Green Party’s Jill Stein announces presidential candidacy

Dr. Jill Stein announces her 2016 Green Party presidential bid on June 23 at the National Press Club in Washington. Photo by Josh Marks
Dr. Jill Stein announces her 2016 Green Party presidential bid on June 23 at the National Press Club in Washington.
Photo by Josh Marks

Calling for an end to corporate capitalism and the two-party political system, Dr. Jill Stein kicked off her campaign for president on the Green Party ticket with a speech June 23 at the National Press Club in downtown Washington.

“I’m running because this nation is in crisis. Only we the people have the power to fix it,” Dr. Stein said. “The American people have the power to create a new way forward, and the solutions we need are in our hands.”

But many of the solutions are similar to those being proposed by Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist running for president as a Democrat:  A jobs program, the Green New Deal, to solve the climate crisis that would transition America to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030; guaranteeing every American the right to a living-wage job with union protections; creating a Medicare for all single-payer health care system; making college free and abolishing student debt; and cutting military funding by 50 percent.

Dr. Stein conceded that Sanders’ platform is similar to hers, but said the difference is that if Sanders doesn’t secure the Democratic nomination, he will stand next to the podium and endorse Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democratic presidential candidate will be as “the party continues to march to the right.”

Like Sanders, Dr. Stein is Jewish. The Chicago native was raised in Highland Park, Ill., and her family attended North Shore Congregation Israel, a Reform synagogue in Glencoe.

However, unlike Sanders who last summer at a heated town hall meeting condemned Hamas for firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, building terror tunnels and refusing to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, Dr. Stein has taken a less sympathetic stance on Israel that could turn off liberal American Jews who might agree with her on domestic policy issues but are supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.

Dr. Stein, a physician, formally announced her candidacy in an interview with the independently syndicated Democracy Now! program, where she was asked by host Amy Goodman what separates her from Sanders and Democratic front-runner Clinton.

“My campaign is perhaps more critical—I would say definitely more critical—of funding for regimes like that of the Netanyahu government, which are clearly war criminals. You know, so we would not be funding the weapons used in the massacre on Gaza,” Dr. Stein told Goodman.

At the press conference, Dr. Stein also had harsh words for President Barack Obama, saying that he has gone farther than George W. Bush the past six years on issues such as bailing out the banks and expanding wars.

Some politicos believe that in 2000 Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader played the role of spoiler, costing Al Gore the election. However, Nader and others have disputed this idea. Nader received 97,488 votes in Florida. Gore lost the state—and the presidency—to Bush by 537 votes.

When asked about playing spoiler, Dr. Stein was defiant at her press conference and said she would not accept “lesser evilism.”

She said: “This is the time if there ever was a time for us to stand up, to not be cowed by this mythology of lesser evilism…. Let’s get organized and let’s fight like our lives depend on it—because they do—and we can win this battle.”

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