The media focus of the US Presidential election has been dominated by Clinton and Trump, but Clinton is not the only woman running for President.
By: Manuel Fragoso Mendes
A Harvard graduate and practicing doctor until 2005, Green Party candidate Jill Stein is a lifelong activist who has been involved in most of the last half century’s leftist causes including the Vietnam War protests and Occupy Wall Street. Clinton, on the other hand, was a once a “Goldwater Girl” who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Unlike Clinton, Stein has always been a staunch defender of same-sex marriage. Unlike Clinton, she favors abolishing the death penalty, describing it as “ineffective” and “barbaric”.
Stein proposes a Green New Deal, with the goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030. Her other proposals include increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, promoting women’s rights, curtailing defense spending, initiating nuclear disarmament, offering amnesties to whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden, and overturning Citizens United. Stein, like Bernie Sanders, is an advocate of state healthcare and free public higher education.
A strong presence from Stein in November could breathe new life into US politics and even, symbolically at least, contribute to the eventual demise of the US’s two-party system. With majority of female members (60%), a growing Green Party could bring more women into US politics, which might in turn encourage female participation in other Western countries.
The idea that Stein is hindering Clinton’s chances is a popular one. This perpetuates a flawed system since plurality is constructive, especially in politics. Most voters currently believe that they can only vote Red or Blue, which has narrowed political discourse to a point where voting outside the two main parties is seen as either a privilege or irresponsibility.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Stein said: “Most people are voting out of fear right now. The last CNN poll that showed the majority of Clinton supporters are not really supporting her, they’re primarily voting against Donald Trump, and the majority of Donald Trump supporters are mainly voting against Hillary Clinton. […] We live in a system that tells us to vote against what we are afraid of rather than for what we believe in.”
Americans must not lose sight of the meaning of democracy. Far too many people have died for the right to vote. They cannot be conditioned by fear when the time comes to cast their ballots.