Many of our readers (ReaderSupportedNews) are strongly advocating the candidacy of Jill Stein. The problem is that, polling at 2% nationally, she has no chance whatsoever of being elected. In fact, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, running under the Libertarian banner, has triple the supporters Stein has, and he doesn't even appear to be totally coherent.
So it isn't really a candidacy at all that Stein's supporters are promoting, it's more of an ideal or a lecture on political responsibility. The candidacy provides the platform for the ideology.
The reason Sanders succeeded in being viable as a presidential candidate is that he was able to convince progressive Democrats that supporting him would not open the door to another Richard Nixon or George W. Bush.
American Green Party activists have long understood that the ranks of progressive Democrats held the potential for large numbers of third-party recruits. What they never understood was that for progressives to come to their movement, there had to be a "safe means of transit."
The Greens think that just because rank and file Democratic voters resent the Democratic Party, they're going to leave and join the Green Party. That won't happen until the GP infrastructure is in place.
In fairness to Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, the platform they have crafted is full of wonderful ideas. It's the most socially responsive presidential platform of the current candidates. But they knew at the time that they crafted it that in all likelihood they would never have to materially deliver on any of it. As a result they were free to make a purely political statement.
To say that there is no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump echoes the disastrous memes of 1968 and 2000. No difference between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon? No difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore?
The difference was life and death for millions. The choice of political leaders always carries great consequence. The higher the office, the greater the significance.
What Sanders understood was that he could push the Democratic Party for fundamental political change and reform but he had to demonstrate that he would not open the door to a Ted Cruz or a Donald Trump.
Sanders, a well noted Socialist running within the Democratic Party structure and vowing not to go rogue with an independent campaign should he fail to gain the Democratic nomination, garnered more progressive Democratic support than all Green Party presidential candidates combined. He did it and is still doing it without demonizing anyone.
Demonizing Democrats as a strategy for building a Green Party has always failed, and should be declared dead by anyone who really wants to organize.
What is needed is "honest organizing." When you have no chance of winning and you are staying in the race to garner public attention for what you see as socially beneficial policies or perhaps to get enough votes to qualify for federal funding in the next presidential election, then you need to say that. Painting the Democratic candidate as the devil to achieve those ends is ludicrous.
What the Green Party needs is organizing and infrastructure. The Green Party can't afford an adversarial relationship with the Democrats. They need an alliance. Such an alliance would aid, not deter, Green organizing.
For those who are serious about an American Green Party, follow Sanders' lead. Infiltrate the Democratic Party and make change impossible to ignore. Collaborate with Our Revolution and similar organizations. Demonstrate the kind of leadership that builds confidence by showing confidence in your own ideas.
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