I am addressing this to my friends who have supported Senator Bernie Sanders but are now considering voting for, and working for, Dr Jill Stein, the candidate of the Green Party.
First of all, let me say that I understand you. And I have a confession to make: I liked Ralph Nader in 2000. I donated money to his campaign and I encouraged others to vote for him. And I agree — he was not the reason that Al Gore lost the election. I understand the temptation of voting for the Greens when we’re pissed off at the Democrats.
But to do so this year would be a colossal mistake.
There are two reasons for this. The first one you can already guess, and many of you will agree with. The second one will be a little bit more surprising, and many of you will disagree with me.
The first reason to not vote for Jill is because doing so increases the chances that Donald J. Trump will be your president.
You may say that you’re in a blue state, and that Clinton will win your state regardless of what you do. But that’s political irresponsibility. If I thought Jill Stein was the candidate I wanted to win, I would vote for her in any state. And if you’re 100% certain that your vote will not make a difference, that you know with absolute certainty how your state will vote in November, then you have the gift of prophecy. Because the pollsters don’t know, and no one predicted either Trump’s nomination nor Bernie’s success in the primaries. This is an unpredictable election which Trump may very well win. Unless we stop him.
The second reason is — well, have you read Jill’s platform? I don’t mean right now, by clicking on that link (as I hope you will do). I mean — a minute ago, when you were thinking what a good idea it would be to vote for her.
There are lots of great things in Jill’s platform. It’s a long list of things progressives want. It is calculated to appeal to Bernie supporters. But it is not Bernie’s platform.
Let me give two examples.
Jill’s platform calls for an end to “U.S. financial and military support to human rights abusers” which sounds like a good idea. And then, in case you didn’t understand which countries she is referring to, it adds:
“Barring substantial changes in their policies, this would include Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.”
Some of you may have no problem with this. If you support ending U.S. financial and military support for Israel, please go ahead and vote for Jill Stein.
If however, like Bernie Sanders, you support U.S. financial and military aid to Israel (such as helping to finance the “Iron Dome” anti-missile defense) — and support the U.S. helping to press Israel and its Palestinian neighbors into reaching an agreement on a two-state solution — then do not vote for Jill Stein.
It’s not just giving up Israel to Syria’s Assad, Hizbollah and Hamas. Jill Stein opposes the U.S. being involved anywhere in the defense of democratic countries. Her platform calls for this: “Cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases.”
That includes U.S. bases in Nato countries which are threatened by an aggressive Russian leadership headed by Vladimir Putin. The last thing people in countries that border on Russia would like to see is a U.S. which has cut its military power in half and withdrawn all its troops from foreign countries.
In Jill Stein’s world, Russia is not a threat, a view she shares with Donald Trump. Hizbollah is not a threat. North Korea is not a threat. There is no need for a powerful United States, or even Nato for that matter.
Supporters of Stein may at this point defend her platform by saying that I’ve cherry-picked the parts I don’t like. There are plenty of good things in the platform. That’s true.
But what’s important when you’re running for president of the United States? Jill Stein is not running for mayor somewhere. She’s made a great mayor. I’d vote for her.
But she is running to be the Commander in Chief of the world’s greatest superpower, a country whose arsenal and whose military defeated fascism 70 years ago and is the only thing standing between Russian aggression and countries like Ukraine, Poland, Georgia and the Baltics. Without U.S. support, Israel would have a far more difficult time defending itself against Hizbollah and Hamas rocket attacks, and the threat of Iranian nuclear arms.
If you support Jill Stein’s views on defense and foreign policy, by all means – vote for her. If you don’t, if you worry about aggressive powers like Russia, Iran, and North Korea, think twice.
You may not like Hillary Clinton, you may not trust her, you may have preferred Bernie Sanders. I get that.
But in 2016, in the real world, where it’s dangerous and America does need to play a role on the international stage, voting for Jill Stein is more than a waste of a vote. It’s dangerous and irresponsible..
Don’t do it.