Jill Stein recently sat down for a Reddit AMA ("Ask Me Anything") session, and the Green Party nominee for President gave readers a glimpse of her platform, her personal life, and her desire to see third parties (and fourth parties and fifth parties) continue to make a splash in elections beyond 2016. Here are some highlights, as well as the some of the main points of discussion to come out of the session.
Jill led with the basics of her platform and then offered proof that it's really her and not an impostor.
"I plan to cancel student debt, provide head-to-toe healthcare to everyone, stop our expanding wars and end systemic racism. My Green New Deal will halt climate change while providing living-wage full employment by transitioning the United States to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2030."
1. How Does Jill Stein Plan To Cancel Student Debt?
Canceling student debt has been a focal point of Stein's campaign ever since the beginning. Right now, Americans are facing $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, and the problem is getting worse. Stein believes that providing relief to those Americans would stimulate the economy and help out the millions of Americans crushed under the weight of their student loan payments. But how does she intend to make that happen?
"We could for example cancel the obsolete F-35 fighter jet program, create a Wall Street transaction tax (where a 0.2% tax would produce over $350 billion per year), or canceling the planned trillion dollar investment in a new generation of nuclear weapons. Unlike weapons programs and tax cuts for the super rich, investing in higher education and freeing millions of Americans from debt will have tremendous benefits for the real economy."
Calling her energy policy "The Green New Deal," referencing Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" that helped pull America out of The Great Depression, Stein proffered that her energy policy of transferring to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 will create jobs, not cut them. In fact, her energy plan is part of her plan to cut unemployment and create 20 million new jobs through green energy alone.
"In fact we call for the creation of 20 million jobs, ensuring everyone has a good wage job, as part of a wartime scale mobilization to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030."
3. Ending The Ongoing Foreign Wars And Avoiding New Ones
American men and women have been fighting and dying in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for well over a decade now with no end in sight. The conflicts in Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere seem to indicate that the U.S. will be involved in combat in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. What is Jill Stein's take on military intervention?
Not surprisingly, the Green Party candidate wants to end all of those wars immediately and bring the troops home. Stein wants to cut military spending; initiate a weapons embargo on states, such as Saudi Arabia, that fund terrorism, and focus military spending on providing for veterans already at home who are struggling with addiction, homelessness, and unemployment.
"In general, we need a foreign policy based on international law, human rights and diplomacy - not on military and economic domination!"
Anyone who has paid attention to the news these past few years knows that American police are armed to the hilt with high-tech, military-grade weaponry. In fact, much of the police's weaponry is surplus military gear. Jill Stein does not want those weapons of war on America's streets.
"We should stop recycling military equipment to our police, making them an occupying force. We must train police in de-escalation techniques, and end the confrontational 'broken windows' policing that has been such a disaster.
In some ways, 2016 has been the Year of the Third Party. Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson have both polled with numbers that were unthinkable in 2012, largely due to the fact that the two establishment party candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are intensely disliked by American voters.
However, the current system all but guarantees failure for third-party candidates. Dr. Stein has a few ideas for how that system can be tweaked to allow more voices from outside the two parties.
The first thing Stein would like to see is pressure on the Commission on Presidential Debates, the private organization that controls who is invited to the debates. Currently, the debate system all but guarantees that only the Republican and Democrat candidates appear at the debates by limiting participation only to those who are polling at 15 percent or higher in national polls. But how could those candidates get their poll numbers up except by appearing in the debates and increasing their exposure?
Another possible way to increase the visibility of third party candidates is to tweak the voting system. One thing Stein advocates for is so-called "Ranked Choice Voting."
"Ranked choice voting lets you to rank your choices so if your first choice doesn't win, your vote is automatically reassigned to your second choice. The current voting system has people voting out of fear against the candidates they hate, rather than for candidates they really like and agree with. Ranked choice voting would end fear-based voting, and let voters express their true values."
"Don't waste your vote on a failed two party system. Invest your vote in a real movement for change."