Could Hawaii see another political party? Aloha Aina hopes to join the mix
There's a group working to create another political party in the islands ahead of the 2020 Elections. The proposed party is called Aloha Aina and it aims to advocate for more rights for Native Hawaiians. Leaders say they want to start their own party because they're frustrated with how current state leadership handles issues related to Native Hawaiians like the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea and the wind turbine project in Kahuku.
"I see the administration totally different so I want change," Donald Kaulia, an Aloha Aina Party co-founder, said. "A leadership from the local people here that understand that we've been controlled by a dominant party for so long."
This isn't the first time Aloha Aina tried to register. Organizers say there was enough support in 2014 with more than 1,500 signatures. But it couldn't qualify because more than half were non-registered voters. So founders are trying again this year. They already requested a petition from the state to start. Now it needs support from 757 registered voters by February 20 next year to move forward. One supporter agrees it's time for change.
"You look at what Mauna Kea started, so much people getting involved now. I feel like it's the right time to ride that wave and just continue the momentum into the voting booth and hopefully that's what happens," Daniel Carreiro, a Kaneohe resident, said.
Some political analysts say there's a long road ahead for this proposed party.
"If you're a third party, you have to figure out a way to overcome that because Democrat Republican, especially in today's world is the most powerful cue that people have in deciding how to vote," Neal Milner, political analyst, said.
Milner believes one of the challenges is convincing people who are already a part of a political party to switch sides. Another issue: getting enough votes in an election.
"In order to win office, you need one more than half the vote and if there's anything that's kept third parties or minor parties from being successful at the state level, at the national level. It's been that kind of number," Milner said.
Low voter turn out is also a problem in the state. There was more than 741,000 registered voters in 2018 but less than 40 percent showed up to the polls.
"That's our strategic plan, is to target those 400,000 registered voters to come on our side," Kaulia said.
Organizers believe they can become the change they want to see with this movement.
KITV4 also asked the Aloha Aina Party who some of the candidates would be if the party becomes official. Kaulia wouldn't say but did tell me about three dozen people from communities statewide are interested to represent the party.