The Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee says the system is working overtime to disguise the fact that there are other candidates outside the two-parties who will stand up for the people’s agenda that Bernie Sanders represented
SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. On Tuesday, July 12, Bernie Sanders joined Hillary Clinton at a rally in New Hampshire and, as he’s promised very early in his own campaign, officially endorsed the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton. Following that, one of Bernie Sanders’ own campaign surrogates and member of his platform committee, Cornel West, endorsed Green Party’s Jill Stein for president instead of Hillary Clinton. It is also worth noting that Sanders himself had previously referred to Clinton versus Donald Trump as the lesser of two evils. Well, where does this leave the Green Party? On to discuss this with me is Dr. Jill Stein, the head of the Green Party of the U.S. and the 2016 presidential candidate. Thank you so much for joining us. JILL STEIN, CANDIDATE FOR GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION: Good to be with you, Sharmini. And just for the record, our nominating convention takes place just after the Democrats’, so at this point I’m just a presumptive nominee. PERIES: Thanks for that clarification, Dr. Stein. Dr. Stein, you were critical of Bernie Sanders for endorsing Hillary Clinton, but you also invited him to lead the Green Party. Why? STEIN: Well, to be clear, I’m not critical of Bernie for endorsing Hillary Clinton. He said that he would do that. He is a person of integrity and a person of his word, so one would expect him to have followed through on it. I just think he’s a team player but he’s playing on the wrong team. And I wanted to see how we could learn from this very compelling and dramatic experience, where his campaign has really been sabotaged by very underhanded techniques and tactics by the Democratic Party. I wanted to offer him the possibility of growing in this political moment of incredible, unprecedented crisis, where same-old is not working out for us, and it’s just been really played out in a very tragic way with the destruction of his campaign. My hope was perhaps he was ready to explore something different. I’m not surprised and I don’t hold it against him for maintaining his commitment and his particular strategy. I don’t agree with it, but I’m not critical of him for it. I just don’t think it’s the strategy to move us forward. And when he endorsed Hillary, it was as if he gave permission to his supporters to keep going, building this revolution not inside of the counterrevolutionary party of the Democratic Party, but to keep going outside of it, to look at the impact that it’s had on the race. And my hope was that we could do something together. I cannot offer the presidential nomination to him. That’s up to the delegates of the Green Party. But if he were to make the case for why we truly need independent politics, why we need what the Green Party represents–noncorporate politics of, by, and for the people, a political party that supports the agenda of revolution rather than the counterrevolutionary agenda of the Democratic Party–if Bernie saw the light on that and was able to make the case for building through the vehicle of independent politics in the Green Party, he would have, I think, a very good chance of persuading the delegates and joining me on the ticket, either in the VP slot or in the presidential slot. It would take a rules change, but I think all things are possible. And this is a historic crisis that we’re in right now–it calls for new thinking. So that was my pitch to him. That’s not in the cards for him now. But I think his supporters are another story, and I think they don’t want to see–. PERIES: Dr. Stein, now we’ve come to a critical time. The Democratic Party convention is next week. And I’m sure there’s enormous pressure on the Green Party to hand over, particularly in those swing states, hand over the Green Party members to the Democratic Party and ask not to do another Ralph Nader and split the vote and make sure that Donald Trump gets elected. I’m sure there’s enormous pressure. You’re resisting that pressure. Why? STEIN: Well, splitting the vote could’ve been blamed on any of the minor parties in that race in Florida. And remember, it wasn’t Ralph Nader, it was the Supreme Court that stopped the vote recount that would have been won by Al Gore, and it was Al Gore who decided not to fight that outrageous decision by the Supreme Court. So there’s blame to be shared all around here. But, in fact, Al Gore said that he would have done–he supported George Bush’s policy and all the terrible things that we associate with George Bush. And this politics of fear that tells you to vote against what you’re afraid of instead of for what you believe, that politics has a track record. The politics of fear has delivered everything we were afraid of. It is a propaganda campaign. We are the ones we have been waiting for. Democracy needs a moral compass. It needs values. It needs an affirmative vision. Right now we have a situation where the American people are rejecting both of our candidates. Even the supporters of Hillary Clinton don’t really support her; they just don’t like Donald Trump. And the majority of Donald Trump supporters mainly are motivated by not liking Hillary Clinton. And the system is working overtime to disguise the fact that there are other choices–in fact, the kinds of choices that people are clamoring for, that stand up for the people’s agenda that Bernie showed there was so much support for. That agenda is alive and well. Our numbers have actually tripled in the polls. We went from 2 percent to 6 and 7 percent over the course of the last six weeks without any coverage from corporate media. Can you imagine what it would be if we were actually getting some time? So, like Alice Walker says, the biggest way people give up power is by not knowing we have it to start with. We have the power here. We even have the numbers just to look at the people who are trapped in student debt. PERIES: Dr. Stein, before you go there, let me ask you something here. Some environmental organizations are saying that Hillary Clinton is running on the most environmentally friendly presidential platform ever in the history of the United States; and half a billion solar panels by the end of first term and to set a ten year goal for generating enough renewable energy to power every home in America is her rhetoric. Now, I’m wondering how you respond not to her but to the environmental organizations that have endorsed her. STEIN: I think it’s really important to have an honest conversation here. Getting 100 percent renewable electricity only gets us 30 percent of the way to where we need to go. We need to get to 100 percent clean renewable energy. And that’s not just electricity. It’s transportation. It’s heating our homes. It’s all of the uses of electricity. Right now we are on a crash course for disaster. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) a couple of weeks ago announced a new report, which they called the oh my God report, coming up from the Antarctic, which will be rolled out over the course of the next year. This was just a verbal report that at the rate we’re going, we can expect to see nine feet of sea level rise as soon as 2050. This is like Jim Hansen’s report from the year before. So the science is very clear. We are not going to survive even with renewable electricity in ten years. We have an all-out state of emergency, which is why we’re calling for a green New Deal. This is not about politics. This is about survival. In this election, we are not deciding what kind of world we will have but whether we will have a world at all. And that’s not just on climate. It’s on nuclear weapons. It’s on the expanding wars. And the Democrats have been every bit as much a party to this disaster as the Republicans have, including when Barack Obama had two Democratic houses of Congress and we adopted all of the above, which was actually worse for the climate, to look at the massive escalation of extraction all over the world, including Hillary Clinton, who set up her office of fracking. And from her doubletalk it’s very clear she is not going to restrict fracking. And even the Democratic Party platform, which is just a nonbinding document to start with, even that wouldn’t say we’ve got to ban fracking or that we have to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will also make it impossible for us to promote clean renewable energy. So you’re not going to fix this around the margins, especially with a candidate who has been, really, the representative of the predatory banks and of the fossil fuel giants and the war profiteers. She may talk the talk, but she has a very clear track record. We the people here have to say no to this politics of fear, say no to the lesser evil, reject the lesser evil, and stand up and fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it, because they do. The clock is ticking. Democracy needs a moral compass. And we have to be that moral compass. Together we are unstoppable. We need to make it so. PERIES: Dr. Stein, next week you’re on your way to the Democratic national convention. You’re going to be head-on with the party, and you’re planning a series of activities. Tell us what they are and where people could go to participate in those events. STEIN: So, as you know, things are still quite fluid and there are many plans that are in the making. But I can tell you that on Monday the 25th, we will be participating in the March for Our Lives, which is the one March that the city of Philadelphia tried to stop by denying them a permit, and the ACLU helped them get that permit. So we will be marching. And we’ll be marching through the blighted areas of Philadelphia, together with all of those people–the poor, the unemployed, those who are hurting for health care. All the people who’ve been thrown under the bus, come march with us, ’cause that’s most of us these days. We’ll be marching from City Hall starting at 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon. And that march will wind up at the doorstep of my campaign’s Power to the People rally. So come and hear Immortal Technique, who will be performing, along with other hip-hop performers. And a variety of people will be speaking there. So come and join us for that. There will be a variety of additional events as well, including events on Wednesday night, when there will be a lot of action. There will be a people’s conference, I believe on the Saturday before. Let me urge you to go to our website, Jill2016.com, and we will have posted the full calendar of events. So you can join us at the real people’s convention that will be out in the streets, changing the direction of this country, of this world, and of this presidential election. Come and join us. PERIES: Dr. Stein, I thank you so much for joining us. STEIN: Thank you, Sharmini. Great talking. PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
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