An Open Letter to the Green Party for 2020

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Duane Townsend

Truthdig! - January 24, 2020

Composed by: Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Leslie Cagan, Ron Daniels, Kathy Kelly, Norman Solomon, Cynthia Peters and Michael Albert

As the 2020 presidential election approaches the Green Party faces the challenge of settling on a platform, choosing a candidate for president, and deciding its campaign strategy. In that context, Howie Hawkins, a contender for Green Party presidential candidate, recently published a clear and cogent essay titled “The Green Party Is Not the Democrats’ Problem.” It represents a precedent Green Party stance which may guide Green campaign policy. We agree with much, but find some ideas very troubling.

The stance offered in Hawkins’ article says “the assertion that the Green Party spoiled the 2000 and 2016 elections is a shallow explanation for the Democrats’ losses;” that in 2000, “the Supreme Court…stopped the Florida recount;” that many factors “elected Trump in 2016…including black voter suppression, Comey publicly reopening the Clinton email case a week before the election, $6 billion of free publicity for Trump from the commercial media, and a Clinton campaign that failed to get enough of its Democratic base out;” that the Electoral College “gave the presidency to the loser of the popular vote;” that most Greens are “furious” at a Democratic party “that joins with Republicans to support domestic austerity and a bloated military budget and endless wars;” “that the Green Party’s Green New Deal science-based timeline, would put the country on a World War II scale emergency footing to transform the economy to zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030;” and that “the Green Party want(s) to eliminate poverty and radically reduce inequality“ including a job guarantee, a guaranteed income above poverty, affordable housing, improved Medicare for all, lifelong public education from pre-K through college, and a secure retirement;” and finally that the Green Party strategy “is to build the party from the bottom up by electing thousands to municipal and county offices, state legislatures, and soon the House as we go into the 2020s.”

We agree that many factors led to Democratic Party losses and that the Supreme Court was a big one as was the Electoral College, and we too are furious at Democrats joining Republicans in so many violations of justice and peace. Likewise, we admire the Greens’ Green New Deal and economic justice commitments, and also support a grassroots, local office approach to winning electoral gains.

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