Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins has a message for members of the Working Families Party who are contemplating a genuine left-flank challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo: Think about endorsing him.
“I think they should run against Cuomo,” Hawkins said of the WFP during a Wednesday press conference. “I think they should nominate me.”
He noted this would require the Green Party changing its rules to allow cross-endorsement with a party that also cross-endorses major party candidates.
“We’re ready to talk” with the WFP, Hawkins said. “Unfortunately, I think their whole strategy is to be a lobby within the Democratic Party. … It’s going to be hard for some of their leaders to come out against Cuomo.”
In 2010, the Greens pulled almost 60,000 votes — enough to win a ballot position for four years — while the WFP followed its habit of cross-endorsing the Democratic candidate, drawing 155,000.
This year, “I think there’s a lot more discontent with Cuomo among certain constituencies,” Hawkins said. “Teachers feel disrespected; state workers feel under attack; parents are really upset about Common Core and this whole agenda.”
Without naming names, Hawkins scoffed at third parties that engage in “political ventriloquism — where we say, ‘Vote for the old parties on our line and we’ll send them a message.’ I think the message to the politicians is, ‘We can take (those voters) for granted: They’re going to vote for us anyway.’”
As in 2010, Hawkins’ platform is a sweeping progressive and environmental wish list ranging from a modern Works Project Administration-style job corps and single-payer health care to tuition-free higher education and a shift to 100 percent clean energy by 2030. Hawkins also wants to see a “Clean Money” system for public financing of elections that goes a step beyond the plan pushed by Cuomo and other Democrats by making non-matched private donations off-limits to candidates.
“The bottom two-thirds of us really have a hard time making ends meet, and our political representatives — representing the 1 percent, the big banks and the corporations — have utterly failed to solve these problems,” Hawkins said.