The following is an excerpt:
When New York’s voters start casting ballots in this fall’s general election, they will vote for president but also they will determine the fate of most minor parties in the state. Most are expected to lose.
But the Green Party now has a fighting chance, with New York’s own Howie Hawkins recently securing the Green Party presidential nomination after decades of running for local and state offices.
Before changes to the state’s election laws were made by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Public Campaign Finance Commission in November, parties had to get 50,000 votes in a gubernatorial race to earn automatic ballot access for four years. Now parties must get 130,000 votes, or 2% of all votes cast, whichever is larger, every two years, in every gubernatorial and presidential election, to keep their access. And the turnout this year is expected to set records.
Had that been the rule in 2016, only Democrats, Republicans and Conservatives would have made the grade. The Working Families Party, Independence Party, Greens, Libertarians and Womens’ Equality Party all would have failed.
But in 2016, the Greens had Jill Stein carrying their banner, not Syracuse’s Hawkins.
Hawkins, who has run for various offices more than 20 times, is a sure bet. He never won a race, but when he was on the ballot for governor in 2010, 2014 and 2018, the party always hit the mark.
The new and tougher limits are thought to have been mostly aimed at minor parties that generally don’t run their own candidates in big races, like the Conservative and Independence parties and Cuomo’s particular target, the Working Families Party.
Among the minor parties, only the Libertarians and Greens regularly put up unique candidates in big races, fighting for clear political philosophies well separated from the major-party platforms.
In a recent interview with The Point, the retired UPS worker said the ideas he ran on in 2010 that were so far out of the mainstream have, in many cases, become central to the campaigns of more progressive Democrats.
Green New Deal? That was his. Zero emissions by 2050? That was his. Guaranteed minimum income for all, no new fossil fuel infrastructure, an economic bill of rights, job guarantees, health care for all, a stand against police brutality and systemic racism, all have been trademarks of Hawkins’ runs that are now part of the mainstream conversation.
And Hawkins … says, “good, regulated vaccines are one of the greatest health achievements in history.”
Hawkins had come out of retirement to work part time for the postal service when the “draft Howie” campaign got started last winter, and he readily jumped in. Now he said he’s trying to get on all 50 ballots, a process made unusually difficult by the pandemic, to keep pushing the party’s ideas into the popular consciousness.
And to keep the Greens on the ballot in New York.