Today, we will go on a journey. We will forget technicalities. We will forget, for a moment, that Jill Stein in fact has no path to the presidency, that there is no conceivable method she can do anything but steal votes from Secretary Clinton and hand the election to Donald J. Trump. (I will have to remove this construction for a brief moment to make a single point in here, but I do not believe it breaks the point of this diary.) We will imagine a universe that uses a sane instant runoff election system. This means that there is no strategic aspect to my vote. I can vote for my favorite candidate without restraint and without worry that my vote can possibly help The Donald.
This may surprise a lot of my friends who are Jill Stein supporters. My first choice vote is quite clear to me: Hillary Clinton.
“But… but… but Jill Stein is awesome!”
No, no, no she is not. In fact her policies are blatantly insane, and the general concept of her candidacy is not much better.
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t good things in her set of ideas. And I will admit that on nearly everything, she’s miles better than Donald Trump. But it’s not Trump I’m comparing her to. None of us should be trusting Trump, at this point.
Here’s a link to her platform. Almost everything written on here *sounds* good. But read through it. Do you notice something missing? Something quite important?
Let me provide an example. Here’s what Jill Stein has to say on our tax code and budget:
A Humane Federal Budget with Fair Taxes
- Increase government revenues for social needs by restoring full employment, cutting the bloated, dangerous military budget, and cutting private health insurance waste.
- Require full disclosure of corporate subsidies in the budget and stop hiding subsidies in complicated tax code.
- Rewrite the entire tax code to be truly progressive with tax cuts for working families, the poor and middle class, and higher taxes for the richest Americans.
- Strengthen rather than cut Medicare and Social Security. Remove the cap on social security taxes above a certain level of income.
- Maintain and upgrade our nation's essential public infrastructure, including highways, railways, electrical grids, water systems, schools, libraries, and the Internet, resisting privatization or policy manipulation by for-profit interests.
That looks good, right? But, let’s compare that to the Secretary’s plan. I’m not going to copy all of it.
Do you see the difference?
Well… Hillary’s is longer. It uses… more words?
Exactly! Details. Nuance. The “how” a candidate intends to achieve her plans! And this is just one example! Jill Stein *never* reveals her actual plans! She just takes it for granted that we’re going to do all of these things.
Let’s examine a few more things. I’ll start at the top of the page and work my down, looking at single points or short groups of points. Most of these lack nuance, but more than that: they are actually bad (sometimes because of the lack of nuance and understanding of consequences, sometimes because they’re just bad).
- Enact an emergency Green New Deal to turn the tide on climate change, revive the economy and make wars for oil obsolete. Initiate a WWII-scale national mobilization to halt climate change, the greatest threat to humanity in our history. Create 20 million jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.
Does Dr. Stein care to elaborate on what exactly a “WWII-style national mobilization to halt climate change” constitutes? A War on Climate Change? Because the War on Poverty, War on Drugs, War on Terror, have been so successful up to this point, clearly a War on Climate Change will save our future!
- Create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work, replacing unemployment offices with employment offices. Government would be the employer of last resort, and the unemployed would have an enforceable right to make government provide work. Create direct public employment, as the Works Progress Administration did, in public services and public works for those who can't find private employment.
How, exactly, is the government going to provide work? As an enforceable right of everyone? This seems laughable. Where will these jobs come from? How will they be funded? This seems more difficult to work than even just going straight to Universal Basic Income policy. Given the rest of her ideas, why doesn’t she just support UBI instead? That’s actually more feasible than this, and more sensible than this.
- Guarantee economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities, with effective anti-poverty programs to ensure every American a life of dignity.
Care to explain what these “anti-poverty programs” are? Bueller? Bueller?
- Replace Common Core with curriculum developed by educators, not corporations, with input from parents and communities.
This one is asinine on so many levels. First, Common Core absolutely was developed by educators, and it absolutely did have input from communities. It was developed by a wide variety of experts, including heavy representation from the American Federation of Teachers. Was there corporate input? Likely, yes. But this is not a bad thing. Corporate does not automatically mean bad. Corporate employees are a huge sector of our workforce, and it is natural for them to have input in what skills people need to develop as they enter the workforce in the 21st century. Second, you can’t “replace Common Core”. Contrary to the belief of some, Common Core is in no way a federal policy. The President, or even Congress, has no power to remove Common Core. Each state made the decision on whether to adopt it, and many did.
Most importantly, Common Core is not a bad thing. I get tired of having to defend Common Core, as a high school substitute teacher and private instructor myself, from people that have no idea what it is. There are many problems with it, I admit. If I were implementing Common Core I would’ve started with the first year of it only for first graders, and rolled it up the grades slowly. Asking high school students to handle common core after learning traditional methods is hard. However, when taught properly, Common Core (at least on the math side) forces students to think critically and conceptually and allows them to learn mathematics in a way that makes sense, rather than simply rote memorization that is hard and confusing for students, eventually causing many to “hate math”.
Jill Stein clearly has no clue what she is talking about.
- America's youth should not be put in jail for offenses they commit.
I can’t even begin to argue against this because I seriously do not comprehend this statement. It’s simply too ludicrous to be real. I feel like this is likely a mistake or just bad wording somehow. But you are a candidate for President of the United States. You cannot make these kinds of silly mistakes.
- Cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases. Ensure a just transition that replaces reductions in military jobs with jobs in renewable energy, transportation and green infrastructure development.
I agree with the concept of cutting military spending. But we cannot simply close all our foreign military bases. We have allies, we have commitments to presences in various parts of the world. You cannot simply drop everything without serious negative consequences. Then again, she seems to question the concept of military alliance in general and/or go into conspiracy theories on how our military operates. Granted there are some valid issues in our military policy, but, again, nuance, details, these things matter. Unilaterally removing ourselves from NATO, and removing all our bases, is simply asking for a worldwide disaster.
- Restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense.
Restore it? This was a thing? When? The National Guard has always been intended to provide internal support, and was not our mainstream military. At best, it’s the “militia”.
- Agree to Russia’s proposal to jointly reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,000 nuclear weapons each. Also call for all countries to the table to negotiate a treaty for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
- Remove US nuclear weapons in Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Italy and the Netherlands.
So, what, just concede the nuclear sphere to Russia? What could possibly go wrong! (No, I don’t believe Putin will actually do any such thing he might claim to agree to, and you shouldn’t either.)
- The US must take the lead in nuclear disarmament by itself starting to disarm. We should create a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East region and require all nations in the area to join.
“Require all nations to join”? What does this mean? How are you going to force nations to do what you want? Doesn’t that go against EVERYTHING ELSE IN YOUR POLICY? (The rest of her foreign policy can be called out for similar lack of nuance and recognition that consequences exist. I’m not going to repeat myself ad nauseam. These were simply the most egregious offenders.)
- Restore the right to run for office and eliminate unopposed races by removing ballot access barriers.
- Guarantee equal access to the debates to all ballot-qualified candidates.
- Provide equal and free access to the airways for all ballot-qualified candidates, not just those with big campaign war chests.
These points sound good. But there’s a problem with just removing ballot restrictions, and giving everyone equal time. Some candidates are insane. Recall my mention of 34 candidates on the ballot for US Senator of California in a previous diary. A great many of these were candidates were quite clearly not running a serious campaign and just on the ballot to troll or so they could say they were a candidate for political office. I shudder to think about how many candidates we could have if everyone got equal time and everyone could just place themselves on the ballot. Details, nuance. Please. There should be a balance. (I should point out as well that this, along with basically the rest of the section, concerns election law that is in fact handled by the states. Again, not a federal power.)
- Impose an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
First, you can’t actually do this. The federal government does not have the power to do this. But let’s suppose it did. This would single-handedly create one the worst economic disasters in recent history, if not the worst. If this happens, banks will respond by putting a moratorium on all home loans and landlords will just stop renting to everyone that isn’t very wealthy. So no one could afford to have a place to live anymore. This would make 2008 look like a pebble compared to the mountain that would be unleashed with such a decree. While I can see the problem that she’s trying to solve here, the solution is far, far worse than the problem. Foolhardy, lacking in nuance. Quite typical of all of her policies.
So everything I’ve mentioned above, has been taken straight off her platform. Let’s talk about some things she doesn’t mention on the website. She is disturbingly quite anti-science, for one.
This link discusses how she appears to pander to the notion of “wireless… screens… hurting your kids” or something like that. Which, you know, there’s no evidence of whatsoever.
And this discusses her pandering to arguably the single most dangerous movement in the US: anti-vaxxers. (A Penn and Teller video to say the blatantly obvious in response. It’s not the most on-point for this. But this video deserves widespread attention regardless, even if you don’t like Penn’s politics, as I don’t either really.) And of course, most of the rest of this is just wrong: most members of the CDC and FDA are not “corporate.” I could go on and on. (She claims not to actually be anti-vax, but this is disturbing nonetheless.)
I will briefly drop our illusion of her having a path to the presidency to point out that Jill is spending millions of dollars on a campaign she has no chance to win, when she could redirect the Green Party’s efforts to local races that she could actually win and actually get to make policy in, rather than… this. So she lacks basic political sense on this front.
Now, let's talk about one of the most important concepts to consider for a potential candidate for President of the United States. Her qualifications. Or in this case, lack thereof. Jill Stein has never held public office beyond the position of a town councillor, nor held any position of public trust higher than this (such as, oh, say, Secretary of State, or for that matter even a minor functional position within any federal department). She continues to run for President but never actually gets anywhere with it. She is lucky that this election cycle, the unexpected has happened in the form of Donald J. Trump — because his presence is the only reason she’s not far and away the most unqualified candidate running, and possibly the most unqualified candidate in recent history to run for President of the United States. She's more qualified than Trump, because that minor position in a small town in Massachusetts beats… absolutely nothing whatsoever. But that’s an awfully low bar. She is thoroughly unqualified.
In conclusion, even if Jill Stein had a legitimate chance at being President, I can’t vote for her, at least not as my first choice. She gets my vote head-to-head over Trump, but so does a sack of rocks. My choice for President of the United States must remain Hillary Clinton.
Coming soon: A similar piece on Gary Johnson.