The American media has been paying a lot of attention to the clown car that makes up the pool of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. And on the Democratic side, the media has finally noticed that Bernie Sanders is making inroads into what many thought was a surefire Hillary Clinton ticket.
But lately, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein says, there’s been a little more oxygen in the room, and the media and American public have realized that Stein and the Greens have something to say.
A physician and environmental-health advocate, Stein was the 2012 Green Party presidential candidate, and she’s seeking the 2016 nomination. Stein stopped by EW’s offices on a swing through the Northwest.
Stein has as much to say about American politics as she does about her Power to the People Plan and Green New Deal, calling for a transition to 100-percent clean and renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture and conservation, thereby creating new jobs.
Third party candidates often take a lot of heat — the regularly repeated criticism is that, by casting a ballot for a third party, voters instead help the worst possible candidate take office. Stein says she’s in the Green Party because the other two parties are “under the thumb of war profiteers, predatory banks and fossil fuel pirates.”
The recent announcement that Stein’s campaign has raised enough money for federal matching funds, allowing her to get public funding for the race for the White House, has given her campaign a boost.
Stein says she wants to mobilize the 43 million students and young people burdened by student debt, calling this group “a self-organizing demographic” through mechanisms such as social media. One element of her platform is canceling education debt for those students. “It’s a no brainer,” Stein says, pointing out that the same was done for the banks.
Stein says her background as a doctor fighting to improve health and safety led her to discover that the solution wasn’t going to be clinical medicine but political medicine. She says that health care, education, jobs and housing are all rights, calling for “Medicare For All” single-payer public health insurance program, an end to high-stakes testing, a $15 minimum wage and housing that benefits the public good. Renovating and restoring housing also creates jobs, she points out.
The candidate also calls for making war over oil obsolete, a carbon tax, public ownership of energy production and transitioning to renewable fuels. Greening the energy system also avoids the health consequences of fossil fuels, Stein says, and the catastrophe that is climate change makes “Pearl Harbor look like small potatoes.”
Barack Obama “put his troops on the shelf after he was elected,” Stein says, but she wants to use the “bully pulpit” that is the presidency to create “transformational change” and “turn the White House into a Green House in 2016.”