Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
The Green Party convention in Houston, Texas reached its climax August 6 with presidential nominee Jill Stein calling on the American left to turn its back on the “two corporate parties” and “vote for our deeply held beliefs.”
Vying for the support of those who previously backed former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, Stein championed her vision of “an America and a world…that puts people, planet, and peace over profit.”
During her acceptance speech, Stein said she was excited “to be running in alliance with the Bernie Sanders movement that lives on outside the Democratic Party.”
“We owe you such a debt of gratitude, for getting the revolution going. And then for refusing to be shut down,” she said, prompting chants of “Jill not Hill!” from the crowd.
Outlining what she described as “transformational solutions” to the current “unprecedented crisis,” the nominee touched upon a number of issues that were also key planks of Sanders’ campaign platform: Medicare-for-All, criminal justice reform, free college tuition, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and transitioning to a renewable energy economy.
“We face unprecedented crises that call for transformational solutions, a new way forward based on democracy, justice and human rights. And that won’t come from corporate political parties funded by predatory banks, war profiteers and fossil fuel giants,” Stein intoned. “It will come from we the people, mobilized in a broad social movement, with an independent voice of political opposition, because, as Frederick Douglass said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has. It never will.’ And we must be that demand.”
“So it’s time to vote for our deeply held beliefs, not against what we fear,” she concluded. “Democracy needs a moral compass. We must be that moral compass.”
Despite the fact that Sanders himself endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and has called on his supporters to do so as well, Stein specifically thanked the “Bernie or Bust movement” for merging “with our campaign in rally after rally, growing stronger by the hour.”
Indeed, the Green Party is at a pivotal moment. After a federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit from the major third parties seeking a spot on the general election debate stage, the Green and Libertarian parties have about one month to rally as much as support as possible before the official cut-off.
Rules set forth by the Commission on Presidential Debates mandate that a candidate must be polling at 15 percent or higher to take part in the debates. With the first debate set for September 26, The Hill reports that “the candidates and their campaigns are in an all-out sprint to boost their polling numbers ahead of that deadline.”
According to RealClearPolitics, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is polling at an average of 8.4 percent while Stein hovers around four percent. But Stein is hoping for a major bump after her exclusive CNN town hall on August 17.
Further, both outside candidates are hoping that the historically low favorability ratings for the two frontrunners will help their chances.
“Politics as we know it is melting down in front of our very eyes, voters are in revolt, are rejecting the Democratic and Republican candidates at record numbers,” Stein told the Guardian after her speech. “Hillary and Donald [Trump] are the most disliked and untrusted candidates for president in U.S. history and even their supporters don’t really support them, they just don’t like the other candidate. People are clamoring for more choices. We are that other choice.”
During her speech on Saturday, Stein explained how, with the youth vote, the Green Party has “the numbers to win the day.”
“There are 43 million young people—and not so young people—who are locked in predatory student debt, with no prospects for getting out. And there is only one candidate who will cancel that debt—and you’re looking at her,” she said.
“So if young people come out on election day 2016 to vote green to cancel their debt, they can actually take over the election,” she reasoned, “not only to cancel student debt, but to advance the whole agenda for justice.”
First published in Common Dreams. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
“We face unprecedented crises that call for transformational solutions,” said Dr. Jill Stein, accepting the Green Party nomination for president. “And that won’t come from corporate political parties funded by predatory banks, war profiteers and fossil fuel giants.” (Photo: AP)