Will Jill Stein (Green Party) Hurt Obama’s Chances?

Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate for President of the United States. Until quite recently, the Green Party was not even on the political radar screen.

Jill Stein, Leader of Green Party of United States
Jill Stein

As the presidential campaign winds down, with only weeks left, voters are weary and feeling disenfranchised. They see Obama as a President who offered so much hope for a better future but who failed to deliver. Romney promises to do more of the same Bush policies which got America in trouble in the first place. Many Americans have lost faith in the badly-broken two-party system run by Wall Street, multi-nationals, the fossil-fuel industry, and are looking for an alternative.

Even if it is more closely aligned with the core values of the Democratic Party, the rise in support of the Green Party comes at the expense of the Democrats . Paradoxically, this sharing of values with the Democrats will benefit Romney more than Obama who is the more likely of the two mainstream candidates to implement ‘Green’ policies in a second term.  It gets back to ‘you hurt the one you love’.

Stein is a fresh and vibrant candidate who may just be at the right place at the right time. Some Democrats who would otherwise support Obama may switch their vote to Green because they like the Green Party platform, or perhaps in protest of the domination of the Democratic Party by corporate interests. Of course, Stein knows she cannot win in an era of heavily-funded media driven politics. But in the wake of grassroots movements like Occupy and the Arab Spring, “the political climate might be right for a party that tries to loosen, if only slightly, the hold of the two-party system that dominates the  national political landscape” says Nicholas Fandos of The Harvard Crimson:

The keystone of her platform is a “Green New Deal” that she says would create 25 million jobs while laying the foundation for a more sustainable economy and environment. Specifically, the plan calls for $700 billion in local investment offset by defense cuts and further health care reform, as well as tax increases for the country’s highest earners.

Stein points out:

It’s not necessarily having someone elected to office, it’s having the third party that drives an agenda forward. Sometimes you can win the day without winning office. We’re in a unique moment now in American history. It’s a moment where I think people realize it is up to us to bring the breaking point to the tipping point.

Like many Boomers who are politically active, Stein’s activist roots came out of the student discontent in the late sixties. A previous post Who is Jill Stein?by Dr. Peter Carter of Uprage provided a full coverage of the Green Party’s Green New Deal for America

Green voters will draw votes away from Obama so that a vote for Stein is really a vote for Romney. It remains to be seen how this all plays out. Have Obama organizers underestimated the raiding of votes by Stein’s Green Party and the effect that will have on his re-election chances in this surprisingly tight race?

However, since the President is elected through the Electoral College process and not by popular vote, there is little to no chance that Stein can have any meaningful effect on the outcome of the November election. A US President can lose the popular vote and still win the election due to the distribution of electoral votes among the individual states.

Carl Gibson (Blogger in HuffPost Politics) points out that:

In her Green New Deal, she’s vowing to end drone strikes, tightly regulate Wall Street, halt all government-funded construction of fossil fuel-dependent projects, and end all foreign wars and occupations….higher top tax rates like we saw in the days of FDR and Eisenhower, and the immediate closure of corporate tax loopholes that bleed out billions to overseas, tax-free bank accounts where the elite have stashed anywhere between $21 and $32 trillion. As president, she would appoint Supreme Court justices who believe corporations are corporations, not people, and fight to get corporate money and influence out of the political process.

Ballot Access of Green Party of United States in all but a few states
Ballot Access in Most States

According to one USA Today poll, an estimated 90 million people who could vote this year probably won’t. Jill Stein is a candidate that the 90 million  can get excited about. She’s actually running to win, and has ballot access in almost every state. Says Stein,

we are already showing up in the polls, rising to 2.1% in the last couple weeks – that’s 2.5 million voters! Imagine how these numbers will rise when we are in full swing, reaching out to the tens of millions of students, workers, occupiers, unemployed, uninsured, immigrants, and advocates for peace, climate, civil liberties and racial justice who are looking for a real choice in this election.

In his Blog, Carl Gibson says:

I used to say I’d hold my nose and vote for Obama because a Romney presidency would be an even bigger disaster than an Obama presidency. But I’m voting for Jill Stein, because I shouldn’t have to hold my nose to vote for someone. Imagine if two-thirds of those 90 million disillusioned voters did the same thing by voting for Jill Stein and ousting tea party Republicans and corporate Democrats from the House and Senate. Isn’t that worth showing up at the ballot box on November 6th? It would be the upset of the century.

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