Up until now most progressive Americans have been backing the “lesser evil” in the US presidential contest. They don’t particularly like Hillary Clinton’s establishment politics but they’ve been scared into her camp because Donald Trump is so terrible.
Many of these progressives were Bernie Sanders supporters, some of whom are now moving to the Green candidate Jill Stein. They will feel more comfortable voting for Stein now the Trump campaign imploding and Hillary Clinton a sure bet. In most states (outside the “battleground” states) voting for a third party candidate like Stein does not affect the final result. If you are living in New York, California or Massachusetts, where Clinton has a massive lead, voting for Stein is any easy option for those who don’t like Clinton’s conservatism. Stein polls better in such states. A recent New York poll (NBC, 26 September) put her on 5%.
Of course, Jill Stein suffers from minimal coverage in the mainstream media but some of the alternative media are taking her seriously. Democracy Now’s video streaming of the latest Trump/Clinton debate was enlivened by inserting after each segment comments from the Green candidate.
Stein said that “the American people have very serious issues before us, and we need to get past this debate over whether Hillary or Donald is more corrupt, who has the more offensive history.”
She pointed out that one of the leading candidates “represents the billionaire class, the other candidate represents the donors—or, I should say, her donors represent that billionaire class.” She talked about “transformative solutions” including an “emergency jobs program” to address climate change and create “20 million good-wage jobs to transform our economy to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, a healthy and sustainable food system, and public transportation which is efficiently and renewably powered, and restoring our ecosystems.” Like Bernie Sanders she advocated “medicare-for-all”.
Funding for such needed programmes was held up because “almost half of your income taxes are going to this massive Defense Department, which is not really not a Defense Department, it is an offense department,” she said, noting that “the Obama administration is now bombing seven countries.” Stein challenged the hawkish approach Clinton took during the debate, including her proposal for a no-fly zone over Syria: “To present a no-fly zone here as a solution is extremely dangerous. A no-fly zone means we are going to war with Russia.” She noted that Clinton had “led the charge into Libya and created that catastrophe, which led to the release of huge stockpiles of arms and incredible violence and catastrophic situation in Libya, all of which helped fan the flames in Syria.”
The Green candidate was looking beyond the election and saw her campaign helping build “a strong movement and a strong political voice to that movement to continue fighting against this rule by the economic and political elite that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent.” She was optimistic about the prospects for progressive change, even when the presidency leaves a lot to be desired. Stein recalled the movement successes even under such a regressive president as Richard Nixon: “under this terrible president, we achieved bringing the troops home from Vietnam, women’s right to choose, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, protections for workers in the workplace, because we, the people, were standing up and leading the charge towards the kinds of policies that we actually deserve. It’s important for us to lead with the politics of courage. The politics of fear, unfortunately, has delivered everything we were afraid of.”