By Kasia Anderson. This article was first published on Truthdig.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. (Wikimedia Commons)
Memo to Sen. Bernie Sanders: If it’s looking like America’s two-party political system can’t accommodate your revolution, Dr. Jill Stein has another idea.
During her Facebook Live interview Tuesday evening with Truthdig staff, the presumptive Green Party presidential nominee held out an invitation to Sanders to join her party’s presidential ticket in “either of the slots.” From where she sits, Stein sees the Democratic Party establishment as an insurmountable impediment that can’t help but thwart the progress of Sanders’ popular movement. The solution, she believes, is to provide voters with a winning third-party option.
“Continuing the wonderful work that’s been done by the Sanders campaign, I think nobody wants to see that go to the graveyard inside the Democratic Party,” Stein said as Tuesday’s primary results rolled in. “We want to keep that alive and keep building it, because this is what people are clamoring for.”
Pointing to the intense focus on issues such as racial and economic justice, corporatism and climate change during the current campaign season, Stein said she sees this moment in history as one of “extraordinary crisis and extraordinary possibility.” She and other Green Party officials have reached out to Sanders in the past to start a conversation but have yet to get a response.
Here’s the full text of her comments about the possibility of joining forces with Sanders:
The weak link here is Sen. Sanders, and I hope that he will respond to my public offer. I wrote him an open letter: “Would you please come and talk?” Because if we talk, there may be ways to achieve rules changes in the party, so it would not be simple.
But it is potentially possible if Bernie were to convince the [Green] Party—and this would not be so hard. If Bernie came to the Green Party, based on our discussions, and said, “You know, I had a life-changing experience. I really understand what this third-party thing is about now, and we really have to build a revolutionary party if we’re going to have a revolutionary campaign. I really understand that. And I am now working to build the Green Party as the only show in town for building a national independent party of, by and for the people.” If Bernie could make that case to the party, the party—probably at the convention—could potentially change rules and create a possibility for him to run [on] the ticket at either of the slots.
It would be harder to run in the top slot than the bottom; it would require more rule change. But I wouldn’t rule it out. And I personally am very interested in this discussion and would love to have it. It would involve … a change in Bernie’s game plan—a big one—but if anybody has a direct line to Bernie, tell him to call me. I’ve sent him my number, I know he got the email, and I would love to talk to him tonight or anytime thereafter.
And yes, this is actually a possibility. I’m not holding my breath, because actually the Green Party’s been reaching out to Bernie for many years to explore the possibility of him running with our support … and on our ballot line. And we have not yet had a return phone call or a response to an email. But I think there’ve been some really intensive, life-changing developments for a lot of people recently, and I hope that we are all capable, living, breathing, growing human beings and can all respond to this moment of extraordinary crisis and extraordinary possibility in really unprecedented ways, and this would be a really, very exciting, route to go down.
Stein also pushed back on the notion that introducing a viable third-party element into the presidential contest at this stage would represent another “spoiler” situation that would boost presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s chances of taking over the White House. In other words, although a ballot featuring Trump’s and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s names may induce déjà vu for many voters, this isn’t a repeat of the 2000 election, when Green Party candidate Ralph Nader was branded a fatal distraction by Democratic contender Al Gore’s supporters.
“Let me just say that ‘spoiler’ presumes that democracy is bad and that choices are bad,” Stein said. “And actually what’s really different from 2000 is that voters are saying, ‘Screw the system. Throw it under the bus!’ And not only the system but the candidates … and people are clamoring for independent parties and independent candidates and more voices and more choices.”
Your move, Sen. Sanders.