I'm not going to start this post with a list of reasons about why it's bad to vote for a third party candidate. We've all seen enough of those articles, and frankly, they don't seem to be persuading anyone, and it can feel condescending. People have valid and legitimate reasons to vote for third party candidates, and I have never been in the business of talking people out of voting. So if you want to vote third party, godspeed my little involved citizens. Live your truth.
But think twice before you vote for Jill Stein.
Not because she's in the Green Party, but because of who she is as a candidate. If Jill Stein were running in a Democratic primary, I would also advise you to vote against her, because she is in no way qualified to be the president.
Dr. Stein was a Meeting Representative for the town of Lexington, Massachusetts. Lexington is a town of 31,000, and she served on the town government between 2005 and 2009. Stein has no other elected experience. She was a candidate for the Massachusetts state house, a candidate for Massachusetts Secretary of State, a candidate for governor of Massachusetts, and a candidate for president in 2012, and won none of those races. Jill Stein has a lot of experience seeking political office, and almost no experience making the compromises needed to govern effectively.
I could give you a list of elected officials with similar progressive values who are more qualified to be president than Jill Stein. And yeah, one of those links to a certain Rick Astley video but you're going to have to click through a wide variety of progressive politicians before you Rick Roll yourself.
Dr. Stein's inexperience shows through when one goes through her platform page with a fine tooth comb. One example that jumped out at me was when Stein promised to ensure access to the morning-after pill, "lifting the Obama Administration's ban" on the emergency contraceptive.
That did not sound right, so I did some investigative reporting, armed only with my NYTimes subscription. Turns out, in 2011, Obama said he did not want women younger than 17 to be able to buy the morning-after pill without a prescription. Not great Barack! I thought you were supposed to be a champion of women's rights! We all have free birth control because of you!
Then I kept reading and realized that in 2013, Obama reversed his own ban, and made it possible for women to buy the morning-after pill over the counter. It is not clear what ban Jill Stein is referring to on her website, since there is no Obama-sanctioned ban on the morning-after pill.
Stein also wants to put a moratorium on GMOs until they are "proven safe." Which begs the question, what does it take to prove that GMOs are safe to Jill Stein, given that multiple studies that say GMOs are safe to eat. For a scientist, she sure doesn't seem to be convinced by robust scientific data.
One of Jill Stein's other campaign promises is to replace "unemployment office with employment offices" with no other explanation given. If I may step inside Stein's head, it sounds like she wants government unemployment agencies to focus more on helping people find jobs, which is kind of what unemployment offices already do. It's honestly not clear to me what she wants with this policy proposal because she does not elaborate on it at all.
I could continue to pick through Jill Stein's policy proposals, but I don't have all day, and neither do you. The overarching problem with all of her plans is that Dr. Stein has no stated strategy for how she will make these policy proposals a reality. "Political revolution," I hear you say, off in the distance. "We will elect progressive politicians who will support her plans."
Sure, but only a third of the Senate is up for reelection in 2016, and many Congresspeople are from safe districts that haven't seen progressive primary challengers, and are unlikely to lose their general elections. It's just not likely that Congress will not only flip both houses from Republican to Democrat and elect enough people to promote some of the radical policies Jill Stein is advocating.
Of course, a hostile Congress will create problems for any elected official, so why would it be different for Jill Stein than it would be for Hillary Clinton? This is where experience and relationships come into play. Hillary Clinton's years in the Senate allowed her to not only form lasting and cordial relationships with members of Congress, but people from both parties respect her, which will help her pass her policy proposals. Many Senators not up for reelection already know and have worked with Clinton, unlike Jill Stein.
Jill Stein has some good ideas, but good ideas don't always translate to a good candidate. I have a lot of good ideas, but I'm by no means qualified to be president, as I have no executive experience. Neither does Jill Stein. She does not have the skills, relationships, experience, or focus to implement the grand ideas and promises she has made, and her current policies and plans do not even hold up to a mild amount of scrutiny. It is the official opinion of West Wing, Best Wing that Jill Stein is not qualified to be a Speaker of the Massachusetts state legislature, let alone the most powerful person in this nation, and if there are progressive elected officials you want to support, look in your own backyard! Your state elected officials may surprise you with how progressive and qualified they are, and they don't get the recognition they deserve.