Jason Call was one of the top Blue America candidates last cycle. He ran for the northwest Washington congressional seat occupied by corporate New Dem Rick Larsen. He got over 30,000 votes in the primary. Last month, he announced he’s going to run again— this time though, as a Green Party candidate. Before Blue America enthusiastically endorsed him again, I asked him why he made the party switch. His response was compelling and I asked him to share it with us today in a guest post. Please take a look.
With Climate Disaster Inevitable, Will A Solid Blue District Shed Its Corporate Dem for a Green?
-by Jason Call
I’m excited to announce my third run for Washington State’s 2nd District. My name is Jason Call, and I have a 30+ year history of progressive activism from protesting the first Gulf War in 1990 when I was a freshman at the University of Washington right up to the present day as a board member of Whole Washington, a grassroots organization fighting for both state and federal single payer healthcare.
In 2020 and 2022, I ran as a Democrat.
However, this year I left the Democratic Party and became a Green. As an Eco socialist, my principles have always aligned with the Green Party, but for longest time I was convinced I could only make a real difference as a Democrat. Having tried for twenty years in good faith to work within the Democratic Party (including 4 years elected as a State Central Committee member) to “push the party left”, heck— to just get the party to take a stand on the issues it says it believes in— I’ve concluded that those efforts are futile.
The sad truth is that the Democratic Party, like the Republicans, is owned and controlled by Wall Street and the War Machine, no matter how progressive they claim their values to be. We can’t afford this kind of politics any longer (not that we ever could). With the public admittance even in the corporate media that we are going to hit the 1.5°C temperature rise by 2027, we must come to terms with the reality that unless drastic changes are made in energy policy we are unlikely to keep that rise under 2°C. All of this is coming at us faster than predicted, and all of it spurred on by fossil fuel and war machine owned representatives like WA02 incumbent Rick Larsen. To re-elect someone with Larsen’s record on climate issues (read his track record here: www.callforcongress.com/larsen) is pure folly. We need to push back aggressively on the climate killing status quo.
We are quite literally in a doomsday scenario with the habitable planet. The thawing of the Antarctic ice shelf, the recession of Arctic sea ice, the unprecedented melting of glaciers, and the rapid warming of the oceans over the last 5 years should frankly be terrifying to us all, to the extent that we are collectively demanding our governments respond with the urgency we know they would if there were an immediate military threat. This change in the ocean environment will have massive repercussions for marine life starting at the phytoplankton level, not to mention the impacts rising sea levels will have for human civilization. And here’s the truth: we may not be able to get out of this, even if we start (because we haven’t started) aggressively changing systems to stop using fossil fuels. It may very well be too late.
Almost nobody in the Democratic Party is willing to say these things because they either don’t care or they fear the corporate overlords of the political system will turn on them. Conversely in fact, Democrats have supported such terrible trade laws, and are so weak in their resistance to corporate aggression, that we are reading headlines about fossil fuel and pharmaceutical companies suing nations whose sovereign laws to address climate change and the COVID pandemic impact their profits. Rick Larsen in particular enthusiastically supported the Trans Pacific Partnership that has allowed such lawsuits.
We must demand change. Our survival as a species depends on it. I will run an aggressively pro-“immediate change” campaign against a Democrat who is essentially a Republican on economic issues, and a weak Democrat on social issues. Larsen has always been behind the curve on social issues, joining calls for social change only when the vast majority of Democrats are pushing for it. In fact, the American Conservative Union puts him in the top 15% of Democrats aligning with their preferred policy positions. A progressive district should be able to do substantially better.
Can I get on the general election ballot in order to go head-to-head with Larsen in Nov 2024? In 2020 I earned almost 36,000 votes— three times the number garnered by any prior progressive challenger to the sitting incumbent since he was elected in 2000. We did this with no corporate money, no access to Democratic Party voter data, no organizational endorsements to speak of. Just a dedicated team of volunteers and a shoestring budget of barely $50,000. We came within striking distance of second place.
In 2022, we were better organized, better funded (over triple that of 2020), had more volunteers, and endorsements that included two sole endorsements from the Island County and San Juan County Democrats. While we came in third place again, we actually increased the progressive share of the Democratic and left-wing vote a few percentage points, even though we earned fewer total votes (largely due to depressed midterm primary turnout). If we had had the same share of the left-wing vote in 2020 that we had in 2022, we would have made the general ballot. Unfortunately, the post census redistricting made the electorate slightly more conservative.
In this election cycle let’s see what progressives can make happen with a seasoned candidate who has already had some success with the electoral system in Washington’s 2nd District. We ran on a solid platform of environmentalism, labor, healthcare, anti-war, education, and supporting the rights of all historically marginalized people. A platform that aligned then, as it does now, with the Ten Key Values that define the Green Party. Our message resonated strongly as a message of justice. The transition is an easy one.
Will those Democrats who supported me in 2020 and 2022 still support me in 2024?
Will my transition to the Green Party give people who do not feel represented by the corporate duopoly a reason to show up?
Will the youth vote be inspired by a candidate who truly speaks to preserving a livable and just future for them?
It all remains to be seen. A Republican will not win this seat. And an establishment Democrat will not challenge the incumbent. Change in Washington state can only come from the left.
I have always believed that good government is possible, and I truly believe the adage that we do not inherit this planet from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. The Four Pillars of the Green Party— Peace, Ecology, Social Justice, and Democracy— are what we must continue to focus on for a brighter future for all humanity.
Right now we’re seeking to raise $5000 to get union printed yard signs for our district supporters. And any financial help will be put to good use and is appreciated.
(Ed note: If money is tight, Jason can always use volunteers with good hearts and fire in their bellies. Visit his website here, then click the CONTACT button and shoot him an email!)
Remember this? It was a video Blue America used to help make sure people in WA-02 (Snohomish, Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties) knew just who Rick Larsen actually is. It works just as well today: