Between April 2014 and April of this year, the number of active registered Democratic voters in New York State grew 3.6 percent. Registration in the Republican party edged up about three-tenths of a percent. The Conservative and Working Families Parties both shrank, as did the Independence Party.
The Green Party, meanwhile, saw its registration leap 22 percent.
It’s hard to say why the Green Party’s membership—at 26,500, it’s still very small in the context of the state’s 11.3 million active voters—has increased that much since the last state election cycle. Maybe the Bernie Sanders candidacy made the Green’s brand of “ecological socialism” more popular, or maybe the matchup of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made the major parties more toxic.
But there were signs before the fateful ’16 national race that the Greens were becoming a bigger force in the state: From 2010 to 2014, their share of the vote in gubernatorial races jumped from 1.3 percent to 4.7 percent. To put that 2014 figure in context, consider this: The Greens’ 184,000 votes were more than Cuomo received on the Working Families, Independence or Women’s Equality party lines.
In 2018, the Greens have again decided to eschew fusion voting–where they cross-nominate someone on a major party line like the WFP, Conservatives, Independence and Women’s Equality parties usually do–and endorse their own candidate, Howie Hawkins, running for governor for the third consecutive cycle.
Hawkins, a retired Teamster who packed trucks for UPS for 20 years, has sought elected office 20-some-odd times and never won. But he told 112BK on Tuesday that he can make an impact without getting the most votes.
“When you fuse with the Democrats, say as the Working Families party does, you get lost in the sauce. You get taken for granted. Progressive votes are not distinguishable when it comes to the general election,” Hawkins said. “The five percent we got? Everyone know what we stood for.”
“I think we have more power being independent. We have more leverage.”
Hawkins discussed his platform, his plan for making an impact despite having only $76 in his campaign account at last report, and whether or not Democratic frontrunner Cuomo and Republican nominee Marc Molinaro are distinguishable.