Across the nation, Democrat operatives are trying to kick Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins off the ballot. Is this little more than a push by independently minded rule-sticklers or could it be a concerted effort to increase the likelihood of a Joe Biden presidency? For a party that emits a near-constant screed of exhortations regarding voter enfranchisement, Democrats seem to be working overtime to stop third-ticket voters from exercising their most fundamental right.
Attempts to throw third-party candidates off the ballot is old-hat for both Democrats and Republicans and sadly de rigueur for modern electioneering.
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Montana — three states that represent twenty, ten, and three Electoral College votes respectively — are in the thick of legal battles to ensure the Green Party doesn’t appear on the ballot. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are two big target seats for the Democrats on Nov. 3. In 2016, the Green Party earned almost 50,000 votes in Pennsylvania (Trump won by just 44,000 votes) and in Wisconsin took 31,000 votes (Trump won by less than 23,000).
It is arguable that, without the Green Party on the ticket, these states could turn blue, giving Biden a distinct advantage. It appears Dems are playing for keeps.
The Green Party’s presidential candidate, Hawkins, and running mate Angela Walker were swapped in to replace two other Green Party candidates before the deadline for changes. Elizabeth Faye Scroggin (initially set to represent the party) faxed her legally required affidavit to the Pennsylvania Department of State within the time period permitted. However, it was not printed out by staff, causing delays.
A legal challenge over the hold-up was launched by Clifford Levine, who proudly announced on his LinkedIn profile that he was “recently listed as one of the 50 most influential Democrats in Pennsylvania by Politico Magazine.” Levine’s biography is littered with casework for Democrat politicians, including election challenges and electoral nomination cases.
The challenge also sought to remove candidates for state offices, though this element was later dropped. When asked if the Democratic Party was backing his challenge, Levine replied simply, “They are aware of it.”
A state judge ruled Sept. 9 that Hawkins could remain on the ballot but that Walker must be removed. Hawkins’ campaign manager said:
“[It is] clear that the Democrats are not interested in stating their case to the voters; instead, they engage in party suppression, which is voter suppression, to get an edge.”
In Wisconsin, where Hawkins and Walker face further legal challenges, the state electoral commission refused to put the party on the ballot because the signature petitions included two different addresses for potential VP Walker.
In the few media outlets that address this story, blame appears to shift toward Republicans. Democrats claim that Republicans are trying to help the Green Party candidates get on the ballot.
The linchpin of the Democrat claims is the law firm used by Hawkins to file his petition. The von Briesen & Roper law firm certainly has worked with the Republican Party, but Hawkins’ campaign manager, Andrea Merida, says that after so many turned down her request for help, she turned to the Google search engine to find a willing firm.
If this is the entire case against the GOP, then it is very thin gruel, and the motivations of a litigant to effectuate the constitutionally guaranteed rights of an American are not material.
The Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled in a four-three decision that the Green Party cannot appear on the ballot. According to RT.com, three of the four judges who ruled against Hawkins had their campaigns “funded by Democratic donors and even the party itself.”
In 2016, Wisconsin went to Donald Trump by just 23,000 votes, so the 30,000 votes Jill Stein received in the same election would have been enough to keep the state blue.
The contest in Montana is more about Senate power than Electoral College votes. All Green Party candidates have been stricken from the ballots after a successful challenge by Democrats who “harassed” voters who had signed a petition for the party to participate in the election.
Democrats claimed that the Green Party signature-gathering had been conducted by a company hired by state Republicans and therefore should not be valid. Operatives for the hopeful Dems then approached the signatories and asked them to recant, successfully putting the Greens under the required number needed.
A volunteer for the Green Party described how Democrats got petitioners to renounce their support. She said:
“The Democratic Party had called most of them about 15 to 25 times to badger them to do a withdrawal … One elderly couple told me that they just didn’t feel comfortable saying ‘no’ after the 20th call they received. The Democratic Party even had a third-party notary come to their house to take their withdrawal; I think that scared some people, too — they think, ‘now they know where we live.'”
As Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill so succinctly wrote when the news of the Montana debacle broke:
“Montana: a state filled with cows, horses, majestic scenery, and wide-open spaces. Plenty of room for the Green Party to stretch ideas and policy issues. What has Democrats so paranoid as to suppress the vote and will of the people? It’s all about wresting power away from Republicans in the U.S. Senate.”
But it’s certainly not only Green Party fans who are dismayed by the apparent attempt to undercut the democratic process. Krystal Ball, a co-host of online broadcast Hill TV and former congressional candidate for the Democrats, wrote, “If only the Democratic Party would fight as hard to actually win voters as they are fighting to get the Green Party kicked off the ballot.”
There is far more to this election than Americans casting ballots and a winner being declared. Every trick in the book is being used — by all parties — to gain an electoral edge that will hand them the keys to power. It should come as no surprise that in the game of politics, it is the voters who lose out to intrigue and machination.
Read more from Mark Angelides.