Why I am Voting for Jill Stein & Ajamu Baraka


I have been pressed by fellow leftists recently about why I am voting for Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka instead of Hillary Clinton. Others like Paul StreetChris Hedges (and here), and
Cornel West have provided solid reasons for their support of Stein/Baraka, but here’re just some of mine:

First, as of the writing of this blog entry, Clinton leads by a significant margin in a vast majority of states—even so-called “contested” states—such that the race is no longer close. Thus, the argument that voting for Stein will put Trump closer to the White House is a weak argument.

Second, leftists need to keep the long game in mind here. If Jill Stein can capture 5% of the popular vote, the Green Party will be eligible for $10 million in federal matching funds for a 2020 presidential campaign. That’s significant.

Third, there is precedent for the long game in recent Greek elections. In the Greek general election of 2004, the (at the time) “fringe” leftist Syriza party earned just 3.3% of the total vote. Ten years later, in 2014, the Syriza party took the Greek general election winning 27% of the vote. Voting for Stein increases the possibility that the same thing could happen here in the U.S. In 2012 Stein received 0.37% of the vote. If she gets 5% this time, that would be a 1400% increase, a result that would send a clear message to a Clinton White House to pay attention such a leftist constituency.

Fourth, to argue as many Hillary supporters do that we shouldn’t vote for Stein because she has no chance of winning overlooks the fact that voting for a candidate primarily because you think she has a chance of winning is not the only good reason to vote for a candidate. I have just provided three others above. A question I have for Hillary voters is this: Imagine that current poll numbers indicated an overwhelming landslide for Trump. Imagine that Trump’s victory was predicted to be similar that of Reagan over Mondale, taking 49 of 50 states. Were that the situation today, would you think that a vote for Hillary is a “wasted” vote? Or would you vote for Hillary anyway? I imagine the latter.

For these reasons and others, I am voting Green in the 2016 presidential election.

5 Responses to Why I am Voting for Jill Stein & Ajamu Baraka

  1. I agree with the need for a third and fourth party, I agree that Clinton is a highly compromised former leftist. Your Reason 2 and Reason 3 above are basically the same (3 is an example of 2). Yes, the long game is a necessary strategy if we are to effect real and constructive change. However, I disagree with your initial and fundamental premise – that the results of this presidential election are a foregone conclusion.
    They are essentially 4 points apart – the margin of polling error. Add low Clinton turnout (oh, why bother, Clinton has this already won), historically high turnout for Trump by previously non-voting white, non-college educated males (tens of millions are still on that sideline) and the erosion of anti-Trump votes by Green and Libertarian voters, and the possibility of a Trump administration becomes very real.
    If this were a less-divisive GOP candidate, I would agree to vote for “the long game”, as when I voted for Nader.
    The chaos that would result from a Trump administration (although I doubt it would last more than two years), from the diplomatic, military, legislative, and economic blunders that he has stood on as his populist agenda present far too great a risk. Our long game must be not only goal oriented, it must be pragmatic. With a week of surprises possible, gambling on a narrow 4% lead, with a fickle, frustrated American electorate, the wise, leftist, vote, is for Clinton, and we have to set aside the protest vote •tactic• in favor of sustaining our “long term” ••strategy••.

  2. First, the four-point margin you cite is the popular vote margin. What really matters are the electoral votes and right now Hillary is polling at 272 to Trump’s 123. That’s decisive.

    Second, my (3) is more than merely a reason for (2). It’s evidence that voting for Stein can make a difference not merely in theory, but in the actual world.

    Third, mine is not a “protest” vote, but a strategic vote. Those are very, very, bigly different.

    Note that I wrote that these were just some of the reasons I am voting Green. There are others.

    Anyway, this four-year presidential election cycle is a grotesque public spectacle. Trump is a dangerous buffoon; Clinton, a neoliberal ideologue. It is under Democratic technocrats (e.g., Bill Clinton, Obama, and, if elected, continuing with Hillary) that democratic institutions have been weakened or destroyed. The power of unions and the wages of the working class have been decimated, fostered by so-called “free trade” agreements like NAFTA (Clinton) and the pending TPP (Obama), while ignoring the land rights of indigenous peoples in the US (Standing Rock) and the Global South. Hillary represents the corporate elite who seek to transfer economic, social, and political power away from the working class. In doing so, they ignore the Common Good by dismantling public institutions (like public universities) while supporting an immoral for-profit healthcare system. Jill Stein is the only presidential candidate on most state ballots who stands clearly against these policies and for protecting the rights of the working class, people of color, and the environment.

  3. Yes. Really. And I didn’t even touch on neoliberal support of for-profit mass incarceration, carceral slavery, debt peonage, and the animal agriculture industry’s contribution to the destruction of the environment and the unnecessary annual suffering and deaths of 5 billion land animals in the U.S. alone.

    • I will try to make a rebuttal later, the “really” was a place holder. Like HRC. Trump’s populist support worries me because HRC’s base may not show up because the media is rigged 😎 to make Dems complacent, and DT’s base has confounded all predictions in the past year. If •ignoring• populism led to change, spurred increasing people’s curiousity to understand what really matters, what is in there own rational self interest, we wouldn’t have Justin Bieber and Kanye and Katie Perry and other vapid creations representing the art of music writ large. We’d have Conor Oberst. We must be vigilant against populist pandering.

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