from Gifer

On the Green Party’s Opposition to HR1

15 min readMar 10, 2021

I’ve long admired the idealism of many members, and leaders, of the Green Party in America. Like their allies across the world, the Greens have consistently pushed for the most important substantive policy reforms that America—and the world—needs.

But the party’s announced opposition to HR1 is astonishingly parochial: In its essence, its argument is just this: it hurts us, so Congress should oppose it. That’s not quite fair as a summary—there are parts of HR1 the Greens like, and Howie Hawkins (the 2020 Green candidate for President) calls on Congress to pass those while removing the campaign finance reforms. Yet everyone knows that in a practical political sense, that is not an option. Congress will either pass HR1 or it won’t. If it doesn’t, it will be devastating for majoritarian democracy in America. And if it doesn’t because the Greens have convinced enough of the Left to go cold on this reform, well at least we won’t be talking about 2000 anymore.

As I’ve argued many times before, HR1 is the most important democracy reform legislation to pass the House since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 was pretty important too, but its most important provisions were eliminated or rendered irrelevant, so let’s leave that in the dustbin of history.)

The bill is an omnibus reform package that would:

  1. disable state efforts to suppress the vote,
  2. end partisan gerrymandering for congressional districts,
  3. provide — for the first time in history—public funding for congressional elections,
  4. add ethics regulations to the Supreme Court, Congress, and the President,
  5. and, most concerning to the Green Party, change and update the public funding system for presidential campaigns.

When I began my work in this field 14 years ago, I could never have imagined that such a bill would be passed by the House and, if filibuster rules can be modified in the Senate, by the Senate as well. I especially couldn’t have imagined it passing when there’s a President who has promised to sign it. (The D̶e̶e̶p ̶ Money State would never allow it!) We are unimaginably close to the most important democracy reform in two generations. We can’t let this slip.


law professor, activist.