Hawkins: They’re looking at one little weed in the whole forest and they’re not dealing with the whole forest, which is what has really impacted, say, the presidential elections? Black-voter suppression going back to what Kathleen Harris did in Florida [as the state’s secretary of state during the contested 2000 presidential election], even before you get to the vote count and the hanging chads and all that. If the Black vote hadn’t been suppressed like it was in Florida, [Al] Gore would have easily won. In 2016, those 75,000 votes were never counted in Detroit. It was the Greens in court trying to get them counted, and we didn’t have standing because, the judge ruled, we couldn’t win the election even if all those votes went to us. But the Clinton lawyers were there, and the judge asked them if they wanted to get involved. They said, “Oh, no, we’re just observing.” And then they turn around and blame us.
Dovere: Kanye West is also running, saying he’s the candidate of the Birthday Party—though he doesn’t seem to have a clear platform for why he’s running or a clear rationale for it. Should he be on the ballot?
Hawkins: I think Kanye West is a Republican dirty trick. If Roger Stone didn’t think of it, he wished he had. The Birthday Party? I mean, come on. There has to be some criteria for getting on the ballot. Anybody with money can hire petitioners and get on the ballot. There should be some threshold for recognizing parties—a level of organization, so there’s really a base there, and they should be allowed to make their nominations by convention.
Dovere: With Republicans helping the Green Party out, some Democrats would say there’s not much difference between what you’re doing and what West is doing.
Hawkins: Well, I think some people are gullible. I heard Rachel Maddow call us a Republican op the other night. But that doesn’t mean that’s the reality. We are a serious movement. We’ve been around for 35 years. There is a difference. And if people don’t see that, they’re not stopping to think.
Dovere: Many progressives, including Bernie Sanders, have taken the approach that they have to support Biden even if they don’t agree with him, for the sake of stopping Trump. What do you make of that?
Hawkins: The Green Party is a second front against Trump, and the question for progressives like Bernie Sanders is, how are you going to vote against Trump? You’re going to vote for the guy who’s against your signature issue, Medicare for All, or are you going to vote for the Greens, who are for Medicare for All? … You vote for Biden, he’s not for those things. And your support for those things gets lost in the sauce. You’re just another Biden voter. Don’t waste your vote. Make your vote count. Vote for the kind of things you want, and make the politicians come to you.