The Green Party's Election Nominee Is Getting Zero Percent of Searches for 2020 Candidates

The Green Party's presidential nominee, Howie Hawkins, appears to be inspiring little curiosity in voters in the lead-up to November's 2020 election.

According to Google Trends' U.S. Elections in Search 2020 data, so far this week, search interest in Hawkins as a candidate has sat at zero percent.

Speaking with Newsweek on Wednesday after this article was published, Hawkins acknowledged that his campaign has been seeing limited traffic.

"The fact that you pointed that out probably got me more Google traffic," he quipped.

Meanwhile, by early Wednesday morning, interest in President Donald Trump, the Republican incumbent, stood at 52 percent, with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden claiming 46 percent, while the Libertarian Party's candidate, Jo Jorgensen, claimed 2 percent of candidate searches.

While Google is careful to make sure to note on its U.S. Elections in Search platform that search data "should not be considered an indication of voter intent," it does acknowledge that search results providing a clear picture of where interest lies.

Google Trends

And in the lead-up to the 2020 election, Hawkins appears to have generated relatively little interest, particularly when compared to the traction 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein saw at around the same time in her election race.

For many Democrats, it was interest in the Green Party's candidate Jill Stein that may have sealed then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's fate in the 2016 election.

If voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania had voted for Clinton, instead of Stein, the Democratic candidate might have been president of the United States.

While Stein has long faced criticism for her perceived role in costing Clinton the election, there is little to suggest that her dropping out of the race would have guaranteed the former secretary of state's victory.

Either way, this time around, many progressives appear determined to avoid a similar outcome, throwing their support squarely behind the candidate most likely to defeat Trump: Biden.

"The desire to get rid of Trump is so strong [among Democrats], it overwhelms every other consideration and so Biden's winning the nomination was a testament to the overall judgement in the party that he was the best one to defeat Trump and that goal overrode any other consideration," Bruce Wolpe, a senior fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, told Newsweek on Wednesday.

In addition, Wolpe said, Biden's campaign team has also done a good job on "bringing together the strong Green forces" on the left, drawing the backing of supporters for former rivals Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

"They are squarely behind Biden, so there is no room for any Green challenger in this race," Wolpe said.

As a result, he said, "the Green candidate is just not going to have any significant impact on the election."

While Hawkins said he agrees that fear of splitting up the progressive vote has affected his campaign's success, he said he also blames the lack of coverage his campaign has received from the media.

"I think it's because we've been pretty much blanked out of the media," he said. "We're not part of the conversation."

"I'm comparing Jill Stein's coverage to my coverage and it's just not comparable," Hawkins said. "I've got nothing, pretty much nothing, certainly from cable, the big three cable networks. If you're not covering people, they don't know you're out there. It's a chicken and egg thing."

Hawkins further argued that a vote for the Green Party candidate is just that: a vote for the Green Party candidate, not a vote for Trump.

"People need to understand that a vote for the Greens is a vote against Trump. There's a misunderstanding on that," he said. "It's not in Trump's column, it's in the Green column."

Further, Hawkins added, "we bring voters to the polls," meaning that if he were to bow out of the race, for example, that would not mean the votes that might have gone to him would automatically go to Biden.

In a June interview with Politico, Jeff Weaver, a longtime aide for Sanders, appeared to share Wolpe's views, however, asserting that now that left-leaning voters know that "Trump can win" they will be more likely to throw their support behind the candidate most likely to defeat him.

"Even those of us who thought Trump could win thought Hillary Clinton would win, and I think that gave people a license to go vote for third-party candidates," Weaver said. "But that's not the case now. We know Trump can win."

Further, Weaver said he also felt that the Biden campaign had so far "done a much better job of reaching out to the progressive wing of the party and to progressives outside the party in order to bring them in."

For Hawkins, that could mean a far more significant defeat than his predecessor in the 2020 election race.

A more likely threat to Biden's success, Wolpe said, would be rapper Kanye West's entrance into the 2020 race.

However, with West, who is not included on the Google Trends' U.S. Elections in Search 2020 platform, failing to make it onto the ballot in key states that could cause more serious damage to Biden, such as Wisconsin, Wolpe said he believes it is unlikely that West's election run will have a major impact.

West has recently launched a legal challenge against the Wisconsin Elections Commission to get on the presidential ballot and has so far secured spots on the ballot in a number of other states, including Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Minnesota.

Updated (09/09/2020): This article has been updated with comments from Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins.

Howie Hawkins
Then-Green Party nominee for governor, Howie Hawkins, speaks onstage during the 2018 Global Citizen Concert at Central Park, Great Lawn on September 29, 2018 in New York City. Hawkins is now running as the presidential candidate representing the Green Party. Michael Kovac/FilmMagic/Getty