If You’re Voting for Stein, You’re Likely Making a Mistake
Sanders fans, ask yourself: What would Bernie really want?
By Lauren Grimaldi, Roosevelt University
While the Democratic Party is mostly united around Hillary Clinton at the moment, there is a growing subsection significant enough to raise concern.
Across the country, former Bernie Sanders supporters so vehemently opposed to voting for Hillary Clinton have made plans to cast their vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein as a means of sending a message to the establishment. Stein is trying endlessly to get the support of Sanders fans, but how much she will succeed in those attempts has yet to be seen.
It is imperative to recognize that no one has to love Clinton, and being disappointed by her victory is understandable.
But let’s get real here.
There is absolutely zero chance that Jill Stein will win this election. So, while there is nothing wrong with actively supporting the Green Party or any other third party candidate, voting for them just so you do not have to vote for Clinton is extremely harmful, as this election is one of the most important in United States’ history.
This may seem like an anti-democratic argument that only further enables voter suppression, condemning fringe voters to live under the tyranny of the two party system forever, but it’s not; the real issue here is examining why one may consider voting third party in the first place.
Voting third party is understandable, but you must do so fully aware that your vote will be statistically irrelevant. While call any vote “wasted” is inherently troublesome, it is also true; in a two party system, outlier votes make statements, not impacts.
Reprehensible as the American system is, any significant, short-term change will come through one of the two major parties. Bernie Sanders himself showed that he recognized this unfortunate reality when he ran for president as a Democrat instead of as the Independent, despite serving in the Senate as a third party politician.
His ability to compromise on the issue of party labels shows not only intelligence, but a desire to improve the country. More and more, Stein has proven that her candidacy and attempts to appeal to Sanders supporters are nothing more than just a protest in the form of a political campaign. If her only true argument is that she is not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, then her campaign is invalid and should not be the least bit enticing to Sanders supporters.
The platform Bernie Sanders ran on was so much more than just reminding voters that he is not Hillary Clinton; his ideals were clear from the start and his calls for change were compelling, if slightly implausible. Stein comports herself with nowhere near the same veracity that Sanders did, because if she truly wanted to make America better, she would realize the consequences in this specific election are far too dire to continue stirring up controversy.
There are true supporters of the Green Party out there, and they deserve to be heard and should cast their vote for whomever they support, but Stein’s request that Sanders’ voters join her campaign simply because she is not Hillary Clinton remains risky. Though it seems like many American elections of late have been a choice between the lesser of two evils, the 2016 election is different—voters now must decide between certainty and uncertainty.
On one side, you have a career politician who has made her fair share of mistakes that should lead to criticism and questioning.
Clinton is by no means perfect, but neither was Bernie Sanders.
A life in politics (as in any field) leads to inevitable crises of character, but to say that Clinton is a special kind of evil is melodramatic. There is no such thing as a perfect politician, but there is such thing as a qualified one, and her name is Hillary Clinton.
The only true evil in this election is Donald Trump, as well as anyone who tries to help him win. “The Washington Post” recently called the businessman a “unique threat to American democracy.” If elected, Trump would make America a laughingstock and do nothing to help the country. Quite simply, a Trump presidency would ruin America.
At this point, all Jill Stein’s rhetoric does is increase Trump’s chances of winning the election. While she obviously does not support Trump, her anti-Hillary campaign is literally predicated on her viability as a lesser of two perceived evils.
For further proof that her campaign is nothing more than a misguided protest against Clinton, Stein’s unofficial campaign slogan is “Jill, Not Hill.” While the campaign does not recognize the slogan officially, it does little to stop it. Sanders supporters, especially those so incredibly dismayed at Clinton’s win, are strong progressives.
Stein’s official platform sounds similar to Sanders in that it aims to eliminate corporate greed and give more power to the people, but her campaign’s pomposity shows she has no ability to compromise, as much of what she is pushing is also a part of the official Clinton platform. Their ideas on creating an economy that works for everyone instead of just the wealthy are almost the same; both promise to create new jobs and both recognize climate change as a vital threat to the world. Differences exist in their foreign policy strategies, but Clinton still leads Stein in experience on that issue, meaning her platform is the more realistic of the two.
Likewise, though Stein’s opinions on vaccines have been largely misconstrued, her claims of being careful about vaccines in general is still troubling given the divisive nature of the topic. She is not fully anti-vaccine, nor does she believe that there is a known link between vaccines and autism, but she has definitely peddled dangerous messages on the topic in general. She has received a lot of criticism for arguing that Americans need not fully trust the vaccine regulation industry, and it is true that her claims only add to the problematic anti-vaccine rhetoric that has been recognized by most as invalid.
When it comes down to it, Jill Stein is nothing more than just a protest against Hillary Clinton. While recognizing Clinton’s faults is important to the viability of a strong democracy, Stein has done little to make herself a worthy opponent. In an election as vital as this, everything must be done to ensure that Donald Trump loses.
As a result, anyone who votes for Jill Stein in the name of Bernie Sanders would be complicit a Trump victory, and partly at fault.