Although not well covered, the Green Party actually had a good day on Nov. 6, 2012. While everyone else was watching the Presidential race, the Greens quietly won over thirty local races across the nation, including a state representative in Arkansas, Fred Smith, and Mayoral victories in NY and CA. This brings their total number of seats held to 140 in 25 states including 6 Mayors and 1 state representative.
The Libertarian Party appears to have gained no new seats, though they did secure enough votes to remain on the ballot in several states, next go around. They currently hold 154 offices around the nation, including 8 Mayoralities. As to why one third party had a better showing than the other, I would hypothesize it is the same reason as the outcome of Obama v Romney; American philosphy has moved in a more liberal direction. This is where opportunity lies for the Greens, if they can figure out how to take advantage of it.
The political analysis of the last week has focused on the exit polling breakdown of ethnicity. However, Republicans didn't lose because of ethnicity on any score, they lost because the majority of the nation embraces progressive values and policies. So, when they push social policies of zero tolerance, they offend the majority. When they push economic polices based on supporting business, rather than the individual, they offend the majority. But they can't just walk away from their core values in an effort to rebrand, either, because such a cynical move would cost them their base while failing to pick up new members.
For this reason it is entirely possible the Republicans become further marginalized on the right, probably adjusting their immigration policy in a blatant pander to Hispanics. As a result the Democrats will become even more centrist in an opportunist move to pick up moderate Republican votes. Thus the progressive move of the electorate actually pushes the government further to the right. Which leaves room on the left for a new party to represent those liberals who are becoming increasingly under-represented.
Environmentalists, Unions, Teachers, and Farmers, are all examples of traditional Democrat supporters who have felt neglected or taken for granted in recent years, and with good reason. As Democrats have fought for the growing voting blocks of independents, women, homosexuals, and youth, they have not been focusing on those groups who they believe have no alternative. The Hispanic community also has not pledged itself to any party as of yet, voting against Romney more than in favor of Obama.
The Green New Deal with its message of ending the drug war, shrinking the military, North American work visas, and having a more progressive tax code so that we can reprioritze our spending towards education, agriculture, infrastructure, and alternative energy should be appealing to this Liberal base, the youth vote, and a significant portion if the Hispanic vote, based on polling. So the real challenge for the Greens is getting their voice heard. This is, of course, a Catch 22, because the media won't take them seriously until they get elected to federal office, and they can't elected to federal office without media attention, which costs money that is difficult to raise unless you already hold either office or media attention.
If they Green's wish to overcome this obstacle they need to learn the lessons of the two most successful grass roots campaigns in recent years; The Tea Party and the Obama campaign. The President won through community organizing, finding his basem and getting people to turn out and vote. The TeaParty was able to make itself heard by targeting a few favorable districts, and focusing all of their national resources there in order to get themselves national attention. Both of these groups used communications technology and in person conversations to get their message to as many people as possible.
The Green Party has built themselves a respectable national network, with numerous local office holders in several key states; CA, MA, PA, and WI. If they would forgoe the Presidential campaigns until 2020, and spend the next three federal campaigns utilizing national resources to succeed in a few races, first in those four states and then expand, they stand a better chance of success. If they can win one federal election, the media will start covering them. If they win in more than one election cycle, the media will start taking them seriously. At which point they will be able to run nation wide, seriously.
Their political positions are ahead of the public opinion. Which is good for longevity and leadership. They have a network in place. They have an opportunity presented by a disorganized and out of touch Republican Party and a centrist Democrat Party ignoring its liberal base. The question remains will the Green Party be able to manage the organization and strategy necessary to take advantage of this opportunity?