Bernie Sanders may not have won the Democratic presidential nomination, but there will still be at least one democratic socialist on the ballot in November. His name is Howie Hawkins, the longtime activist and frequent (though never successful — yet) candidate for political office in his native New York.
Hawkins, who is this year’s Green Party nominee for president, actually campaigned for Sanders in 1972, when Sanders was running for governor of Vermont on the Liberty Union Party ticket. Sanders won 1.1 percent of the vote in that election — the exact share that Jill Stein won in 2016 as the Green Party’s candidate for president.
Some Democratic observers that year complained that Stein’s presence in the race contributed to Hillary Clinton’s loss in key swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Other factors, such as the more popular Libertarian candidacy of Gary Johnson and the seven-percentage-point decrease in turnout among Black voters from 2012, may have played an even bigger role.
Then there was Clinton’s unpopularity among Sanders supporters. Just 74 percent of voters who supported him in the 2016 primary then cast a ballot for her in the general election, according to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study. By comparison, a recent New York Times/Siena College poll of six battleground states found that Joe Biden, this year’s presumptive Democratic nominee, was commanding much greater support among Sanders’s 2020 primary voters.
In an interview with our reporter Reid J. Epstein this week, Hawkins dismissed the argument that Stein had played spoiler, and instead credited her for bringing the Green New Deal into the public conversation. And he turned a sharp attack on Biden.
“Where the hell is Joe Biden?” Hawkins said. “He lives within commuter distance of the White House press corps. He can command their attention. He should be holding news conferences and pounding away at what we need now — a test, trace and isolate program to suppress the virus, like most other organized countries around the world.”
The Green Party this year is cleared to be on the ballot in 22 states. That’s half the number on which Stein’s name appeared in 2016 — but Hawkins’s campaign says it is petitioning for ballot access in over a dozen others.
The New York Times