With the DNC ready to throw their big party this week and officially make Hillary Clinton their nominee, there are still some Bernie Sanders supporters hoping for an upset. Others have shifted their focus to the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein. Stein had offered Sanders the top spot on her ticket if he was willing, but with that scenario unlikely, many people are writing off Stein as having no chance of winning in November.
However, while it’s a long shot, Jill Stein is running for president in a year when voters are so fed up with both the Democratic and Republican parties that she just might have a chance. Here’s what she would have to do to become president.
The biggest hurdle Stein faces is voters’ fear of her being a spoiler candidate, drawing votes away from Hillary Clinton and allowing Donald Trump to win the election, much like Ralph Nader did to Al Gore. However, Stein is starting this race in a much stronger position than Nader did and with a much weaker Democratic and Republican party system with both parties on the verge of collapsing completely. (The GOP is much closer to collapse than the Democrats at this point, although once WikiLeaks is done with the Democrats, they may be in the same boat.)
Jill Stein somehow has to find a way to convince voters that she can win and that a vote for her won’t help Trump to the Oval Office. To do that, she’ll definitely have to pull high enough poll numbers — over the 15 percent required — to be included in debates. Stein is still a relative unknown, but then so was Bernie Sanders back when he started his campaign. But Bernie also has had a lot more time to come to the forefront of politics.
The next week will be critical to Jill Stein’s campaign, as those Bernie Sanders’ supporters still desperately clinging to the hope that he will be the Democratic nominee will get their wake-up call and realize they have to go to Plan B. If enough of them shift their support to Stein so that she pulls high enough numbers to get into the debates, that will be her make or break moment that determines that she can go on.
Before anyone starts screaming that Stein has no chance and no one should even consider voting for her, another consideration is the fourth candidate in this year’s presidential election, the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Bear in mind that many Republicans will likely turn to Johnson despite his little-known status, rather than vote for Clinton or Trump. This will help weaken Trump if Johnson can get enough support to be included in debates.
Basically, if this presidential election season becomes a four-person race, then yes, Jill Stein has a chance of winning. She can pull in a lot of Bernie Sanders’ supporters and already has the endorsement of Cornel West. As much as no one wants to admit it, the truth is a lot of women support Hillary Clinton because they want to see a woman elected president. Jill Stein can also be that first woman elected as president, without all the scandal and baggage that Hillary Clinton carries around. I’m not talking about email scandals per se, but more serious allegations of brokering arms deals when she was Secretary of State in exchange for Clinton foundation donations. While she dodged a bullet with the email server scandal, the Clinton Foundation may still come back to haunt her.
If Jill Stein can get her name out there and start a movement the way Bernie Sanders did, she could overtake Clinton and Trump. If you think it can’t happen, no one said Bernie Sanders would even be a contender. No one said Donald Trump could win the GOP nomination, either. All the pundits and predictors have completely underestimated the disgust of voters in this country and how eager they are for an alternative to “the lesser of evils.”
A huge number of people wanted Bernie Sanders to be that alternative, but that won’t happen because not only will he not be the nominee for the Democratic Party, but Sanders will not do anything to divide the party and give Trump a chance to win, such as running as an independent or running with Jill Stein. That means our last hope for a true alternative to the two worst candidates in presidential race history lies with Stein.
I never thought I would agree with Ted Cruz on anything, but this is one year where you should vote your conscience, and if you feel like Jill Stein is the best candidate, put your support behind her 100 percent and be vocal about it. For now at least, forget about spoilers and what all the political commentators say, and just support who you feel is the best candidate. When it comes time to vote, if all your support doesn’t prove that Stein is a viable candidate who can win, you can always go back Clinton.
But here’s the Catch-22: you have to get behind Jill Stein 100 percent now for her to even have a chance. She can’t prove she’s a viable candidate, we have to make her viable.
Once the DNC crowns Hillary Clinton the official nominee, let’s all get on board with Jill Stein and fight for her as long as we can the way he fought for Bernie. Then when we go into the voting booth on Election Day, we’ll know we did everything we can, and it’s only at that moment that we must make our final decision as to who gets our vote, based on how the field looks that day. We can support Stein till Election Day, but you’re still free to change your mind November 8 and vote for whoever you choose if you feel she can’t win.
[Photo by Elise Amendola/AP Images]