by Howie Hawkins
I need your help to bust through the media "greenout." Please take a few minutes to write a letter to the editor of your newspaper or to the producer of a news or public affairs broadcast you watch urging them to cover the Green campaign.
You can pick a policy you like that I am advocating and say Howie Hawkins deserves coverage for it. See my platform for policies.
Or you can say you are a progressive trying to make up your mind between Andrew Cuomo, Cynthia Nixon, and Howie Hawkins, but you need more coverage of Hawkins to do it.
Or take another approach. The point is to let the media know people want coverage of the Green campaign.
You can also help by becoming a social media activist. If the corporate media won’t cover us, we will have to get the word out by social media. Share and like our facebook posts to your networks, and retweet (not just like) our tweets.
My campaign puts out media releases, op-eds, facebook posts, and tweets on the issues we face on a daily basis. Check out the news blog on my website.
The media only promotes the candidates of the two corporate parties. They admit they focus more on “the horse race” than the issues. The horse race is driven by campaign contributions. And they focus what they can sell as entertainment. The media covered Trump’s campaign incessantly as a new reality TV show in order to boost their ratings – and advertising revenue. It propelled Trump to the White House.
Now the media is starstruck with actress Cynthia Nixon. As she challenges Gov. Cuomo in the Democratic primary with Working Families Party backing, the media give regular coverage to self-styled “progressive” Democrats, which includes Cuomo as well as Nixon, Bill DeBlasio, Zephyr Teachout, and the rest of the WFP-endorsed Democrats.
The media defines these Democrats as “the left” and ignores the Greens ...
- even though the Green Party got more votes for governor in 2014 than Cuomo got on the Working Families Party line.
- even though Nixon joined Cuomo to support Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
- even though a Nixon spokesperson did not answer a question about whether Nixon voted for Cuomo in 2014.
- even though the Greens democratic eco-socialist positions are distinctly to the left of the socially-liberal but economically-conservative “progressive” Democrats.
This media framework is reflected in the broader progressive movement, which seems to be scared so stupid by Trump that they can’t see the damage that so-called “progressive” Democratic leaders are doing right before their eyes.
On housing, Nixon is a big De Blasio supporter even though his housing policies promote the gentrification and displacement that is driving the working class out of New York City. Reflecting the wishes of his real estate industry donor base, De Balsio’s is upzoning low-income neighborhoods to build highrise towers that jack up rents all around them. He’s giving a good concept – inclusionary zoning – a bad name. The affordable units set aside in the highrises don’t begin to replace the affordable units lost in the neighborhood and charge rents far too high for most neighborhood residents. Greens are calling for community-controlled zoning, stronger rent controls and tenant protections statewide, and a large-scale expansion of affordable housing by building new high-quality public housing that is mixed-income, scatter-site, humanly-scaled, and powered by clean energy.
On climate change, Nixon joined the Democratic Assembly leadership in promoting a bill for 100% clean energy by 2050 instead of the bill reflecting what Greens have been championing for a decade – 100% clean energy by 2030, which the climate science says industrial economies like New York’s must do if the planet is to avert runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. Cuomo remains stuck at 50% by 2030 for electric power only, ignoring buildings, transportation, and agriculture which account for 75% of our carbon footprint.
On health care, the Trump administration seeks to dismantle the few protections that we now have from the predatory health insurance companies, like discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions. Now they seek an average 24% rate hike in New York. Yet Nixon has yet to put the single-payer NY Health Act in her website platform. It hasn’t been a priority for Cuomo, Nixon, or the Democratic legislative leadership.
On education, Nixon has long worked with the Alliance for Quality Education to support full funding of public schools. But they have not fought against the other two pillars of institutionalized race and class inequality in public schools that my campaign is fighting to end: the most segregated schools in the nation and the high-stakes testing used to justify the privatization of high-poverty schools into privately-managed charter schools. That is why I sought out public school teachers who are leading progressive education reformers, Brian Jones in 2014 and Jia Lee in 2018, to be my Lt. Governor running mates.
On the property taxes, the media ignored my plan last week to repeal the tax cap and cut property taxes, while it covered the debate among Cuomo, Nixon, and Republican Marc Molinaro on how to administer the tax cap. Our plan to cut property taxes by making the state pay for its unfunded mandates on local government, fully funding Foundation Aid for schools, and restoring revenue sharing with local governments, and paying for it by taxing the unearned income of the 1%, is clearly the progressive option on that question.
On broadband, net neutrality expired on Monday and a federal court approved the ATT-Time Warner merger on Tuesday. Zephyr Teachout immediately put out a fund appeal saying she would emphasize anti-trust litigation as Attorney General. But we don’t gain if four instead of three giant internet service monopolies dominate the market. Internet access with net neutrality must become a right if freedom of speech is to have any practical reality with today’s communications technologies. The Green platform seeks to secure this right through a democratic socialist approach: a public broadband utility, operating at cost for public benefit and not for private profit, to provide faster connections at lower rates with net neutrality. Public broadband, not trust-busting alone, is the practical progressive alternative that deserves media coverage.
The choice among gubernatorial tickets in the general election will be between progressive Greens, centrist Democrats, and conservative Republicans. But if the media narrative doesn’t change, it will be presented as choice between self-styled “progressive” Democrats, Cuomo and/or Nixon, and the conservative Republican, Marc Molinaro.
Please write those letters and share our messages on social media. Let’s change the way the election is framed in the media and the public’s mind.
p.s. Thank you to everyone who gave in response to yesterday's call for grassroots fundraising of this campaign. If you have not yet had a moment to contribute online, our entire team would greatly appreciate whatever you can afford to donate.