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Interview with Green Party 2020 presidential candidate - Howie Hawkins on his run from presidency


Mr. Howie Hawkins, many of my readers won’t know you. Your run in 2020 for Green Party was interesting to watch. Can you tell my readers, who you are, what you represent in policies, what the Green party has actually accomplished, and how they can get involved?


I am a retired Teamster warehouse worker in Syracuse, New York who has been active in movements for civil rights, peace, labor, and the environment since the 1960s. I was the 2020 Green Party candidate for President. The campaign website is https://howiehawkins.us


My presidential campaign platform emphasized three planks dealing with the life-or-death issues of climate, poverty, and war.


To address the climate emergency, I called for an ecosocialist Green New Deal featuring pubic enterprise and planning in the power, transportation, and manufacturing sectors to achieve zero greenhouse as emissions and 100% clean renewable energy by 2030


To end poverty and economic insecurity, I campaigned for an Economic Bill of Rights, including the rights to a living-wage job, an income above poverty, affordable housing, quality health care, lifelong free public education from child care and pre-K through college, and a secure retirement through increased Social Security benefits.


To end the endless wars and the new nuclear arms race, I called for a 75% cut in US military spending, an orderly withdrawal from overseas military bases, and disarmament initiatives to open the door to negotiations with the nuclear powers for complete and mutual nuclear disarmament.


In terms of Green Party accomplishments, we have over 100 Greens in elected office at present and our signature program in the 2010s, the Green New Deal, is now part of the national debate on climate policy.


People can get involved in the Green Party by joining the party in their state. Most states have a  Green Party, but if your state doesn’t, contact the national Green Party.


Mr. Hawkins, that the Democrats have made federal funding harder to get is something the media has not covered.


If you are referring to child tax credit, yes, only 14% of the 5.5 million children in poor families that do not file income taxes are getting the payment. The program is poorly designed because most Democratic lawmakers are clueless about the circumstances of poor people. Instead of expecting poor people to know they have to find a website to apply if they don’t file taxes, the program should make the payment automatically to every child and then tax back the next year the money that went to families whose income was above the qualifying levels. 


Mr. Hawkins, will you run in 2024?


I’ll look at 2024 after the 2022 mid-term elections.


Mr. Hawkins, how many states will the Green party have officially registered to vote for presidents in 2024?


If you mean how many states will the Green Party be on the ballot for president in 2024, the Green Party is on the ballot in 16 states now. The Greens will have to submit petitions to get on the other states, a minimum of over 800,000 signatures to get on the ballot in all states. 


What will you do after this? Meaning are you planning to run for a state, or local office? OR Mr. Hawkins, have you considered running in 2022 for congress to show that Green party can actually get elected?


My focus for 2022 is getting the Green Party qualified for the ballot in New York through a difficult ballot access petition and then getting enough votes for our gubernatorial ticket to stay ballot qualified through 2024. Whether I am a candidate in 2022 is up to discussions we are now having in the New York Green Party.


Mr. Hawkins, what policy or suggestion or speech promise has brought more people into your party?  Meaning along the campaign what new idea or promise have you found useful to say hey I will do this if I win?


Green New Deal.


Mr. Hawkins,  provide for me a campaign speech you have used to get your crowds or groups of people interested.  Meaning if it is 1 page or 30 pages it is okay with me. Promote yourself and your campaign.


Here’s the speech I gave accepting the Green Party nomination for President: https://howiehawkins.us/green-nomination-acceptance-speech/. 


Mr. Hawkins, in 2020 you were been busy trying to register with each state.  How much money does it cost to run for president as a third party candidate?


We raised about $475,000 and it wasn’t enough to get on the ballot in all the states. We got on the ballot in 30 states. We spent much of our funds on ballot access petitioning and most of the rest on staffing. 


Mr. Hawkins, in 2020 so far what brought you most success in your campaign? What would you do more of to begin with and continue doing to reach the people with your message?  What has been least effective and how would you stop doing that and just focus on winning?


We didn’t expect to win the office of President. We did expect to advance on three goals: to advocate for policies the major parties do not support, to secure ballot access in states for the next election cycle, and to recruit more people into the Green Party. We had a measure of success in all three of those goals.


If I was running today, I would emphasize a fourth plank, a pro-democracy agenda. The Republicans have become an authoritarian and racist party that is passing election laws in the states to steal elections and entrench their minority rule. The Democrats can’t pass their federal voting rights and election protection laws to pre-empt the Republicans’ state laws. 


The Greens will not get their fair share of representation in government until the single-member-district winner-take-all system is replaced with ranked-choice voting for executive offices and proportional representation in legislative bodies. Until that happens, the spoiler effect will marginalize Green candidates under the current electoral system, especially now since the Republicans are no longer a conservative party but have become an extremist anti-democratic party, which motivates progressive-minded people to vote Democratic to stop the extremist Republicans even if they prefer the Green platform.


So a pro-democracy agenda for a Green presidential candidate today should include:

- Replacing the Electoral College with a ranked-choice national popular vote for President.

- Proportional representation in the US House through ranked-choice voting in multi-member districts.

- Abolition of the anti-democratic US Senate.

- A federal law for reasonable ballot access for independents and minor parties.

- Replacing private funding of candidates with full pubic campaign funding.


What question do you wish I had to ask? And what is that answer?


How can the Green Party grow into a major party?


The Green Party can grow into a major party from the bottom up, by emphasizing local elections where it can elect thousands to local elected office and lay the foundation for winning office in state legislatures and the US House. When the Greens have a caucus in the US House, it will be a major party that cannot be ignored.