How Jill Stein Could Reignite the Revolution

By | 8/10/2016 Leave a Comment

There’s an old battle idiom that says if you cut off the head of the snake the body dies. After Bernie Sanders was finally defeated in the battle for the Democratic nomination at the hands of Hillary Clinton (and the Democratic National Committee, the superdelegates, the corporate media, Wall Street and big business lobbyist cash, and a whole lot of voter fraud and suppression at state and local levels), it came as a devastating blow to the many millions around the country who had taken that long journey with the Vermont Senator in his quest for a better future.

As the reality of what had happened began to sink in, many of his supporters were grief-stricken, riven by the inevitable feelings of dejection and despondency that his loss brought with it. Now that the standard bearer for their movement had been cut down, as it were, they themselves felt cast adrift.

In short, the body was dying.

But then, as the fog of war began to clear, there was Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party. Not quite a knight on a white charger, perhaps, but a green safe haven in which to take shelter and regroup.

Since Ralph Nader’s presidential run under the party’s banner in 2000, its significance as a political force has dwindled in the ensuing years, barely breaking 0.10% of the vote in subsequent elections, though Stein’s 2012 run at the top of the ticket did post a marked improvement on its prior two performances.

Of course, so much of political electoral success is about being the right person at the right time. For millions of progressives and independent voters – sick and tired of social injustice and big money politics – Bernie Sanders was just such a person in this election cycle. Until, of course, he was finally strangled by the might of the Democratic Party apparatus.

But despite that – or perhaps because of it – Jill Stein could now find herself in that very same position.

The political revolution that Sanders so tirelessly led the charge on was, as he continually emphasized, not about the man himself but the movement – or “not me, us” as his slogan so succinctly put it. With his leadership charge now essentially muzzled, why then should a movement centered on progressive politics, social justice, the environment, grassroots democracy, nonviolence, LGBT rights and racial justice not now join forces with its natural partner on those very issues?

While it’s true that Sanders, despite his protestations, commanded a hefty amount of cult of personality – from his wild hair and Brooklyn accent to his fiery, rabble-rousing stump speeches – and that’s something that can’t be replaced, Stein is not without her own personal brand of charisma.

A Harvard graduate, she’s smart, well-spoken, a great debater with a warm, personable demeanor, and is also – since these things do matter in the world in which we live – very telegenic.

For anyone who considered supporters of the Green Party to be something of a fringe element inhabiting the hinterlands of the political landscape, remember that a (then) little known 73 year old Senator from Vermont launched a presidential campaign on essentially those same issues from the lakeside in Burlington, Vermont with free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and music from a Cajun band named “Mango Jam.” He ended up with over 13 million votes and came within a hair’s breadth (or a DNC dupe) of becoming the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.

But the main challenge that now faces Jill Stein and her new influx of brothers-and-sisters-in-arms is the same one that Sanders faced when he stood on the banks of Lake Champlain: exposure.

Name recognition, exposure to the issues, exposure to the candidate delivering the message – those are all vital elements in building a campaign that will get the attention of voters and open their minds to a third party alternative. That’s exactly why the Clinton campaign played such a duplicitous shell game when it came to scheduling the debates – the less the public knew about Sanders the less likely they’d be to put their faith in him. And it’s not as if those voters aren’t open to the idea of a viable third party. A Gallup poll conducted in late 2014 found that a full 58% of U.S. adults thought that a third party was needed, including a whopping 71% of the largest voting block in the country – independents.

If Stein and the Green Party are going to be able to make significant inroads between now and November they’re not likely to get much help from the corporate media. The CNNs of this world essentially ignored Sanders or treated him as a novelty until he started filling stadiums, raising campaign cash like no one before him and threatening the very candidacy of the establishment’s insider of choice.

Once again, it will come down to grassroots organizing, passion, blood, sweat and tears, and of course the people’s own media – social media – to get the message out. That means there’s a whole lot to do in a very short time.

But in an election year where pretty much anything that could happen has happened…it could happen.

The upshot:

Whatever happens in this year’s election, the migration of so many of the movement that Sanders launched over to the Green Party would seem to be a natural and commonsense fit. They have so many shared issues and priorities, and their union can only help towards the creation of a truly viable third party alternative. In time it may morph into something different; it may eventually even have a different name, but whatever comes out of it there has surely never been a more opportune moment in modern U.S. political history for a new direction.

While Senator Sanders himself continues to do admirable work with Brand New Congress and Our Revolution, the fact remains there’s never been a greater need for a national third party of real authority than there is right now.

The party establishment may feel they have finally “brought to heel” the massive progressive movement that exploded in their faces over the course of this election, but under Jill Stein and the tent of the Green Party there is absolutely no reason why all of that passion, energy and enthusiasm can’t be channeled into a focused, potent force that so many millions of voters have already proven they’re more than ready for.

And it can…with enough exposure.

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