Alright, I think it’s time we nip this Jill Stein for president business in the bud. As a staunch Bernie supporter, I admittedly found Jill Stein appealing for about a day. Okay, maybe two. I followed her social media pages. Watched a bunch of videos. Blah blah blah. But then I thought about US political history and the potential ramifications of an idealist vote. And a few other things (more on this later). I promptly did an about-face and sulked back to my crumbling party.
Bernie Sanders has been an independent for — ever? He could’ve run an indie campaign, but he knew, he knew his voice would never get heard the same way. That our voices would never get heard that way. So he took one for the team and jumped into the murky, shady, two-party-ticket pool. If Bernie had not run as a democrat, very, very few people would be talking about Jill Stein. Stein has simply had the luxury of riding on Bernie’s historic coattails. That’s no disrespect to her. I believe in her platform. I believe she absolutely gets it. But she’s going about it the wrong way. See, where Bernie would’ve been a democratic president, Stein seeks to be a Green president. It’s a lot easier to sell a Dem nominee than a Green to the general public. Not everyone is fully engaged in the political realm. They aren’t diving into the archives to understand the Green perspective. In fact, most Americans likely label the Green party as the Hippie Party and move on. Shitty. Inaccurate. But that’s real life. For now at least.
All that could change for the Greens. But the best way for them to do that isn’t by making a ginormous leap of faith for the top seat in the country (world). Bernie over and over has said that change happens from the bottom up. And duh, that’s truth. So wouldn’t the logical step be for Jill Stein and co to run for smaller seats? Appeal first to local communities, show them that their platform is the best one for our country’s future. Instead, Libertarians and Green folk just keep throwing themselves into the lion’s cage, hoping to miraculously come out unbloodied and magically anointed. That’s like RC Cola entering a non-blind taste test. Americans know Coke and Pepsi. Even if RC Cola tastes great, they still aren’t picking it out of the line-up. Hell, they might scrunch their faces and not even take a sip. They are sticking with what they know. But maybe if RC Cola starts showing up here and there, they will be more open to it in the long run. Does that make sense? No? Okay, moving on.
While Bernie says change has to come from the bottom up, I also think he’s given us a great example of change needing to happen from the inside out. He took the democratic establishment on. He wore their uniform and then told them all the ways that they are a fucked up team. We understood his message even more because he was on their team. This method gave his issues a stronger voice. Cast a wider net. Made them resonate with everyone. He wasn’t attacking Dems, he was reminding them of how the democratic game should actually be played. He reminded us what Democracy actually means. Stein is simply telling us the Dem party is evil trash. That there’s no hope for the Dems and we should all jump ship and frantically grab onto her Bernie shaped live preserver. “You liked what Bernie said? Well, I’m over here saying the exact same things, with no real political experience besides trying to run for political positions. So, let’s do this.” That’d be sweet, Jill, but that’s not how this country works. Maybe one day, but not in the next seventy-eight days.
The Greens all know Jill isn’t going to be president. Yet they are still putting all their energy behind her. The moment Bernie realized he wouldn’t be POTUS, he refocused his efforts and encouraged his supporters to do the same. And those efforts are all about getting Bernie minded people into smaller seats around the country. For decades, the Green Party has been running for president, but not making strong pushes anywhere else. It’s a fundamentally flawed strategy, and exactly why I can get onboard with them. One would think that because grass is green they would be more aware of the concept of a grassroots effort, but meh.
Bernie got out a message. He inspired millions of people. Started Our Revolution. Jill Stein is simply trying to now capitalize on his momentum without having done the hard part of actually getting noticed. That’s not to say that her activism has been empty handed, she’s a good person with good intentions. I believe in her cause and I know she does too. That said, Jill and her party need to rethink their strategies. Stop being so focused on the presidency and look to influence elsewhere. The opportunity for a Green party success is better now than ever. Capitalize on that. Just not in a farfetched bid for the White House. And I know the mainstream media has more or less shut them out, but good news! TV is dying. :)
So, to Jill Stein and all the people who have latched onto her because she speaks that sweet, sweet Bernie language: it’s time to reevaluate the risky gamble you all seem frighteningly willing to take. I know you understand that a Trump victory is a huge loss for our country. And I know you distrust Hillary. I think we all do, right? Fracking. Wall$treet. TPP tottering. And more (trust me, I’ve written all her sins ’til I’m blue in the face). We get it. We hate it. But Trump is a fucking monster. And allowing him in the Oval office would not only be tragic for its decor, it would be a monster setback on so many progressive fronts. At least with Hillary (sigh) at the helm, Bernie and Greeners will be able to continue their progressive work without losing ground. We’ve already influenced the democratic platform from within, let’s keep moving forward! Not left, not right, but forward. Right? Right.