After the final debate in the US presidential race on October 19, Democracy Now! spoke to Dr Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential nominee. Stein and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson were excluded from the debate under stringent rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties. The interview is abridged below.
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What is your response to the debate?
What a distressing hour and a half to sit through: Donald Trump’s psychosis and Hillary Clinton’s distortions of her record and what the future would look like.
And the picture they paint of unbridled militarism, which is already robbing us blind, taking up more than half of our discretionary budget, almost half of your income taxes, only making the world a more dangerous place. That’s terrifying enough.
Add to that what they want to do with the economy. Donald Trump is all about more “trickle-up”. He wants more tax breaks.
But Hillary is also not being clear with us about where we’re going and what her track record is.
Hillary laid the groundwork for the financial crash of 2008 — not alone, of course, but she was certainly supporting the policies of Bill Clinton that not only sent our jobs overseas, but which also enacted Wall Street deregulation, not to mention the anti-immigrant legislation, the anti-African-American legislation that opened the floodgates to this racist war on drugs and the endless expansion of mass incarceration, particularly of people of colour. It’s a very dystopic future.
This is a race to the bottom. We have to exit this incredible spiral downward. Those who would say that you have to vote for the lesser evil now, well it’s really important to look at the track record for that, because the lesser evil simply paves the way to the greater evil.
People just stop coming out to vote for a lesser evil politician and a lesser evil party that’s throwing you under the bus. The base doesn’t come out, so the Congress flips from being Democrat-controlled to Republican.
So, when is it going to get better? If we don’t stand up and fight now, when exactly are we going to stand up and fight?
And what is really important to remember is that there are actually enough people right now, 43 million young people locked in debt, that if that word alone got out, we have the numbers. That is a plurality. That’s a winning plurality, let alone the 27 million Latinos who understand that the Republicans are the party of hate and fear and the Democrats are the party of deportation and imprisonment of children and families in these horrific private prisons.
So we have a very bleak reality. Everybody knows that Donald Trump is terrifying and dangerous. But are we secure with Clinton in the White House, when Clinton is telling us right now that she wants to start a war with Russia over Syria, creating a no-fly zone? It’s going to be very hard not to slide into World War III with Hillary at the helm, starting off her four years with declaring war against Russia by enacting a no-fly zone.
We need a weapons embargo to the Middle East. We need to put a freeze on the bank accounts of our supposed allies who are continuing to fund terrorist enterprises. We got this mess going. We can shut it down.
We need a new offensive in the Middle East — a peace offensive. We’re not going to hear that from either of the corporate-sponsored political parties who are rolling in dough from the weapons industry, from the fossil fuel giants, from the war profiteers, from the big banks. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. In the words of Alice Walker, the biggest way people give up power is by not knowing we have it to start with.
Let me ask you the question that was put to Donald Trump and to Hillary Clinton around whether you will accept the results of the November election?
If there’s evidence of fraud, we would certainly challenge that in court. And in the Green Party, you know, we have led the charge in pursuing election fraud. So, we wouldn’t hesitate to do that, you know, to the extent that it’s possible.
However, let me just tell you, there’s no question about there being a rigged election here, but not in the terms Trump is saying. Actually, the media has been enormously rigged on his behalf: $4 billion of free prime-time media. Hillary had over $2 billion. Bernie Sanders had under half a billion. And, of course, I’ve had practically zero.
So between that and the rigged debates, which the League of Women Voters themselves called a fraud being perpetrated on the American voter, we have the silencing of opposition voices through the fear campaigns and the smear campaigns. We don’t create a better democracy out of our wounded democracy by silencing opposition voices.
We could move to a ranked choice voting system in the blink of an eye. That could be done right now on an emergency basis, so that we actually liberate voters to vote their values.
They can rank their choices. If your first choice loses, your vote is automatically reassigned to your second choice. But the Democrats won’t pass it.
The 5% of the vote threshold nationally is very important, as it makes ballot access much easier and significant electoral funding. Can you talk about what would happen, what the Green Party needs to reach and how much money they would get in matching funds from the government?
Five percent would be an absolute game changer. And the polls suggest we are something under that, but not by far. And, in fact, the polls do not tap unlikely voters, which is our base. That is millennials. That is people of colour and Latinos — disenfranchised voters.
So, we may be actually very close to that 5% threshold. We could even be beyond it.
If we get that 5%, we not only have ballot access then in most states, so that when we begin the election campaign, not only in the next presidential but on all the down-ballot races. Fighting for ballot status would take us the first year of the campaign. It means we can hit the ground running. It also means that we receive US$10 million as a legitimate major party.