Dr. Jill Stein is the Best 2016 Presidential Candidate, But Can She Win?



In 2008, I shook Barack Obama’s hand.


Yesterday Dr. Jill Stein gave me a hug.


Eight years ago, I was so inspired by Obama’s campaign speech in my hometown of Pittsburgh that I rushed forward along with the crowd to grab his hand. It was soft but firm with a tinge of moisturizer. Now I look at his incredibly regressive education policies and feel the need to scrub my palm.


This weekend in Philadelphia, I was at the United Opt Out Conference and saw Stein sitting in the audience.


I walked past the Green Party Presidential candidate the first time thinking I must be mistaken. Then her name tag removed all doubt.


“You’re Jill Stein!” I stuttered.


She smiled warmly, stood up and said, “You’re Steven Singer!”


I want to believe she knew who I was, but I was wearing a name tag, too.


We talked for a moment about what most of us were here for – education policy. She reaffirmed that she wanted to end all high stakes testing and school privatization.


Think of it – a presidential candidate speaking in specifics. Not “We test too much.” Not “Some charter schools are bad.” But I want to end these two perverse school policies!


And to top it all off, before she hurried off to tidy up as the time approached for her campaign speech, she game me a warm, tight hug.


Compare that to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.


As part of the Badass Teachers Association, we reached out to all the Democratic and Republican candidates on these exact same issues. The Republicans ignored us entirely, but both Democrats gave us phone calls by campaign aides.


Even then, the Democratic response was far from convivial. It mostly came down to something like “Education is important.” Well, duh.


In Sanders’ case, we had to conduct an impromptu sit-in at the Senator’s Washington office before anyone would talk to us about policy. And Hillary only started to speak in measured tones about public schools after our national teachers unions voted to endorse her – well, the leaders of those unions voted. No one ever really asked us, rank-and-file.


Moreover, when Sanders voted for the horrible Murphy Amendment of what became the Every Child Succeeds Act, several teachers including myself wrote him an open letter asking him to explain his apparent support for a Test and Punish education provision. One of his aides sent us a replysome nonsense about accountability.


And Jill Stein just gave me a hug.

The difference is huge!


When activists were holding this conference centering on the movement to Opt Out of Standardized testing, Sanders and Clinton didn’t even send campaign literature. Stein came in person and even gave a keynote address!


Don’t get me wrong. Hillary is far preferable to any Republican candidate seeking the office. I just wish her Presidential bid wasn’t funded by the very people we’re fighting against.


I love Bernie, too. I’ve even got the t-shirt to prove it. I just wish he loved us as much by throwing out a few more specifics. The general thrust of his campaign seems tailor-made to support test resistance and a fight against corporate education reform, but he rarely connects the dots with anything that we could hold him accountable for saying.


And then you have Stein, perhaps the most human politician I’ve ever met.


One look at her platform and it’s obvious she’s the best candidate for President in 2016. But is she electable?


Think about that for a moment.


What does it say about our country?


Design an excellent platform that benefits the most people, organize a movement to get your message out there, draw on the experience of experts in various fields… and you’re an incredible long shot to win the office.


The media says the same thing about Sanders as he speaks to overcapacity crowds and struggles against party politics seemingly written to hobble any populist campaign like his.


Yet Stein has no giant crowds. She has no adoring fans, no comedian on Saturday Night Live giving her friendly jibes.


She’s almost completely ignored by the media. Yet her actual policies make even a progressive like Sanders look like… well… Hillary Clinton!


For instance, Sanders wants to make college free to everyone. Stein wants to do that, too, AND erase all existing student debt.


Sanders is (kind of) against for-profit charter schools but has been vaguely supportive of Test and Punish school accountability practices. Stein is unequivocally against all forms of school privatization and high stakes standardized testing.


Sanders wants single-payer healthcare paid for by raising taxes (but net savings over all). Stein wants single-payer healthcare paid for by cutting our bloated military budget with no raise in taxes.


In fact, while Sanders is against unnecessary military action and an increase in military spending, he is in favor of keeping the $1 trillion military budget mostly intact. Stein wants to cut it by 50%, stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, stop giving weapons to Israel, freeze terrorist-funder’s bank accounts, end the War on Terror and engage in a policy of peace.


Moreover, Stein wants the savings from slashing our biggest federal expenditure to be used to fund a New Green Deal, creating full employment and a living wage all while transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2030!


Correct me if I’m wrong, but all of Stein’s policies sound rather sane and measured. Yet she is the one the media labels a radical and out-of-touch – if they talk about her at all.


It’s a testament to how perverted our politics have become: Sanity looks like the exact opposite. Logic and intelligence are revolutionary concepts.


And only the activists and intellectuals seem to know this is happening.


When Stein was done speaking, someone asked her the inevitable question about Ralph Nader. Wouldn’t casting a ballot for her just divide the Democratic vote and give the race to the Republicans as it did in 2000?


Her response was a bit evasive – the only time, in fact, where she seemed a bit uncomfortable.


She said that Nader wasn’t a member of the Green Party, where she is. She is engaged in building the party and the movement even beyond 2016.


On the one hand, it sounded like she was suggesting that even if she loses, it will bring real progressive issues into the limelight. However, this is not what happened when Nader lost as a third party candidate against Bush and Gore.


On the other hand, she stressed that she actually could win. About 43 million people are trapped by student debt, which she wants to unilaterally eliminate, she said. That’s a large enough chunk of the population that if they all voted for her, she would win.


It’s time for a Hail Mary moment, she said. We have to take a chance to vote for the best policies and not continue to compromise by supporting the lesser evil. Concession is the road to what we have now – continued oligarchy and global hegemony.


We need a functioning world for our children. If we don’t do something about Climate Change, the Earth may not be habitable in as little as five decades.


It’s now or never, she said.


I offer all this not as an endorsement of Stein. Nor of Sanders or Clinton (though seriously stay away from the Republicans, they’re freaking crazy).


I offer this only as food for thought.


Stein is offering us the best platform, bar none. But can we afford to vote for her? Can we afford not to?

24 thoughts on “Dr. Jill Stein is the Best 2016 Presidential Candidate, But Can She Win?

  1. I’ve voted in every election, and I will not vote for Clinton. Looks like I’m going to be gathering signatures for Dr. Stein this spring. Kristin Combs, Working Educators member and Philadelphia City Council Green Party candidate, opened the door to me and welcomed me in this past fall. That is what we need. We need to build a movement. It will never happen if we don’t jump in and get started.


  2. “About 43 million people are trapped by student debt, which she wants to unilaterally eliminate, she said. That’s a large enough chunk of the population that if they all voted for her AND THERE WERE NO ELECTORAL COLLEGE, she would win.”

    Jill Stein is awesome, her policies are great, but is she going to be on enough ballots in enough states with enough electoral votes? i don’t think so.


  3. I speak as a Brit who’s always been a bit right of centre – but only a bit. Both of our main parties (Tories and Labour) have drifted to a horrible place that’s nowhere within the conventional spectrum. They are simultaneously left wing and fascist. Civil liberties are being eroded, migrants are being welcomed with open arms, at the expense of existing citizens. We can’t get doctors’ appointments, our kids can’t get a school place – or if they do, they tend to study Islam, Hinduism, Bhuddism, but NOT Christianity. In their London/Leicister/Luton/Birmingham schools English is a second language.Social housing is prioritised for our “guests”- homeless (often mentally damaged) ex-service people sleep on our streets because of “lack of social housing”.

    We don’t have any credible party to choose from. Well, this state of affairs appears to infect the whole western world right now. Most countries simply don’t have a credible third party to choose from. Our Greens are entirely un-electable buffoons who are nothing more than foil-hats lacking any realistic policy.

    Dr. Stein appears to me to be a breath of fresh air. She comes over as refreshingly candid and honest, not some super-lubed cliche machine. I greatly admire her aspirations and her clearly stated objectives in terms of education, de-militarisation and health reform. I wish we had her here, I’d vote for her in an instant. Mmmmm maybe I’ve been a closet socialist/green all along, but have simply been stuck between a rock and a hard place?


  4. If, in facing the reality of politics, it might be impossible to beat the odds and win the Presidency in 2016, could she still land a place in a Democratic cabinet….say, as Secretary of Education? 🙂


  5. May 25, Brexit odds were 16% leave, 83% stay. Not taken seriously as it was obviously a publicity stunt. Jill’s chances aren’t much less than that, I think if the word gets out, we might find that we’re not the ones who are “throwing their votes away”


  6. I’ve been a Democrat all my life and I’ll always honor Bernie Sanders and his heroic determination to bring truly progressive values to the Democratic Party. However, once Bernie endorsed Hillary Clinton I switched to the Green Party and am never going back. Hillary Clinton and the DNC look like Republicans to me now. Meanwhile, I’ve discovered Dr. Jill Stein who, in her sweet but very determined fashion, is much like Bernie Sanders on steroids. She takes his policies further plus has additional problems she’ll attack. She speaks with conviction and articulation, shows courage, compassion, political expertise and, most of all, good judgment. I donated monthly to Bernie’s campaign and I’ve switched that donation to Jill Stein’s campaign. She’s right about voting for the greater good rather than the lesser evil. Continuing to choose the lesser evil will eventually take us all to hell. So I’m giving my vote to a human being who, for once, may have wings.


  7. It may seem counter-intuitive, but maybe the best thing for the Green is to NOT vote for Jill Stein. The author admits she has NO chance. There is, however, another 3rd party candidate that is socially liberal and has a shot of garnering a few electoral votes thereby possibly denying either Hillary Trump or Donald Clinton from achieving the coveted 270. What would happen then? The House of Representatives, currently a majority of which is Republican, would elect the next President from the three highest vote getters. That would be Clinton whom the Republicans would not vote for because she is not a Republican. They would not vote for Trump because the establishment hates him. That leaves Gary Johnson.

    Once a third party candidate achieves the White House EVERYTHING becomes fair game. This can only happen if independent thinking voters all come together.


    • “(She) has NO chance” Neither did Bernie Sanders at this time last year, remember? He may or may not still, but we the people sent a message at the very least of the kind of changes we’d like to see.

      What you call liberal is in actuality Libertarian. He wants to privatize everything. This would be a tremendous boon for big business but would totally eliminate the safety net for the poorest among us. Read the platform on his website and decide for yourself if that is the kind of country you want to live in.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Bill Clinton was impeached! Remember? He put NAFTA on the fast track. He is part of why our country is in such a horrible mess.


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