Washington, DC (TFC) – Both the Republican and Democratic parties have all but decided upon their nominees for the 2016 presidential race. But with the presumptive nominees being the likes of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, many voters, and even top GOP members, are voicing their concern over a lack of real options.
For the more progressive voters not represented by these candidates, there is hope.
Dr. Jill Stein is currently in the process of securing her second consecutive nomination with the Green Party. Although her 2012 candidacy yielded a small percentage of the popular vote with 0.36%, the 469,627 people who punched her name on the ballot or wrote her in helped her become the most successful female presidential candidate in U.S. history.
Stein has run for office in Massachusetts as a member of the Green Party several times. Her most successful campaign came in 2002, when she finished third in the gubernatorial race to future GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. She won the instant online viewer poll, but was not invited back to any subsequent debates.
In 2012, Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala attempted to enter a presidential debate hosted by Hofstra University, citing their presence on 85% of the nation’s ballots as justification for their participation. They were arrested, transferred to a warehouse and handcuffed to chairs, then detained for about eight hours.
Dr. Stein has used that incident as a platform to protest against the duopoly of our two party political system, culminating in a joint effort with the Libertarian Party in the form of a lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates, Republican National Committee, Democratic National Committee, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney. The lawsuit, filed on September 29, 2015, claims that the current rules set forth by the CPD violates “antitrust laws, the First Amendment, and District of Columbia tort law”. All five defendants have filed motions to dismiss the case.
The Green Party, and Stein specifically, have made several attempts in recent months to reach out to fellow progressive candidate Bernie Sanders. While their stances are virtually identical on most issues, Sanders has yet to respond to the offer for a collaboration. It’s very likely that there will not be any talks between the two until after the Democratic Convention in July, but even more likely that those talks will never take place. Senator Sanders has stated that he will not continue his campaign outside of the party, and will support Hillary Clinton, provided she runs a “progressive agenda”.
2016 could prove to be the most memorable and successful election cycle for not only Jill Stein, but the entire Green Party. The Stein campaign has qualified for federal matching funds a full six months earlier than they did in 2012, which could open the door for contributions to down ticket Green Party candidates. The “Bernie or Bust” movement has also gained considerable momentum, as approximately 125,000 people claiming disenfranchisement and non-representation have signed one of two petitions pledging to either write-in Sanders or vote for Stein in November.
With a Trump versus Clinton general election in our sights, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the 42% of Americans who identify as Independents, as well as significant portions of Republicans and Democrats, are not adequately represented by either major party. That realization could lead millions of voters to seek refuge in another grassroots progressive candidate. The Party has already set out the Green welcome mat. Time will tell if Sanders’ supporters come knocking on that door in November.