More than 6 million Americans voted for someone other than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, but from media coverage of the election you would never know him.
In 2020, however, candidates who are neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump hope to change that, and win more votes than ever before – and get a hard-earned recognition for it.
Howie Hawkins, a former UPS worker and longtime political activist, is the Green Party’s presidential candidate, and is trying to penetrate the Republican and Democratic media frenzy to convince Americans that there are more than two options. dominant parties.
He is not finding it easily.
An immediate difficulty has been the coronavirus, which has prevented Hawkins, who lives in Syracuse, New York, from hosting events and traveling the country. Rather, he has relied on virtual events, though they have not worked very badly: “I’m really talking to more people than I have been before,” Hawkins told the Guardian.
A bigger problem, and one that probably would have existed even without the pandemic, has drawn media attention to his campaign.
“The difficulty is trying to get our message across in the main narrative,” Hawkins says. “We’re sending news releases, we’re tweeting, we’re on social media and we’re making stories.”
When CNN held a “climate crisis municipality” in September 2019, Hawkins and the party spied on their opportunity.
The Green Party originally conceived the New Green Deal – a widespread climate package that was approved by progressive Democrats like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez – in 2010, and Hawkins said he set himself up to show producers as “the original trader new green “.
It did not work, and the Green party, which has the broadest climate change policies of any party, was absent from the scene.
The Green Party may be best known for its climate policies, but its focus goes beyond the environment and progressive politics as a whole. Hawkins would create a $ 20 minimum wage – Democrats favor a $ 15 minimum – universal rent control, Medicare for all, and free college tuition.
In the event that they are unlikely to win the election, the party has also outlined its comprehensive police reform proposals, which are presented in an 8,000-word online essay.
It is a platform that bears resemblance to the views of left-wing Democrats like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but is unlikely to ever be endorsed by the party’s more centrist leadership. Hawkins said he had drawn a number of disappointed Democrats from the party.
“We continue to be filled with really angry Democrats,” Hawkins said. “Progressive Democrats are disappointed and come to the Green party.”
For all the detailed and potentially deceptive platform of Hawkins Democrats, the party has little chance of winning in November, a fact that should not be simply disappointing for Hawkins and his team.
In 2018 a Gallup poll found that 57% of Americans believe a third major political party is needed – a belief that has more or less held steady for the past 10 years.
Part of the Green party’s mission is to change that. The party supports a nationally-elected presidential election, in which voters rank candidates by preference. The system would allow people to vote for more progressive candidates – like Hawkins – without fear that their vote would hand over victory, in this case, to Trump.
That left-wing fear that a vote for anyone other than the Democratic Party could hand Trump victory is another problem facing Hawkins.
In 2016, Green Party candidate Jill Stein faces heavy criticism in the wake of Clinton’s loss to Trump. 1,449,370 people across the country voted for Stein, but essentially she got substantial votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – each of which Trump narrowly won. If Hillary Clinton had won those three states, she would have been president.
This meant that Stein became a ransom for some people – although there is little evidence that Stein is not running would have run in the Clinton election.
In Pennsylvania, Stein won 49,678 votes, meaning that almost every one of her constituents would have to go to Clinton to close her 46,765 vote to Trump – which is very unlikely. Voting experts on the FiveThirtyEight policy website unanimously thought Stein’s run was used as a ransom for Clinton’s loss, rather than a legitimate reason.
Some candidates for third presidential parties insist they have a chance to win the presidency, despite all the controversy. However, Hawkins is genuinely refreshing when asked about his real purpose.
“What would be a really big win would be if we got 5% of the vote,” Hawkins said.
“This qualifies us for a public campaign finance grant for the 2024 general election for president. If we were to reach 5%, there would be about $ 20 million at least waiting for our presidential ticket in 2024, which would be “A jump up. So 5% is the criterion.”
It may not seem like much, but given the Green Party’s previous best performance, it was 2.7% won by Ralph Nader in 2000, it is an ambitious goal.
“That would be fast enough for us,” Hawkins said. “But with the fall of Trump and Biden it was not very progressive, maybe it is within our reach.”