The Election & Beyond, Part I

Part One: The Election

Election 2020 is winding up for the big dance number next Tuesday and I’m already looking ahead. Before I get into the big picture, let’s talk about the immediate future. As a participant in this nationwide beauty pageant, I recognize the importance of my role as a candidate and that I have a platform and a duty to promote it.

My platform is to voice my conscience and give at least one big pitch for the ballot I cast in 2020. I’ve aleady written my own Voter’s Guide, but where that has the tone of a pep rally, consider this my impassioned speech.

Given both where I live and the dramatic polarization of American politics, I can’t imagine there are too many undecided voters in my neck of the woods. Voters aren’t enslaved to the “one or the other” choice of Joe Biden versus Donald Trump. The Third Party Vote — let’s make no illusions that any third party candidate has a shot at the White House — is as much a voicing of the voter’s conscience as it is a protest vote, one cast in favor of that voter’s preferred platform.

For me, that vote of conscience is for Progressive Party nominee Dario Hunter. In a perfect world, he would be the Green Party nominee on at least as many state ballots as their pre-ordained “nominee,” Howie Hawkins.

Do not vote for Howie Hawkins. Oregon, Dario Hunter is your rightful choice. He is also on the ballot in Colorado and a write-in in 14 other states. (See map below.)

Elsewhere, I urge voters to consider the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate, Gloria La Riva.

All election season, I have been saying to vote your conscience. My conscience told me to vote for Dario Hunter. Hunter’s Progressive nomination appears on the same ballot where the Progressive Party has co-nominated or endorsed every other Green candidate on the ballot. The Progressive Party has it right: down-ballot Green candidates, including Nathalie Paravicini, Chris Henry, and yours truly are deserving of your vote. Howie Hawkins is not.

As the Green Party nominee to represent Portland, Oregon, in the United States House of Representatives, the greatest tragedy of this election cycle wasn’t that Donald Trump beat the impeachment rap just before COVID turned our world upside-down, as much of a waste of resources the Russiagate conspiracy was.

Nor was it the Democratic National Committee flooding the field with candidates of every ilk (John Delaney, anyone?) to ensure Bernie Sanders would be outnumbered in terms of airtime and donations, so as to guarantee the installation of their sensible moderate party insider to counteract all that wacky progressive rhetoric: Joe Biden. If anything, American voters should have learned from 2016 that the Democratic Party does not play fair.

No, neither Trump’s lack of accountability nor the Democrats rigging their own contest — we’ve seen that before — but rather, the greatest tragedy of Election 2020 was my party failing to give America the third party option it deserved in the form of Dario Hunter.

In an epically stupid act, the Green Party systemically edged Dario and several other candidates out of their primary process at the state level. They mimicked the Democratic Party in 2016 by having the primary process favor their hand-picked nominee, Howie Hawkins. State committees failed to invite all candidates to debates, others failed to list all candidates on their primary ballots, and the Green Party said nothing as Hawkins billed himself as the party’s nominee ahead of their convention.

The intentionality is hiding in plain sight. Instead of nominating Hunter, a young up-and-coming activist, the Green Party coronated Howie Hawkins. Hawkins was one of the party’s founders and a coauthor of the Green New Deal. One would think the bragging rights from these two achievements alone would have Hawkins and the Greens polling at 10%. Not so.

A fair question is why would the Greens rig their own primary? One glimpse of Hawkins speaking will tell you right away that it wasn’t so the Greens could win. In fact, the opposite appears to be the case. Sure, he’ll get votes, not by name recognition despite the fact that he’s run TWENTY-THREE times and lost, but by virtue that the Green Party and their platform are an available option.

It should go without saying that I, as a Green, condemn the Trump administration and their dangerous policies. However, given that there is at least a kernel of truth in the rumor that many Greens are secret Republicans (especially in blue states), I have to go out of my way to say it: as a Green, committed to ending militarism abroad and at home, committed to climate justice, democracy, and social justice, fully condemn the Trump administration and their dangerous policies.

In counter to the outright racism and classism of Donald Trump is the veiled, smiling veneer (denture pun fully intended) of Joe Biden’s jail-happy racism and war-happy classism. The guy is a relic, a hawk Republicrat who has made problematically racist statements from his five decades as a person in power that rival Trump’s own rhetoric, especially about Black people.

Long before being the VP nominee, Kamala Harris was strongly criticized for her role in locking up Black folks and working class parents when she was Attorney General of California. Her existence as an oppressor is as thoroughly documented as the homophobic Christo-Fascism of Mike Pence. By contrast, Progressive Party VP nominee Dawn Neptune Adams is an artist, land protector, and Indigenous activist.

I have no regret for my vote. I encourage other third party voters to back their vote with the same degree of confidence. The failure of any leftist coalescence behind a viable, nationally accessible third party (I am remiss to point out that Dario’s nomination here comes from the Oregon Progressive Party, as no Progressive Party exists yet at the national level. Yet.) is not something we can blame on Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Dario Hunter, Bernie Sanders, or even Susan Sarandon. We have Howie Hawkins and the leadership of the Greens to blame.

In the right hands, the Green Party would be a winning platform. The sheer magnitude of their blunder by selecting Howie Hawkins instead of electing Dario Hunter ranks with the DNC stealing the nomination from Bernie Sanders in 2016. It was, in a judgment I’ve reached from hearing several firsthand accounts and reviewing facts, just as intentional.

If that prevents me from ever running again with the backing of the Green Party, I’m ok with that. The Green Party has shown itself to be just another broken little American political organization. Maybe it’s time to see other people.

If I end up elected to the United States House of Representatives, I will serve as a Progressive.

Part Two can be found here.

Counselor, musician, sahajdhari Sikh. I left academia and journalism to go see 48 states and find God, learning more than I ever did in a classroom on the way.

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