Marc Lamont Hill on why he’s voting Democrat instead of third party this election
EXCLUSIVE: The TV host and author explains why he's voted for the Green Party over the past two decades, and why this year he's voting for Biden.
Acclaimed author, TV host and professor Marc Lamont Hill made headlines when he announced that he was voting Democrat for the first time, as previously reported by theGrio. Immediately, the assumption from the public was that he had been voting down the Republican ticket line.
While the best-selling author clarified that he was a member of the Green Party, he went into further detail during his appearance as a panelist on theGrio’s special weekly virtual town hall, Vote For Your Life.
On a panel with theGrio‘s owner Byron Allen, actress Taraji P. Henson, White House correspondent April Ryan and host and theGrio’s VP of Digital Content, Natasha S. Alford, Hill got to get in-depth on both why he voted for the Green Party for over two decades and what prompted him to vote Democrat in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
Hill said he voted for the Green Party as far back as the 2000 election, which featured Republican nominee George W. Bush running for president against Democratic nominee Al Gore. The Green Party is independent, which operates on the public’s enhancement via “four pillars” of “Peace and Non-Violence, Ecological Wisdom, Grassroots Democracy, and Social Justice,” as stated on their site gp.org.
Hill said that he’s been voting for the Green Party ticket for “strategic reasons” that go beyond just voting for the Oval Office.
“I believe in local elections and you can win local elections, and I think, a lot of times, we focus on the presidential elections,” Hill explained. “Whether or not your library stays open, whether or not you can have a gender-neutral bathroom, whether or not you’ve got a mayor or governor with sense enough to shut things down when everybody’s got COVID, these are the types of things that local decision making can guide.”
With that logic, Hill contends that the principles that are highlighted by Green Party candidates are principles that he feels will be the best fits for government on the local levels, and that are more “in line with my politics and my values.”
Hill also mentions that the Green Party is an example values and politics that should be practiced by other parties, without simply being lip service. This is particularly true in the case of federal government. Hill thinks that with more help and support, the Green Party could at least pressure the Democrats to fall in line.
“And in terms of presidential elections, for me, part of the conversation always been, how can we get that three percent, that five percent national vote so that we can get federal funding so that we can build a movement because at some point we have to drag the Democrats in the direction we want to be.”
Hill believes that such influence has happened for other movements to other parties, citing how the Tea Party swayed the Republicans so far to the right, that it led to the Donald Trump Presidency.
Hill is no fan of Trump, but is not a fan of Democrats much, either. Therefore, with strategy being a big part of his voting rationale, he recognizes that as a resident of Pennsylvania, a state where Trump won in 2016 by a slim margin of 68,000 votes, voting Green Party in the presidential election will not do.
“What will that lead to? And for me, the answer this time was it could lead to another four years of Trump,” Hill said.
In 2016, Hill advocated for strategic balloting and vote trading. His message to Black voters was to vote Democrat in the swing states to stop Trump from winning, but for voters from a Blue state to “vote their conscience” if they didn’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton either. However, after Trump’s victory and subsequent term, Hill has modified his stance and advice for voters who want Trump out of Washington.
“I’m saying we need a referendum. We need to send a message. I don’t just want Trump just to lose. I need him to lose by 40 states. I need an ass whopping. I need this to be like Mike Tyson in ’88, you know what I mean? I need this look devastating,” he said.
Hill’s yearning for a landslide victory for Democratic nominees Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will, as he believes, be a warning to the Republican Party that a future Trump clone will not be tolerated going forward.
“We also need to send a message to other Republicans that we can’t ever stomach another one of these again. We need nobody to ever believe that they can follow Trump and ride his coattails into the White House. We need to dismantle this thing altogether.”
But Hill’s choice to cross party lines are also personal.
The coronavirus pandemic kept him from being able to visit his ailing 92-year-old father in the hospital. Concurrently, cities everywhere were protesting the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in public, despite the risk of COVID-19 exposure. His desire to both protest injustice against Black people in Philadelphia or see his sick dad was put in jeopardy by the pandemic, putting Hill in a predicament that infuriated him. A predicament that felt all too familiar.
“So at that moment, I was deciding to stay at home and not fight because they’re killing us, or do I go outside and risk COVID, which could kill me or somebody that I love,” Hill explained.
“That moment of having to decide which way would I resist death today? Which way will I fight death today? Which way would I navigate, negotiate or wrestle with death today? That’s what it means to be Black in America. And Democrat or Republican ain’t going to change that. But the difference is when Donald Trump is president, nobody’s even looking. We’re already on fire, but he’s pouring gasoline on it. People are dying.”
Hill, who tested positive for coronavirus in July, says that another four years of Trump is literally a matter “of life and death” and with over 225,000 people dead — many of them Black and Brown Americans — Hill has decided not to vote for Green Party in the 2020 election, and will instead vote Democrat.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!