This election I’m proud to be supporting Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker. They are the only ticket for president on the Massachusetts ballot that stands on a platform of a Green New Deal with an economic bill of rights, universal healthcare, an end to endless wars, and real solutions to systemic problems like racism and the pandemic.
Unlike the millionaires who typically run for office, Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker are working-class people who understand the lives of regular people because they live it themselves. Hawkins is a retired package handler for UPS and Teamster from Syracuse, New York. Walker has worked as a substitute teacher and currently drives a truck for a living out of South Carolina. They understand that especially during this pandemic, people need a federal jobs guarantee with a living wage, and a guaranteed income for workers who cannot risk their health to work.
Howie Hawkins is the original Green New Dealer. Beginning in 2010, as a Green candidate for governor of New York, he spoke about the need for a comprehensive policy to address climate change, environmental degradation, and good jobs. Unlike other versions, Howie’s Green New Deal includes massive cuts to military spending and the allocation of resources necessary to get to 100% clean energy by 2030 as scientists say is necessary.
The recent presidential debates exemplify how important it is to include independent voices. Biden is completely wedded to the legacy of the Obama administration and cannot escape his own record as a senator. When Trump baits Biden with the Green New Deal or Black Lives Matter, Biden dodges to the right by failing to raise any of our core demands. We call for community control over the police. Biden calls for sensitivity training. We call for climate action on the scale necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. Biden and Harris defend fracked gas.
When Biden tries to attack Trump for caging immigrants or evading taxes, Trump counters with Biden’s own record deporting immigrants and writing tax laws that benefit the rich. Despite the mantra during the primaries that Biden would be the most electable, his inability to draw a clear line between himself and Trump makes him a weak candidate.
The presidential debates used to be run by the League of Women Voters. The debates we see today are run by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is owned and operated by the two corporate parties to exclude independent candidates like Howie Hawkins and Libertarian nominee Jo Jorgensen, both of whom are on the ballot in enough states to win the election. Millions of Americans will miss out on hearing good ideas for solving our nation’s problems. The exclusion of all but two candidates also gives Trump a free hand to flout the rules and act like a bully on stage.
Biden is not a solution to the autocratic rightward drift of our federal government. Voters must find the courage to support independent candidates and break the cycle of politicians who offer us less and less every four years. A good showing for Greens in 2020 would shift the political conversation. A national result of 5% would win the Green Party federal funding and recognition as a national political party. In Massachusetts, 100,000 votes would maintain ballot access for the Green-Rainbow Party.
Every poll in Massachusetts is showing Joe Biden at least 30 points ahead of Donald Trump. Because of our winner-take-all system, Biden will get all 11 seats on the electoral college. Massachusetts is a “safe state” for the Democratic Party. It is not so safe, however, for those of us who feel marginalized and left out of the democratic process.
If ballot initiative No. 2 to adopt ranked choice voting passes, it could be a further step toward breaking down the walls that exclude our voices. Politicians will have to listen when they know voters have choices.
If you marched for peace, protested for racial justice, lobbied against fracked gas, or petitioned to save vital social services, then you need to put your vote where your values are. There’s no disadvantage to voting Green, yet it is the best way to defend our democracy and hold the political establishment accountable.
Matthew Andrews is a home energy rater and member of the Green-Rainbow Party in Newton.