Green Party Candidate Trolls Loebsack in Congressional Race


By: John Thompson

Voters in Iowa’s southeast, Second Congressional district will have a choice at least between a nerdy, Mt. Vernon College professor and the guy that said the B-word a lot on Breaking Bad.

Daniel Clark announced his intention to run for Congress as a Green Party candidate where “he intends to work with independents in Iowa to break the two party system with-in the all-important state.”

Clark posted some platforms on a crowd sourced fundraising announcement saying “We need to get big money out of politics and overturn citizens united. I refuse to take superPAC money.” His Crowdpac campaign had raised $279 at the time of posting.

The Green Party is not an official political party in the state of Iowa after the presidential candidate, Jill Stein only managed to get 11,479 votes or .07 of the statewide total. The Iowa code requires that a candidate receive 2% of the statewide total to gain or maintain official standing, a process that opens up organizations to benefits like ballot qualifying candidates through nominating conventions.

The Green Party obtained official status in 2000 with Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign only to lose it in 2002 when their gubernatorial candidate failed to meet the same benchmark. The Libertarian Party nearly doubled that hurdle with Gary Johnson’s campaign in November at 3.7% and received official status.

Clark’s campaign is unlikely to have any effect on the congressional race. The most profound impact will probably be to the Libertarian Party as disgruntled Iowans have another option to disperse their protest vote. There is a core constituency in both camps but many of the overall vote total comes from people who are upset with the political system. Few of them have a visceral desire to support a third party candidate.

Daniel’s populist rhetoric projects that he will unite a core group of Independent voters who in actuality tend to favor one party over the other or find themselves in the middle. It’s uncommon for a far-left, fringe candidate to activate people with moderate convictions to make a hard shift to the outside edge of the political spectrum.

He has an uphill battle convincing his blue collar, traditionally Democratic district to support his message. Clark’s progressive values such as free college and labor-ending environmental views are out of synch with the district’s slide-to-the-right due to Trump’s message on jobs and infrastructure.

The recently Green convert went to the Democratic National Convention as a Bernie Sanders delegate. Clark has been a mascot of the “Bernie or bust” movement of younger activists who became engaged in the political process for the first time under the Independent, Vermont senator. They quickly put themselves back on the outside when Sanders did not win.

Clark has personally been acerbic in dealing with liberal activists, arguing in online forums and dismissing their candidates for lack of ideological purity.  This gives them little incentive to abandon the Democratic Party to support another option.

Regardless of the outcome it is healthy for more candidates to participate in public discourse. Most people enter these contests to give back and truly believe the way to make the world better is to promote their own values. His campaign may not have an impact on public policy but is very likely to have an impact online in Facebook groups. He’s tapped in to a tiny, vocal group of millennial social justice warriors who mostly engage in the political process using something they call “dank memes.”