Last month, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was roundly condemned for surreptitiously substituting a neutral pro-peace Syria statement on her campaign’s website in place of her original pro-war criminal position without a word of explanation.
Now, the URL linking to her original statement no longer seamlessly re-directs to her new statement but has been restored — but without its original incriminating text. Instead, there is the following statement:
“It has recently been brought to our attention that our website contained an old statement posted without the approval of our candidate that did not accurately reflect the position of our campaign or the Green Party. We apologize for any confusion and concern this has caused. Please click here to read Jill Stein’s most recent statement regarding the war in Syria.”
A similar note appears at the bottom of her new statement.
“Previously a prior unapproved draft of our position was inaccurately placed on our website. This was written by a junior staffer as a proposal, and was never the Stein/Baraka position.”
So a statement that was “never” Stein’s position on a — perhaps the — major foreign policy issue in the 2016 presidential campaign sat on her public website for 11 months. It was only taken down one month before the general election because it became controversial… on Twitter.
A candidate too incompetent to successfully put their own positions on a website for almost a year is unfit to wield the awesome political, legislative, and military power of the American presidency and therefore disqualified from serious consideration.
Fortunately, a disastrous Stein presidency is not something we need to worry about.
What we do need to worry about is the positive harm Stein’s 2016 presidential campaign does to the progressive cause.
From beginning to end, Stein’s campaign has been a trainwreck. She spent months trashing supporters of Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid before announcing in June 2015 that she would run to become the Green Party presidential nominee. As the Sanders campaign gathered enormous and unexpected popular momentum throughout summer of 2015, instead of building bridges with Sanders’ legions she instead was “very suspicious” of Sanders’ “supposedly idealistic” bid since he had enough strategic sense to rule out a Ralph Nader 2000-style spoiler campaign if he lost the primary. With Sanders absorbing all the interest and energy of progressives throughout the country throughout the rest of 2015, Stein went on a paid trip to Moscow in December to celebrate the anniversary of the Kremlin’s media outlet Russia Today. There she rubbed, shoulders with war criminals like Vladimir Putin, Trump military advisor Mike Flynn, and Russian legislator Aleksey Pushkov who banned gay couples from adopting children. She was so proud of meeting Pushkov she even posted a joint photo they took together on her campaign website.
As Sanders’ primary challenge moved closer to defeat in spring of 2016, Stein suddenly reversed her hostile attitude and sought to create a joint Green Party presidential ticket with him. He never responded to her about-face but the payoff for her was almost immediate nonetheless: her fund-raising skyrocketed from almost nothing to slightly more than what it costs to run a serious major city council campaign.
With Sanders out of the way, Stein finally started getting coverage by corporate mass media and she flubbed almost every single opportunity they gave her to get her message across to a mass audience. Coming out of the Democratic Convention, the first story on Stein by the Washington Post in late July focused on her pandering to anti-vaccine lunatics. Her selection of Ajama Baraku as Vice President in early August led to a slew of articles about his shocking rhetoric and association with a Holocaust-denier. CNN held a town hall with Stein and Baraku in mid August (this the kind of coverage Nader would have killed for in 2000) and the event yielded no bump for her in the polls even though she avoided an “Aleppo moment” of her own. Her late August meeting with the the Washington Post editorial board was an unmitigated disaster — she could not explain her attitude towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the conflict in Ukraine, falsely accused the government of Saudi Arabia of arming Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, failed to explain how it would be possible to fully transition the U.S. to 100% renewable energy within 15 years, could not defend her running mate’s remarks about President Obama being an “Uncle Tom,” to cite just a few cringeworthy examples.
The Washington Post editorial board debacle was a turning point in her campaign and the corporate media stopped treating Stein as a serious candidate with serious things to say. They finally realized that she — like Donald Trump — advocates unserious solutions to the very serious problems facing this country and the American people.
In early September, Stein garnered some coverage for engaging in juvenile petty vandalism at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Days later, stories appeared shortly after the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when she pandered to 9/11 conspiracy theorists by calling for yet another investigation. In late September, she made a bit of news for getting escorted off the premises of the Hofstra University presidential debate by campus security because she had no press credentials. Only fringe media outlets consider her newsworthy now and so she is happy to appear on Alex Jones’ Infowars where she can warn that World War Three is imminent and that a Clinton presidency will be worse than a Trump presidency without any pushback.
There are at least four ways Stein’s dumpster fire of a campaign harms the struggle to advance a progressive agenda:
- Makes a Donald Trump presidency more rather than less likely. The Stein campaign risks splitting the left-liberal anti-Trump vote between two candidates instead of keeping it united behind one candidate. A divided field of candidates splitting the Republican Party electorate is what allowed Trump to triumph in their primary.
- Ensures that the Green Party remains a middle-class party of white people. The vast majority of people of color want to use their vote as a weapon against Trump and as a means of dealing a death blow to his white supremacist campaign. Stein’s candidacy puts the predominantly white Green Party in the hopeless position of trying to convince people of color that preventing Trump and the Alt-Right racist mob that stands behind him from gaining control of the federal government’s executive branch is a fool’s errand. If you want people to be part of your party you have to embrace their struggle.
- Makes progressive critics or opponents of the Democratic Party look like lunatics by uniting with the likes of Infowars, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, Harambe enthusiasts, and the tin foil hat crowd.
- The over $3 million Stein received for her doomed to lose presidential campaign is over $3 million that did not go to progressives who can actually win and continue the political revolution. One Zephyr Teachout or Pramilla Jaypal in Congress is worth 100,000 Jill Steins on Infowars.