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Hofstra Debate: Mainstream coverage ignores Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins

[For fuller comments on the Governor Debate, see onthewilderside eyewitness account: here.]

I went to the NY Governor Debate at Hofstra tonight. Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor of New York, did pretty good.

It is curious to me why Howie Hawkins has been so overlooked in the main stream media reviews of the debate.

Some cases in point:

Daily News regular paper summary (reposted at blog)- mentions Howie’s name only to mention he sat next to Kristin Davis

Wall Street Journal summary – briefly takes a dig on a “Green Party position” without mentioning Howie’s name, and only mentions Howie Hawkins’ name in the photo caption.

Newsday summary article – gives other third party candidates a text blurb of their answers, Howie only appears in the photo and and photo caption.

(I found a different Newsday story on-line which does mention each a candidate with a blurb: here.)

Since I have been in politics awhile, such a concerted attempt to make someone invisible makes me believe that someone is afraid of that person. I wonder if the status quo news outlets are afraid that Howie Hawkins might actually win the Governor race, or that the Green Party might earn ballot status?

Clearly, there must be a reason that Jimmy McMillan, Warren Redlich, and Kristin Davis all seemed more quote-worthy than Howie Hawkins. If it was one article, I would say it was just odd, or the reporters take. But, this is four articles in three different papers.



Realized I could offer one solution to the problem! A Green Party leader from Suffolk uploaded Howie Hawkins’ closing comments on youtube. See for yourself how well Howie did:



*Someone else noticed the omission at The Daily Politics blog, and posted a great comment, including the following: “I’m not surprised that you did not even mention the name of Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, who offered the most coherent and substantive proposals of anyone on that stage.”

19 Responses

  1. Quotable things Hawkins said:

    That the MTA is an ATM for the banks by constantly borrowing money and paying interest.

    His explanation of how NY could have a $25 billion surplus instead of a $9 billion dollar deficit starting with stopping the rebate of the stock transfer tax to the rich people.

    That the Green party started the ball rolling on Same-Sex marriage when Green Party Mayor Jason West and Deputy Mayor Rebecca Rotzler of New Paltz performed same-sex marriages in NY.

    That he would institute a prosperity plan instead of an austerity plan.

    That he would set up an Employment office rather than an unemployment office with the state as employer of last resort.

    That the medicaid funding issues would be solved, and the budget would save money, byt making NY a single payer healthcare system.

  2. Get real, Kim! I doubt any “status quo news outlets are afraid that Howie Hawkins might actually win the Governor race”! Yes, there may be a concerted effort to prevent the GP from getting enough traction to get 50K votes and ballot status, but nobody on Planet Reality gives Hawkins a snowball’s chance in hell to beat Cuomo.

    One thought I had when the woman from the environmental group who asked the hydrofracking, etc questions (answer all that in 60 seconds? Impossible! Howie should have just said, “Go to gpnys.org for a complete environmental platform!”), when she said the group had 80,000 members… “Damn, if ONLY EACH member of that group voted for the Green candidates, that would be the ballgame for ballot status!” But, hey, in 2002 and 2006 we couldn’t get each registered GP voter to even vote, much less bring ONE other voter to the polls to vote Green on the gov line those last two gov races, which would have sealed the deal, so the chances of THAT happening seem just as remote.

    Finally, I noticed one commenter who said Hawkins came across “angrily.” I’d say that he did seem a bit too “aggressive” and loud; a smile and some humor and more pleasant, friendly demeanor might have been better over the TV. Redlich and Barron came across as more calm, approachable, self-assured; angry always doesn’t work on TV, a cool medium.

    Although I can appreciate someone who slings lots of stats, once Howie started throwing out lots of numbers, I bet the average viewer fogged out; he may have been TOO detail-oriented. Barron had the right mix of sensible positions backed with accessible audience-friendly language; if I didn’t feel obliged to give Howie a shot at the 50K (I already voted by absentee ballot), Barron would have gotten my vote. (Interesting that Barron was the ONLY person there currently holding an elective office.)

    • Good to hear from you, Steve. And, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I always like to believe that there is some hope for any good cause. So, I won’t take it back about Howie maybe winning. Though, I will offer this scenario as a middle ground: I wonder if some news outlets think that Howie and the Green Party might take SECOND PLACE (ie: partly because Paladino is so bad.) That would be difficult for the duopoly, too. Because, NY State law makes it so that whichever two parties pull the most votes for Governor, are the two parties that control the local and state Boards of Elections. So, maybe you will allow me that as a more reasonable possibility?


      I did want to point out that the woman who asked the environmental question was Adrienne Esposito from Citizens Campaign from the Environment. Ian and I have worked with her and that group before on some level – mostly posting their items. They are okay. Though, I wish they were more willing to be out-of-the-box on politics. I think she asked the question less for the audience and the debate that evening, and more to be on the record to all of the candidates, and be demanding answers from them later in some way.

      I don’t think Howie came off as “angry”. It’s funny how differently you and I experienced it. (Though, I was live, and you watched on TV). I think Howie is usually “too dry” for my taste. I thought he was more positively passionate and inspiring than usual. I do think he quoted too many numbers. If he stuck to ideas, like his MTA/ATM thought about the MTA borrowing money, he could have kept the audience with him more.

      Overall, I think Howie did well. I think it was a good night for the Green Party. (Though, I guess there was the potential for a great night…)

      • Even second place for Hawkins is a snowball’s chance in Timbuktu, if not Hell. People have to stop buying their own desires or hype as reality; in spite of this debate, which I’m sure the vast majority of voters never even saw, most voters still will go into the booth and see Howie’s name for the first time, if they even bother to go past the first two names.

        Further, as before, except that there’s no Gallisano to buy the Independence Party a line, more than enough voters will go for Cuomo on the WP line, and Paladino on the Conservative line to keep those lines alive. Legacy voting can’t be discounted, so Paladino will still come in second, with maybe ten times or more what Hawkins gets. I owe you a nice bottle of wine or something if the GP comes in second on ANYTHING.

        *I* didn’t say *I* thought he came off as “angry”; I said someone ELSE said he came off “angrily”! I thought he seemed “a bit too aggressive and loud” the way he leaned forward and raised his voice and pitch and scowled more than smiled. It just didn’t seem to work in THIS venue as well as it might have, particularly as a first impression.

        I bet McMillan gets the greatest boost in votes from this, because he at least stood out as a character, and protest voters who can’t abide Palladino as a protest vote might go for McMillan as a hoot. ( I know of some who voted for Grandpa Munster for just such a hoot.) I don’t believe in the siphoning spoiler premise, but I wager that if you add the RITDH votes, the Anti-P votes, and the Freedom votes, and assume some percentage WOULD otherwise go to the GP IF they weren’t there, that there will be the margin that could guarantee the GP 50K, and if he comes short, as McCourt did, it will be those who didn’t realize the GP stands for what those single-issue parties stands for and more who could have been the missed opportunity.

        I would have loved to see Malachy in that crowd! It would have been his element and he would have likely been the big story instead of Mr. Rent is TOO DAAAAAANNMMMMM High!

    • That’s not true. Cuomo is the elected Attorney General.

      Having never known anything about Howie before, I was stunned by how much I agreed with him, and I liked his manner and attitude. I thought he did great, but judging by polling apparently nobody agrees with me.

      • Dear Raffi,

        Thanks for commenting.

        I do not understand what your “that’s not true” refers to.


        I am glad that you like Howie Hawkins as a candidate. You made a reference to low polls. I wanted to point out that some of the polls today had the premise of who did best in the debate. And, for some people, they picked Jimmy McMillan, partly because he was entertaining. I think that is a big difference with a poll of who people will vote for. So, I think that Howie Hawkins probably has more fans and future voters than you think.

      • Wow, of course! Brain freeze on my part! Shows how little Cuomo pointed that out compared to mentioning his former HUD job.

        Howie DID do fine, if this were an Oxford University debate! But it was really a vaudeville venue where short-attention spans predominated and simple imagery was required.

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  5. Just saw Hawkins and Nader on YNN’s Capital Report where they had 15 minutes of relatively friendly questions. Howie was much more relaxed and self-contained, and came across more confident and less pressured. Even his accent seemed less pronounced. Ralph also made some good points to bolster Howie’s platform positions, and finessed a question about his own possible run in 2012.

    Did anyone know this was going to be on? I’ll check to see if it’s on YNN’s website.

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