The Minor Candidates: The Green Jill Stein
For a description of the effect the two third-party candidates might have this year, see Rachel Alexander’s Will the Third Party Candidates Count for Once?.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein previously ran for president in 2012, receiving 0.4 percent of the vote — her 470,000 votes only 64.4 million behind Barack Obama and more importantly, 800,000 behind her fellow third-party candidate, Libertarian Gary Johnson. But she did get seven times as many votes as the actress Roseanne Barr, who had wanted to be the Green Party candidate.
Stein and her husband are both physicians. She describes herself as an agnostic, although she attended a Reform Jewish synagogue while growing up. She is an activist on environmental issues, gaining national recognition in the late 1990s for protesting coal plants in Massachusetts, which she referred to as “The Filthy Five.” She has run for numerous political offices but never won any of them, except member of the Lexington (Massachusetts) Town Meeting.
Her running mate is human rights activist Ajamu Baraka, known for referring to NATO as “gangster states.” His website describes him as being “at the forefront of efforts to apply the international human rights framework to social justice advocacy in the U.S.” and as “a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.”
Stein’s agenda includes “an emergency Green New Deal,” calling climate change “the greatest threat to humanity in our history.” She wants to nationalize the Federal Reserve, increase mass transit, raise the minimum wage to $15 and legalize marijuana. Under her administration, she also wants housing to be “guaranteed,” Obamacare to be transformed into a single-payer system, college to be free, and all student loan debt to be cancelled.
She supports reparations for black Americans and has called for freeing police-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, a popular leftist cause. (She also calls for freeing Indian leader Leonard Pelltier, in prison for killing two FBI agents in 1975.) She opposes charter schools and computers in schools, believing that wireless internet damages children’s brains.
The Green Party candidate of course favors radical environmental policies; she wants to create 20 million green jobs to address the “national emergency” of climate change and for the U.S. to have 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
To pay for her ambitious plans, Stein would raise taxes on the rich and cut defense spending by at least 50 percent.
Stein’s foreign policy is as radical as her domestic policy and openly anti-Israel. Her platform calls for losing all of 700+ foreign military bases and withdrawing all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. America “must take the lead in nuclear disarmament by itself starting to disarm.” The nation must also “End the destructive US economic and military intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations,” which, her platform argues, “serves the interests of multinational corporations and global capitalism over the interests of the vast majority of the citizens of those nations.”
She has criticized the Israeli government for “apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law.” She considers Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a war criminal and supports a boycott of Israel.
Stein’s Arrests, the Media’s Uninterest
A warrant was put out for her arrest on Wednesday by a North Dakota county court, after she spray-painted “I approve this message” on a bulldozer during a protest of the Dakota Access pipeline. Both Stein and her running mate face charges of criminal trespass and criminal mischief.
This isn’t the first time Stein has been arrested while running for president. In August 2012, she was arrested for participating in a sit-in in a bank to protest home foreclosures. A couple of months later she was arrested for trying to force her way into the presidential debate at Hofstra University, to protest being excluded from participating. And later that month, she was arrested for criminal trespass, trying to deliver food and supplies to environmental activists camped out in trees protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.
Despite having leftist positions close to many journalists’, Stein won’t be getting any help from the media. The left-leaning Washington Post’s coverage is typical, referring to Stein’s long-shot chance as “Jill Stein’s fairy-tale candidacy.” The staff editorialized that her “policy ideas are poorly formed and wildly impractical.” Similarly, The Los Angeles Times opined, ” Stein has few executable policy plans.”
Rachel will be publishing a similar article analyzing the Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson next.
Follow Rachel on Twitter at rach_ic.