As voter satisfaction with both the Democratic and Republican nominees for President plummets to its lowest point in two decades, Ohioans may be interested to know that the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein will be continuing her grassroots campaign for the presidency this Friday, Sept. 2, at 6 p.m., in a health and fitness center called “The Natatorium” in Cuyahoga Falls.
Stein will be arriving the day of the event from Columbus and departing the next day for Detroit, and will be joined by the Green Party’s Ohio candidate for the U.S. Senate, Joe DeMare. Stein—who was also the Green Party’s 2012 nominee for President—will be speaking on a variety of issues including renewable energy, student debt, the minimum wage and healthcare.
Stein’s campaign promises, among other things, a “Green New Deal” stimulus package that will fight climate change and “create 20 million new jobs by transitioning to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030.” It also promises tuition-free higher education, universal access to healthcare, a $15 minimum wage and a foreign policy based on “diplomacy, international law and human rights.” Ajamu Baraka, Stein’s running mate, is an international human rights activist and founding member of the US Human Rights Network.
As a third party, Green Party candidates often have trouble not only with funding and name recognition, but also with getting their names on the ballot in all 50 states. Michelle Rosin, however, a volunteer with the Ohio for Jill Stein Campaign, holds out hope for a Jill Stein Presidency in the wake of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). She joined the Stein campaign, she says, a few weeks before the DNC, as it became clearer and clearer that Senator Bernie Sanders was unlikely to receive the Democratic Party’s nomination.
“I was kind of holding out hope that Bernie might get it,” she said, “but I wasn’t really holding my breath, because of what happened in the primary.”
“After hearing what happened in Philadelphia,” she continued, referring to the WikiLeaks release of almost 20,000 internal emails, which suggested the Democratic Party’s disfavor of Sanders’ campaign and resulted in Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation, saying, “That kind of sealed it. I was all in…There’s no way I can currently support what’s going on in the Democratic Party.”
When asked why she supports the Stein campaign above Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Rosin maintained that it was about the policies, not necessarily the person.
“[Stein’s] been saying the same thing for a very long time now,” Rosin said, “Like Bernie, she hasn’t flip-flopped.”
For many Sanders supporters who were disappointed in the results of the DNC, Stein seems like a strong alternative. Stein and Sanders share much the same platform, perhaps with the exception that Stein’s campaign makes slightly stronger statements about their goals.
“Her policies are very similar to Bernie’s,” Rosin said, “but she kind of goes a bit further, so I actually agree with her platform more.” Of Sanders and Stein, she said, “they’re kind of like a mirror image of each other.” She also mentioned that most of the volunteers in the Ohio for Jill Stein for President campaign are former Bernie supporters.
The Green Party has received much criticism for its outreach to former Sanders supporters, as voting for a third-party candidate has historically taken votes away from one of the major party candidates. In this case, Stein voters are often people whose political values would more closely align with Clinton’s than Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s. As a result, critics see a vote for Stein as a vote for Trump since no third-party candidate has ever come close to winning the presidency.
“I think people need to be more aware of their options, and Jill is one of them. Just to know that there is another voice, another choice out there. You don’t have to vote for the lesser evil,” Rosin continued, “you can vote for the greater good.”
Editor’s Note: The Observer’s Director of Print is an intern with the Hillary Clinton campaign.