The Green Party candidate for president of the United States is in Maine on Wednesday to highlight a platform centered around a Green New Deal, economic equality, universal health care and a halt to nuclear arms.
But candidate Howie Hawkins said while it has always been a challenge for third parties to gain traction with the public, this election cycle is proving extraordinary.
“It’s worse this year. We’ve had Green candidates going back to Ralph Nader. We got some coverage. This year? Nothing,” he said. “I think it’s because of Trump. Trump’s got people really scared because his invective is just off the charts, so they don’t even want people to know they’ve got another alternative besides Biden.”
Hawkins says third-party candidates are often viewed as “spoiling” a similar candidate’s chances by potentially splitting the vote, but he says with ranked-choice voting, Mainers can vote for who they really want. He’d like to see the system applied across the nation.
“You get rid of the problem that the loser of the popular vote gets in through the Electoral College, and you get rid of the spoiler problem. Because people — they like the Greens’ progressive program and they’re worried about a Trump? They can rank us first and the Democrats second,” he says.
Hawkins and vice presidential running mate Angela Walker will appear on the ballot in 30 states including Maine. Hawkins said a major reason for running is to get the party and its issues before the public, and just getting on more ballots will be a victory.
“Because then we can run candidates for local office, state office and Congress. And the way the Green Party’s going to become a major party is by electing thousands of people to local office, and from there to state and Congress,” he said.
Hawkins is supporting Senate candidate Lisa Savage who is running as an independent.