From Green Party Presidential Candidate Ian Schlakman at Medium.
The Green Party, just like the Democratic Party, is in the thick of its own Presidential Primary. As Greens, we are very familiar with other parties rigging elections and playing dirty tricks to help their corrupt candidates. Of course Greens are pro-democracy and fight for fair and open elections all over the country. Democracy is even part of our party’s four main pillars.
So of course we’re obliged to have a fair, transparent, open and unbiased primary, right? Believe it or not Green Party Presidential hopeful Howie Hawkins and his campaign team don’t think we need an unbiased primary.
It all started with a tweet from the Green Party’s Official Twitter Account:
Imagine if the Democratic Party decided to only tweet the campaign launch event of Joe Biden after very carefully not tweeting about any of the other candidates that had declared before him. Every other campaign and their supporters would be rightfully outraged. But that’s what the Green Party suddenly decided to do.
I couldn’t believe that the official Green Party (GP) Twitter account tweeted this because around this time there had been about about seven other candidates, myself included, that had already announced their campaign.
Where do I get that number? On the Green Party’s own public Presidential Primary News Page. Clearly someone inside the party knew about the other candidates and as they are keeping a list of them, but they decided to only promote Hawkins.
While the Green Party won’t be selecting our presidential nominee for a year and a half, the race for the 2020 Green…www.gp.org
The fact that Hawkins received special treatment in the form of a tweet using the official GP Twitter account is a clear sign that someone or some group inside the Green Party is maneuvering to promote Hawkins and leave out every other candidate by never tweeting any of the other Presidential Candidates campaign announcements.
My team didn’t take this sort of brazen and biased promotion of another candidate lying down. We quickly went to work checking every tweet the GP Twitter page had put out from Dec 2018 to May 2019 to see if other campaigns were promoted in the same way. We triple checked, and the answer was no. Only Hawkins received this special treatment.
So we replied to this tweet with a simple question for the GPUS.
Here is a copy of the Joint Letter From the Presidential Campaigns asking for basic fairness that I referenced in my tweet. https://bit.ly/2KrfAEy
The GP Presidential Campaign Support Committee responded to the Joint Letter. Here is a copy of their response. They call for more transparency, fairness, and recommend some guidelines, but say that they can’t really do anything to stop folks not following the guidelines. https://bit.ly/2Y06e60
Introducing Howie Hawkins’ Undemocratic Bullies
Apparently just asking this question caused quite the stir behind the scenes. Before I get into that I’ll just share with you the email I received from one of Hawkins’ senior team members Kevin Zeese.
Since I can’t trust someone that would write such a crazy email to speak the truth, I’ll take a moment to say that I was told by the Hawkins team that Zeese is Hawkins’ Press Secretary. I can’t say for certain if he retained that title, but here are three screenshots of Hawkins’ own Presidential Campaign website that clearly show that Zeese is the main media contact for Hawkins. (The contact info isn’t redacted as it is publicly available on Hawkins’ website.)
I used to very much admire Zeese. When others in the Green Party would bemoan about Zeese’s legendary long, nasty, and punitive emails over Green Party listservs, I would defend him. I won’t talk about his personal business, but I will point out that I took over from what was supposed to be Zeese’s run for Governor, here in Maryland when it became clear he couldn’t run. At the time he was grateful and seemed ready to pass the torch to a younger generation of Greens.
However, the email I received from him was classic old school Kevin. It was so nasty, belittling, and demeaning. It was clearly designed to make me feel like an insignificant pissant. It’s so important to keep in mind that this email came to me after a simple question I tweeted to the GP about how fairly it would treat all candidates. It’s insane that a simple question about fairness caused this sort of reaction from Hawkins’ top media person.
The press and media folk in a Presidential Campaign are literally the face of the campaign to the public. Zeese is a well-connected activist with a history of activism that I deeply respect, but anyone who has corresponded with him over email in any meaningful capacity knows this vicious side of him comes out if you dare to disagree with him. Countless Greens at various levels of the party have complained about this directly to Hawkins, but time and again Hawkins puts controversial bullies into key positions on his team.
Andrea Mérida Cuéllar
But what is even more scary about the Hawkins team is that Kevin Zeese is hardly the most controversial figure. Let me take just a moment to introduce you to Andrea Mérida Cuéllar.
Mérida is perhaps the most infamous figure in the Green Party. It would take hours, maybe even days to discuss how awful Mérida is. There are whole websites dedicated to exposing how awful and anti-democratic Mérida is. I’m not going to take the time to rehash the countless amount of complaints there are against Mérida. Instead I’ll just post this excerpt and link:
Excerpt from Report on Standing Rock Concern from Green Party Indigenous Women Concern 1 of 7:
"Andrea assumed control of our group undemocratically and made unilateral, authoritarian decisions that were hostile to the Standing Rock people, culture and Elders. She was disdainful of our suggestions as Indigenous Greens for showing respect and building community with the Indigenous people."
You’d think Hawkins would be sure to keep such a divisive figure away from being a key figure in his campaign. In fact, I know firsthand that many Greens have privately asked him to keep his distance from her. His response? Hawkins made Andrea Mérida Cuéllar his campaign manager. It seems to be a recent promotion from her old role which was campaign co-chair. Now there’s no one more higher ranking in all of Hawkins’ campaign than Mérida.
More National Committee Corruption
It should also be of note that GP National Steering Committee Members Margaret Flowers and Tony Ndege also openly and proudly support Hawkins, despite having the most critical roles inside our party as Green Party (GP) US Co-Chairs. This includes Mérida, who’s also a GPUS Co-Chair. That means three of the seven Co-Chairs openly support Hawkins. And if that’s not bad enough, most of the national committees, https://gpus.org/committees/ have a blatant Hawkins supporter on those committees.
Why is that a problem? Because as Zeese referenced in the email he sent me, the Hawkins team has no desire to have a fair primary. In fact, Zeese is on the media committee that decides things like what the party tweets out, https://gpus.org/committees/media/media-committee-members/ . The reason he’s so angry in the email he sent me is because, after my complaint tweet, rational and fair-minded members of the media committee deleted the pro-Hawkins tweet and are now blocking him and other openly biased Hawkins supporters from turning our Green Party into a 24/7 Hawkins promotion machine.
We Demand a Fair Primary Election
It’s unconscionable to turn a blind eye to this sort of blatant corruption happening in our party. There are plenty of excellent candidates running for the Green Party Nomination. And some haven’t even fully declared yet.
We’ll have no credibility as a party if we allow this to continue. This use of insider tactics to rig the primary is straight out of the playbook for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. They have no place in the Green Party. These openly biased Steering and Committee Members should be immediately suspended from their positions in the Green Party until the primary is over.