With public opinion showing that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the two most unpopular presidential nominees ever to be nominated by their respective parties, this could be the year of the third party.
One such candidate for disillusioned voters is the Green Party nominee for President, Dr. Jill Stein. Stein, who was previously her party’s nominee for the 2012 presidential contest, believes that her candidacy can gain serious traction among voters who detest voting for Trump, as well as Bernie Sanders supporters who feel betrayed by the Democratic National Committee and believe that Clinton will renege on her newfound progressive pledges.
Stein, who is not accepting any corporate or special interest donations to her campaign, offers a bold alternative vision for the country. As she told Mint Press News’ staff writer Kit O’Connell, in her first one hundred days in the Oval Office, Pres. Jill Stein would cancel student debt, implement a Green New Deal, end America’s military adventurism abroad, pardon all nonviolent drug offenders, and legalize marijuana. This week, Stein has taken her campaign to Louisiana to assist the victims of the recent flooding.
Last week, Stein and I spoke briefly about the need for social movements, Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy, and being labeled a “spoiler.”
Kevin Patrick Kelly: Similar to Bernie Sanders, your campaign, to me, is bigger than any presidential campaign: it is part of the broader progressive movement growing in this country. How do you think your campaign contributes to that movement?
Dr. Jill Stein: We have a thriving progressive movement and it needs a political voice. What we do is give it a political voice so that it has traction and we provide a vehicle for this movement to come together, politically, because it’s the game of divide and conquer that allows us to be conquered.
That’s what the “powers that be” want us to do is to be separate movements. A movement for a living wage is here. A movement for immigrant rights is here. A movement to cancel student debt is here. Our campaign brings that all together as we continue to do in the Green Party and we continue to challenge power, in the words of Frederick Douglas, “power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will.”
The Green Party is a politics of, by, and for the people. We don’t take money from the war profiteers or the predatory banks or the fossil fuel giants. We have the freedom to stand up for everyday people. We are actually prevented from taking that money, we actually have a firewall from being corrupted. We continue to build — And it is not just the Green Party, it’s the small progressive parties that are working under the banner of our campaign, so we can continue to work together to give our movements unity, traction, and an agenda that brings us all together. That is an agenda for people, planet, and peace over profit.
KPK: I am unsure if you had the opportunity to hear Trump’s comments on encouraging the “Second Amendment people” to do something if Clinton were to appoint judges that would strip away their right to keep and bear arms. Many believed that he was encouraging violence. What is your reaction to his latest comments?
JS: These are very irresponsible and despicable and violent and hate and fear mongering, which what we have seen from him throughout the campaign. This is just a more dangerous extreme. I think this is a sign of a man whose campaign is unraveling, whose party is dissipating, and who is shooting himself in the foot, as he has been doing for the past several weeks. We wish him goodbye and good riddance.
Beyond this, we are really looking at a major political realignment where many from the Republican Party have now endorsed Hillary Clinton including the neocons like Robert Kagan. We are seeing Hillary appoint a Vice President who is a centrist, a supporter of the banks, who refused to reign in the loan sharking that was taking place — Payday lenders, refusing to reign in Payday lenders. Again, the Democratic Party is moving to the Right and the Republicans are coming in. The Democratic Party is split, as they said “no” to Bernie Sanders’ campaign and sabotaged his campaign in ways that have been revealed by the DNC.
It is a pretty remarkable moment. The Republicans are falling apart, the Democrats have split, the Dems. and Repubs. are becoming a unified Demorepublican Party and progressives need a new place to go. That is what is happening right now in the Green Party. Our job is to get the word out and to fight our way into the debates so that the American people can seize this very powerful moment which provides them a new way forward. People have had it with the rigged economy and the rigged political system that keeps us locked in. People are ready for a new economy, a new society, an America, and world that works for all of us, not just the billionaires.
KPK: You have been very critical of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy. You have correctly pointed out that the neoconservatives are lining up behind her campaign due to her hawkish foreign policy. Some have suggested that Clinton is a war criminal because of the actions she pursued in various Middle Eastern countries. Do you think Hillary Clinton is a war criminal?
JS: If you look at what international law says, it says that you may not attack another country unless there is imminent danger to your own or you are under attack. I think it is hard to say that Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, there were not lawful wars. There were war crimes. Unfortunately, U.S. foreign policy has been defined by unlawful, criminal behavior and policies. It is sad to say that this applies across the board to all of our war adventures. This even goes back to Vietnam and before that as well.
That’s why we need a very different foreign policy and we have called for a foreign policy based on international law, human rights, and diplomacy. It’s not only that we are violating laws here, we are creating catastrophe, and we are going bankrupt. We have spent six trillion dollars since 9/11, when you include the ongoing healthcare cost projected into the future for caring for our wounded veterans, who we must care for because we put them in harm’s way and we must do a better job of caring for them, we are not adequately caring for them. Just including their healthcare, this is 6 trillion dollars, which comes out to about 50 thousand dollars per American family for these wars that are not making us more safe, they’ve made us less safe, created failed states, mass refugee migrations that are tearing apart the Middle East and Europe for that matter … we’re saying enough of that.
We need a new kind of offensive in the Middle East, a peace offensive that begins with a weapons embargo, that’s not hard to do because we are supplying the majority of weapons and giving them to all sides. We issue a weapons embargo and begin to issue a wet blanket over this firestorm that we have created in the Middle East and we put our allies on notice because we and they have been funding various terrorist enterprises for quite some time, going all the way back to Afghanistan and the mujahideen.
The United States and the Saudis created this insane development of a terrorist movement based on Sunni Wahhabism and this has been an incredible disaster. It is time to stop funding this, stop arming it, and stop training it. This includes putting a freeze on the bank accounts of countries that continue to be a source of funding for these terrorist enterprises and also closing Turkey’s border to the flow of terrorist militias. We started it, we can stop it. That’s how we need to move forward in a way that is consistent with international law, human rights, and promote on an urgent basis, the cause of peace in the Middle East.
KPK: Whenever mainstream media does finally decide to interview you, you are spending most of the time discussing how you will be a “spoiler.” Is it frustrating for you being consistently asked how you will “steal” votes from Clinton and deliver them to Donald Trump?
JS: It’s not that frustrating, to tell you the truth, because it’s actually great to be able to address the question because there are so many overwhelming arguments against it. The Abolition Parties, back when slavery was being abolished and there was a big movement to end slavery, when that movement got political and they established political parties for abolition, they were called spoilers. Spoiler is what the establishment says when they feel threatened.
So, it is great that they feel threatened, and it is great that we have a voice on TV now, because usually we cannot get a word in edge-wise and mention what it is we are listing up which is exactly what the American people are demanding. That is, an emergency jobs program with living wages, solving the emergency of the climate crisis, cancelling student debt like we did for the crooks on Wall Street, making public higher education free, healthcare as a human right, ending police violence and mass incarceration, creating a welcoming path to citizenship, and a foreign policy based on international law and human rights.
It is so much fun to tell people about that and to let people know, oh my God, we can actually do this and it pays for itself. Each of these programs basically has a self-funding mechanism … and we can create a world we can survive in because people are really worried about where we are going. They don’t like and they don’t trust Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, they are begging for what we got and this is just a great time for us to be shouting to the heavens that there is an alternative that is of, by, and for the people.
It is time to forget the lesser evil and fight for the greater good knowing we actually have the votes that it would take. Just the number of people holding student debt, that’s 42 million, and it’s a big incentive just like coming out to vote, can effectively cancel their debt. If that word gets out, hold on to your hat.
We could see not splitting the vote, but flipping the vote so that every day people who are the underdogs right now, become the top dogs in an America and world that actually works for all of us.
Notes in the Margin: To learn more about Jill Stein and her campaign, visit http://www.jill2016.com/.
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.