Taking a look at Jill Stein and the Green Party’s platform it couldn’t be any better for someone who was a supporter of Bernie Sanders like myself. It has a lot of the progressive elements in health care, education, policing & justice reform, climate change and more that our country needs to work towards changing. I understand the reasons some people will be voting for the Green Party this presidential election. Some of them don’t believe in voting for the lesser of two evils, some think that Clinton and Trump are the same and neither will make this country any better, and so on. Many of these points that I find myself being very sympathetic to yet I still find myself voting for Hillary Clinton. Why do I find myself reluctant to vote for the Green party and support their cause in general?
The Green Party is somewhat lacking in a important aspect of party politics, they don’t have much of a party. The Green Party simply has a lack of a base to support it’s presidential contender Jill Stein. How can the Green Party hope to have effective change in this country if it plans on only running for president? There are so many effective ways to change our political system at the local and state level regarding the environment, voter restriction laws, education, etc. How can you plan to change the country without having officials at every level of government to support your change? Failing to create a base at these levels is also a guarantee that you will not become president. I personally want a new party or a progressive reformation of the Democratic party. The Green party so far has failed to express much interest in doing what Sanders has done, and that is start a movement. He is planning to carry his progressive revolution forward and he has endorsed congressmen and senators that will help us reform the party. Maybe it’s Stein’s lack of experience in a role similar to that of president, but coalition and party building is something that is required to accomplish change. It’s not like having a base of support is different then other countries around the world. In Germany you need a 5% of the vote in order for the party to get a seat in parliament.
A significant reason I’m not for a third party candidate at this moment (not just Stein) is the fact that until an alternative party has a larger established based it is basically impossible for them to win. Median Voter Theory and Duverger and Down’s laws show us that our system is set up in a way to have two parties and since these party’s find themselves on the far ends of the right-left spectrum they are unable to attract the median voter. Not only that, but campaign finance laws are against third parties and the electoral college is as well. If we really plan on changing these things and making it easier for a third party it requires massive efforts state by state. For examples of this we can look at the NRA and LGBT movements that changed laws at the state level and eventually got to use the Supreme Court to implement what they wanted at a federal level. Creating this massive movement to get the changes we want will be an extreme amount of work, but it might be needed before we can have hope for a third party candidate.
I support the ideology of the Green Party, yet I am not swayed by them as a political party. I’m looking to continue Bernie’s Revolution and that’s why I voted for the most progressive candidate that was running for my Democratic State Rep. (Darron Camilleri and he won his primary!). I hope that participating at the state level can help us transform the Democratic party into something that if more like Bernie’s movement. If that doesn’t happen I’m ok with starting a new party. For now though, I’m reluctant to support Jill Stein and the Green Party.
What do you guys think? Has the argument of voting for the lesser evil just perpetuated bad candidates into the presidency? Do you think a third party vote is a waste? Do you think there is a realistic chance for third party candidates without a larger base effort? Can we cause great change at a federal level without tackling the states? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.