The Green Party of the United States formally nominated Dr. Jill Stein, who campaigned on a promise to create a Green New Deal in America, as their presidential candidate at the party convention Saturday.
Stein had been the presumptive nominee for weeks, an assumption made official in a vote held at the party’s convention in Baltimore, Maryland where Stein defeated activist and actress Rosanne Barr by a tally of 193.5 to 72. She will be joined on the ticket by Vice Presidential running mate Cheri Honkala, the National Coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.
Taking the stage to Bob Marley’s “Get up, Stand Up,” Stein vowed in her acceptance speech to, “turn the White House into a Green House,” and promised to be a true alternative in the presidential contest as a representative of, “the only national party that is not bought and paid for by corporate money.”
“If we want to change the broken political system, what we need is not a new law or a new lobbying effort,” Stein said. “We need a new, unbought political party that can put people of integrity into office.”
In a wide-ranging speech, Stein promised to puruse a litany of progressive causes, from marijuana legalization and demilitarization, to a radical overhaul of the tax code and a crackdown on Wall Street, positions she cites as part of her Green New Deal. Delving into specifics, Stein called for a reinstatement of the Glas-Steagall Act, the post-Depression package of financial regulations aimed at curbing overly risky speculation, and for a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed-out bankers. Stein was not sparing in her criticism of President Obama either, saying he was practically as bad as his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. In particular, she remarked that Obama has overseen a major crackdown on immigration that has led to a record number of deportations. a policy she derided as the, “politics of fear.”
“What democracy needs is not fear and silence, but voices and values,” Stein said. “It is time to answer the politics of fear with the politics of courage.”
The Green Party — not to be confused with The Greens, or Green Party USA — is a voluntary association of state-level green parties. Originally founded in 1996 as the Association of State Green Parties, the party has found little support on the national level since Ralph Nader received 2.74 percent of the vote in 2000; by 2008, the party’s nominee, Cynthia McKinney, received just 0.12 percent. Stein is not expected to create major waves this year as Obama and Romney duke it out against each other in what will likely be the most expensive campaign ever, a fact criticized by convention attendees who chanted, “occupy the debates,” while Stein railed against the two-party system.
Stein, a long-time physician and teacher, first forayed into politics as a public health advocate when she felt that the government wasn’t adequately protecting it’s citizens from emerging health dangers. Jaded by the influence of money in politics, she later pursued campaign finance reform in Massachusetts. She cites that state’s legislature’s decision to repeal a voter-approved campaign finance reform law as one of the primary reasons she stepped into electoral politics in the first place.
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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