These opinions are the opinions of our author and do not reflect the opinions of everyone within VocaLady Magazine.
The primaries have concluded, the balloons have been dropped, and the party nominees have been chosen- but some voters aren’t sold on their options. Donald Trump is a hyperbolic reality television star and business mogul whose platform is built on building walls against immigrants. Hillary Clinton is part of an established Democratic insider circle whose past foreign policy decisions have left isolationists wary. Although #ImWithHer, I sympathize with my feminist peers and their concerns. But while turning to third parties for an answer may seem appealing, our leftist option, Jill Stein, isn’t an option at all. Here’s why:
- She’s inexperienced. Jill Stein’s highest elected office has been Lexington, MA’s town meeting. Not for lack of trying- she’s run for Governor, Commonwealth Secretary of State, Massachusetts House, and the Green Party’s 2012 nominee. Jumping from town meeting to gubernatorial campaign without name recognition or an established party is ill-conceived and displays a lack of long-term planning. Her unfamiliarity with policy is also painfully obvious, but I’ll get there in a moment.
- The Green Party doesn’t have a substantial lower election record. Although there are over 130 Green Party politicians elected into offices ranging from city council to mayors to State House representatives, that number is scant. There are 39,044 general purpose local governments, and 19,492 of those are municipal governments. Over 130 officials doesn’t even touch the amount of ground they need to cover in order to establish the Green Party as competitive. So where are their grassroots campaigns for school board members, council members, state representatives, and congressional candidates? Your guess is as good as mine.
- Without party support in municipalities, state governments, and Congress, a President cannot build policy effectively. Legislatures draft, sponsor, introduce, amend, and pass legislation by organizing voting blocs and coalitions. Having a party presence in the various levels of government means having allies that drum up support for proposals and whip votes for bills promised during the election. No single person creates law in America, and not even executive orders emerge without some level of support.
- Her policy proposals are vague and at times counter to her constituency. The ideas are solid, such as rectifying the casualties caused by the Prison Industrial Complex by legalizing marijuana and deescalating the punishment for victimless drug offenses, but she’s vague on the execution. As far as amending the harm caused by the war on drugs goes, an excerpt of her platform states: “Release nonviolent drug offenders from prison, removing such offenses from their records, and provide them with both pre- and post-release support.” From where will we draw the funding? (Maybe the money can come from the 50% decrease in defense spending that will lose hundreds of jobs and defy her constituency’s wishes.) What support does she intend to offer? Who are the nonviolent drug offenders (hint: they’re not white) and how does she plan to address the intersection of their needs in matters of racial justice, income disparity, mental health, etc? Her platform states that she aims to, “End police brutality, mass incarceration, and institutional racism within our justice system,” but she doesn’t break down how these issues connect and what such an endeavor would even entail (would it involve judges and juries? What about public defenders? Would she invest in private rehabilitation groups or create and expand government-run efforts towards rehabilitation? Is there a reintegration program for individuals who’ve been surviving in the prison system for decades?) Compare Stein’s bare-bones approach to that of policy wonk Clinton, whose page offers background information on the issues as well as proposals detailing remedies (for example, here’s her take on criminal justice reform). Even if Stein did get elected, would she know where to begin, or would her lofty goals fall to the wayside in the face of partisan resistance and unclear objectives?
- Stein uses bad science to garner support. She’s pandered to scare tactics such as questioning the efficacy of vaccines and promoting GMO labeling (at one point, she went so far as to agree with a supporter that children shouldn’t be subject to the harmful effects of wifi). Although there are valid concerns about the distribution of preventive care to low-income and minority communities and Monsanto’s GMO patents, Stein prefers to capitalize on the sensationalism of debunked theories rather than delve into the very real issues that plague environmental science and public health.
This November, your vote is yours alone, but the impact will touch millions of Americans. Think twice about your options, including supposedly “moral” alternatives.