Washington, DC (TFC) – It’s been an interesting summer for presidential candidate Jill Stein and Green Party supporters. Excitement has grown around the campaign as polling numbers and fundraising have been on the rise. Multiple attempts were made, albeit unsuccessful, to reach out to Bernie Sanders in an offer of collaboration. Stein even charmed her way into the Democratic Nation Convention before marching with protesters outside after Hillary Clinton was awarded the nomination.
This past week has certainly been no exception.
It started off with a disappointing announcement from a potential vice presidential candidate. In an attempt to garner more disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters, Dr. Stein had offered the spot to former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. However, even after being stripped of her convention credentials and denied the opportunity to speak at the DNC, Turner declined. She explained in an interview, “I’m going to keep fighting in the party, even though I’m disappointed. I’m a Democrat, and that’s worth fighting for”.
No time was wasted though, as human rights activist Ajamu Baraka was named Stein’s running mate later that evening. Baraka is a provocative choice, to say the least. He has criticized Sanders, stating, “the world that a President Sanders promises—continued war crimes from the sky with drone strikes and Saudi led terror in support of the Western imperial project”. He later referred to Sanders campaign as, “a tacit commitment to Eurocentrism and the assumptions of normalized white supremacy”.
Baraka even went as far as to criticize one of Sanders’ biggest supporters, Dr. Cornell West, claiming that he was “sheep-dogging for the Democrats” by “drawing voters into the corrupt Democratic party”. West has since endorsed Jill Stein in the presidential race. In the midst of Stein’s ardent push to attract Sanders’ progressive backing, choosing a running mate who has been very critical of Sanders and his backers shows a commitment to ideology, but may deter some of the support she’s been actively seeking.
CNN announced on Wednesday that they will host a town hall with Jill Stein and her running mate, Baraka, on August 17th. This will be the Green Party candidate’s first nationally televised town hall, and is a major step in gaining much needed national exposure. CNN has previously held two town halls with the Libertarian candidates.
On Friday, federal judge Rosemary M. Collyer dismissed a lawsuit filed by both Jill Stein and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. Alleging violations of antitrust law and the First Amendment, the lawsuit, filed last September against the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the RNC, DNC, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney, sought to provide a spot on the national debate stage for both third party candidates. Currently, candidates must poll at an average of 15% among polls deemed acceptable by the CPD. According to Real Clear Politics, Johnson is averaging 8.4%, while Stein sits at 4%.
Throughout the week, multiple media outlets have run stories painting Jill Stein as an anti-science candidate, attacking her stances on vaccines and GMOs. Many Green Party members believe the Correct the Record effort, put in motion by the Hillary Clinton campaign to combat Sanders supporters online, is alive and well and pushing the narrative. While Stein does advocate homeopathy, she has repeatedly defended her comments on vaccinations, saying that, “People do not trust a Food and Drug Administration, where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence”. In response to GMOs, Stein has stated she wants “a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe”.
Saturday saw the Green Party officially nominate Dr. Stein as their presidential candidate. Most likely due to the influx from Sanders’ failed “political revolution”, this year’s convention in Houston marked the biggest in the party’s history, turning out twice the expected crowd. Although the nomination was easily won, the weekend did not go by without it’s share of controversy. According to NPR’s Jessica Taylor, two African-American candidates voiced their opinions at a press conference that they believed “the party shouldn’t be represented by, quote, ‘a privileged woman’”.
The rest of the convention, though, seemed to go about as planned. Stein accepted her nomination with a half hour speech in which she thanked long time party members for helping to build the Green Party, and new members who have migrated from the Democratic Party in order to continue their progressive “political revolution”. She ended her acceptance speech with an impassioned plea to hold establishment politicians accountable, stating, “We are the ones we have been waiting for. Together, we are unstoppable.”