborate, if you have a few hours) are enough to raise a red flag or two. Maybe it’s much ado about nothing, but we’ve been burned too many times not to be cautious.
    I encourage you to check out the Green Party – hopefully you’ll find that it’s a good fit for you.

  3. […] some are questioning the justification for Green concerns, like in this post at True/Slant: The whole thing sounds downright paranoid. If you scroll down the NBC link, Sean […]


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