If you walk down Commonwealth Ave every day like I do, there is a good chance that you’ve been faced with solicitors promoting Jill Stein. And if you’re also like me, you pretended to be in a really riveting conversation with yourself on the phone. But, as the tumultuous 2016 election season nears its finale, should we continue to ignore Jill Stein, or does she actually have a chance?
Stein was born and raised in Chicago, IL and now lives in Lexington, MA. She attended Harvard University for both undergraduate studies and medical school, and practiced internal medicine for 25 years. As far as political experience, she served as a Lexington Town Meeting representative in 2005 and 2008 and was the Green party presidential candidate for both 2012 and 2016.
Because the American political system is controlled by Democrats and Republicans, the Green party prides itself on being “an electoral alternative to a two-party system.” The Green party prioritizes eco-social issues, making them a more liberal party. The “Ten Key Values” of the party are as follows: grassroots democracy, social justice and equal opportunity, ecological wisdom, non-violence, decentralization, community based economics, feminism and gender equity, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, and future focus and sustainability. Understandably, Stein’s political platform and presidential goals coincide largely with the values of the Green party. Stein enumerates these goals through her “Power to the People Plan,” which states she will “create deep system change, moving from the greed and exploitation of corporate capitalism to a human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit.”
Stein’s biggest focus within this plan is the Green New Deal, which sets out to “create millions of jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation.” Drawing inspiration from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Stein’s plan attempts to combine her political, social, and environmental policy proposals into one succinct package.
In addition to the Green New Deal, Stein hopes to establish stronger worker and human rights. She wants to implement universal healthcare, end poverty, and set a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour. Also, Stein claims that, as president, she will “guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university.” All of her plans sound great in theory, but is her success at clinching the presidency in anyway possible? No. First, Stein simply doesn’t have the funds to run a campaign comparable to Clinton and Trump. Stein has raised only $3.2 million this election season, whereas Clinton and Trump have raised $616.5 million and $221.2 million, respectively. Stein does not have the resources to run a nationally successful campaign because she cannot fundraise to the extent of her opponents.
This lack of funding can be attributed to the lack of awareness about the Green Party, another disadvantage that Stein faces. Almost every American citizen can name the Democrat and Republican parties, and, for the most part, are able to distinguish between liberal and conservative values. However, the public is drastically less informed about other parties such as the Green, Libertarian, or Independent Party. The lack of awareness and understanding is due largely to the fact that third party candidates are quite simply irrelevant. This third party irrelevance is caused by America’s first-past-the-post presidential election system, in which it takes a simple majority to win. The system favors elections with just two parties because a simple majority of one candidate can clearly be attained. The addition of alternate parties increases the chances of plural voting outcomes in the election. Even with proper funding and increased support, third party candidates don’t have the foundation of ideals and experience that citizens value in the Democrat and Republican parties.
Though Stein’s amazing plans to end poverty and college debt are fun to dream about, the hard truth is that she doesn’t stand a chance. The Green party’s lack of funding, support, and experience inhibits the public from entrusting Stein with their vote.
With one of the most highly anticipated election days in history coming up this November, it is important to consider the power of a vote. . Especially in swing states, where the state could be won by either candidate, it is crucial to place a vote for a candidate who actually has a chance. Even if you live in a far left or far right state, such as California or Texas, a vote for the opposing party’s candidate has a greater chance at being effective than a vote for Stein. Though Clinton nor Trump may not be your first choice, a vote for Stein is a vote thrown away.