Many groups you’ve mentioned have often been taken for granted or known to vote Democrat. How do you expect to take on the Democratic Party if you start moving into those voting blocs?
Well, one, I really hope to stay alive in the process and that’s not a joke. Because some of the worst gangsters I’ve met have come from the Democratic Party and of course they aren’t going to be happy. For years—I know what it’s like to do voter registration in low-income communities, and the Democrats get very angry when you’re doing that independent of their party, because they want to make sure that they maintain a certain amount of numbers and that number doesn’t really grow unless it’s for whatever candidate that they want to have in office at the time. Because behind the doors that we knock on, people don’t know what is the Green Party, they don’t know there’s another choice. All they hear about is the Tea Party, but they don’t know that there are people who are raising a lot of these economic issues and they aren’t associated with the Tea Party; they are associated with the Green Party and they look just like them, and we’re serious about making this a real viable party in this country.
Regarding that, there have been problems getting the Green Party on the ballot in Pennsylvania. What is currently being done to combat that?
Now that folks are finding out that I’m the VP candidate, I have literally received hundreds of calls and emails and Facebook [messages], and you name it, with people asking to help. And we have until, I believe, August 1st. I think that if people are serious about getting myself and Jill Stein on the ballot—and that we are in crisis right now in Pennsylvania because we have a backwards state and we don’t have ballot access—then perhaps they’ll go out there and pick up one sheet and get 35 signatures. I know that people are having ’round-the-clock conversations, there’s going to be a Pennsylvania caucus here at the National Convention and people are really sounding the alarm on the importance of that. But it’s truly unfair: Democrats and Republicans only have to get 2,000 [signatures] and we have to get 40,000, because we’re sure if we get the [required] 20,000, that will be challenged in court.
Does the campaign have a precise number on how many signatures have been collected?
I think we need like another 30,000 signatures.
Do you plan on shedding light on this issue at all during the national campaign?
Absolutely. People can’t believe how backward it is, and the article that you wrote is being sent everywhere because they don’t really understand how backward Pennsylvania is.
Do you and Jill plan on coming to Pennsylvania soon to campaign?
Yes. Basically, the campaign has really been focusing on matching funds in each of the states and … focusing on that ballot access and collecting the signatures and the convention. The next period is going to be about visiting every single spot in the country and of course Pennsylvania is incredibly important right now, for some of the stuff you talked about, and because, historically, Pennsylvania represents a whole lot of things when it comes to presidential elections.
But Pennsylvania’s problems with democracy are buried well below the level playing field. Here’s what’s not mentioned on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website: Anyone can challenge the petitions of anyone else running for office in Pennsylvania. And if you have the cash on hand to follow through, there’s little your opponent can do to stop you.
John Rodriguez has been a loyal Democrat most of his life. But on a recent Tuesday afternoon, there he was, knocking on doors throughout Kensington, asking mostly-Spanish speaking residents for their signature to help get Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein on the ballot in November. The Philadelphia accountant and father of two says [...]