There are three minor-party candidates whom major media outlets take seriously, each for different reasons. Green Party nominee Jill Stein attracts national attention because her radical left-wing policies detract from the Democrat Party. It is primarily for this reason that I can understand a thinking conservative’s decision to vote for her in November.
This is the fourth article in my series explaining how a true ideological conservative can back any of the five major candidates for president this year. My arguments for Donald Trump may not be surprising, and those for Gary Johnson might be inspiring, but those for Hillary Clinton likely turned some heads. The reasons to vote Jill Stein might also seem contradictory, but bear with me.
Without further ado, here are four reasons a thinking conservative can pull the lever for the Green Party candidate.
1. Jill Stein cannot win.
It is possible for Libertarian Gary Johnson or Independent Evan McMullin to win the November election — extremely unlikely, but possible. It is not possible for Jill Stein to win, period. She has 2.5 percent in the RealClearPolitics national average, and FiveThirtyEight does not even list her in its presidential projections.
Johnson polls at 6.5 percent, and in some states, as high as 15 percent. McMullin is effectively tied with Trump and Hillary in his home state of Utah, a state he could feasibly win. If the Electoral College is split in November (itself very unlikely) and either Johnson or McMullin wins a single state, it is indeed possible for a third-party candidate to win the presidency.
Jill Stein is not that third-party candidate. She is not polling anywhere near even Gary Johnson, and there is no state where she is a true electoral threat.
This is very good news, because Stein is legitimately crazy. Last month, she showed up late for an event because she went to the wrong city. Also last month, she vandalized a bulldozer to stop construction of a pipeline.
If you vote for Stein, you need not fear that she will actually win. But there is a reason to vote for her, and it can be rather compelling.
Next Page: What would voting for Jill Stein do to the Democratic Party?
2. Split the Democrats.
Anyone who attended the Democratic National Convention in July knows how angry Bernie Sanders supporters were at the nominee, Hillary Clinton. When WikiLeaks released DNC emails showing that the Democratic National Committee had weighted the primaries in Clinton’s favor, the crowd booed DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Outside the convention, there was a huge protest by Black Lives Matter, members of which chanted, “Don’t vote for Hillary, she’s killing black people!” Activists I spoke with outside the DNC insisted that in November, they would only vote for Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein.
Stein’s platform reads like Bernie Sanders on steroids. It calls for a “Green New Deal,” aiming to hit “100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation,” as though the current farming system were unsustainable.
Democrats talk about making health care a “right,” and so does Stein. But her platform also calls for two other “rights,” education and work. “Jobs as a Right” is her rallying cry to guarantee “living wage jobs for every American who needs work,” while also promoting more unions. The platform also pushes the abolition of student debt — “to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude. Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university.”
No Republican could support such policies, but if Jill Stein gets more votes, her party might become the home of disaffected Sanders socialists. The Democratic Party will never fully become their home, without seriously weakening its electoral potential. But the Green Party could welcome the radical liberals into political obscurity.
3. The Green Party gains credibility.
The biggest obstacle to the Green Party becoming the home of disaffected Sanders voters is its lack of credibility. As noted above, Stein only gets 2.5 percent in the RealClearPolitics average. She has not yet pulled the Bernie crowd away from Clinton’s party.
What if I told you that you could help her do that? If you vote for Jill Stein this November, her vote total goes up. The more votes she gets, the more she looks like a credible alternative for people who know that the Democrat Party is less radical than they are.
The more votes Stein gets in November, the better the Green Party looks in the years ahead, and the harder it will be for Democrats to unite all liberals into their camp. This leads to the final argument a conservative should vote for Jill Stein — what happens if she gets 5 percent of the vote.
Next Page: Stein could deal the Democrats a long-term blow.
4. Public funding for elections.
If Jill Stein gets 5 percent of the vote in November (unlikely, but possible), the Green Party will be able to claim $20 million in public funding for the 2020 general election. Yes — $20 million to boost the party which can split the Democrats in two.
According to the Federal Election Commission, a minor-party candidate qualifies for the $20 million public grant if that party’s candidate “received between 5 and 25 percent of the total popular vote in the preceding Presidential election.” This means that, should Stein hit 5 percent of the vote, that would pay huge dividends for the Green Party next cycle.
With serious funding like that, the Green Party could split the Democrats in serious and lasting ways. Bernie Sanders could become the harbinger of a long-term divide inside the Democratic Party, ripping it apart at the seams. Sanders himself may have endorsed Clinton, but his radical campaign suggests there is a large contingent of voters in that party who are extremely unsatisfied with their liberal commitments.
As a voter myself, I am not convinced to spend my vote in this way, but I can definitely respect a conservative who wishes to use his or her influence to split the Democratic Party.
Many conservatives have called President Obama a socialist, and his motivations indeed push more in that direction than most previous presidents. But even Obama has had to make compromises, and he is nowhere near as radical as Sanders or Stein.
Here’s the thing, however — thousands of so-called Democrats are that radical, and deep down, they know that the Democratic Party is not their true home. They just need an extra push to get them out the door.