Has Jill Stein endorsed Donald Trump?
That was the claim making the rounds on social media this week with reports that the Green Party candidate had made the seemingly bizarre decision to endorse the Republican instead. The claims were popular among right-leaning blogs and news sites, using Stein’s sharp criticism of Democrat Hillary Clinton to make it seem as if she had actually put her support behind Donald Trump.
Many have seen the reports as a smear against Stein, using her words to prop up the floundering Republican nominee at the expense of the Green Party’s reputation.
But the truth is that while Jill Stein has done nothing to endorse Donald Trump, her sharp and increasingly bizarre criticism of Hillary Clinton has muddied the waters and allowed conservative sites to use Stein as something of a tool to drive a wedge among Democrats.
The reports originated from an interview Jill Stein did on C-SPAN, where she claimed that “on the issue of war, and nuclear weapons, and the potential of nuclear war, it’s actually Hillary’s policies, which are much scarier than Donald Trump, who does not want to go to war with Russia.”
Stein went on to praise Donald Trump on his approach with Russia while also predicting that Clinton’s approach could lead to nuclear war.
“He [Donald Trump] wants to seek modes of working together with Russia, which is the root we need to follow,” said Stein, adding, “It’s Hillary Clinton who wants to start an air war in Syria, with Russia, by declaring a no fly zone. It’s actually under her we could slide into nuclear war.”
While Jill Stein may not be endorsing Donald Trump, her rhetoric is playing into the hands of conservatives looking to divide Democratic voters. The Libertarian Republic was one of many seizing on the comments, saying that “many on both sides” agree with her assessment that Clinton would be “a continuation of Obama’s [presidency] or even worse.”
“Hillary Clinton has been described as the most neoconservative candidate the Democrats have ever nominated. This indicates that she is largely in favor of using military force in favor of U.S interests. Many were even surprised of Obama’s use of military action, saying he’s more war friendly than former George W. Bush.”
The reports of Stein’s alleged endorsement spread to the point that even Snopes, the rumor-busting site, put out an article clarifying that Jill Stein had in no way endorsed Donald Trump.
While there are certainly many ways to attack Hillary Clinton from the left, Stein’s approach may smack of desperation. There is virtually no chance of Clinton sparking nuclear war, especially given the fact that she has already been working with Vladimir Putin and in the Middle East during her time as Secretary of State with no hints of nuclear apocalypse.
The attacks could be the sign of an increasingly desperate campaign. While few outside of the most fervent Green Party supporters saw her having a chance of winning the election, Stein’s poor performance in a year ripe for third-party candidates is disheartening. Stein has failed to register above 2 percent in most recent polls, and she even has the embarrassment of finishing behind gag candidates.
The polling outfit, Public Policy Polling, regularly includes a joke candidate to gauge the public’s perception of the election, and in the past months, Jill Stein polled below Harambe the dead gorilla. In a recent poll, it was debate star Ken Bone coming out on top of Stein.
“A man whose outfit at the second presidential debate made him an internet sensation polls higher than Green Party nominee Jill Stein in Florida, according to a new poll,” The Hill noted. “Ken Bone leads the Stein 4 percent to 1 percent in the Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey out Friday.”
But, the low polling and rumors of a Donald Trump endorsement have not stopped Jill Stein. The Green Party candidate still has a full slate of campaign appearances on the horizon, and it seems unlikely she will back off her attacks on Hillary Clinton.
[Featured Image by Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx/AP Images]