Here Comes the Green Party: More Jobs, Pot, No 'Servants to Wall Street'
Hey, America: How would you like 25 million jobs, the end of unemployment and guaranteed college education?
Those are just some of the promises made by Jill Stein, a 60-something Harvard graduate, doctor, musician and, as of last night, the Green Party's nominee-in-waiting for president.
Stein's path to clinching the nomination was fairly easy. Her closest opponent was Donald Trump Twitter enemy Roseanne Barr, who has only 22 percent of the party's "delegates." Stein has 66 percent; she said she was watching the results from last night's primaries on her computer until 3 a.m.
The Greens' convention is in the middle of July, in Baltimore. Tens of people are expected to show up (O.K., maybe hundreds) to officially nominate the woman who once ran against Mitt Romney in the Massachusetts race for governor.
It's tough being a third-party candidate; they don't get much respect from the political establishment. In the political establishment's defense, that's probably because third-party ideas tend to be a bit radical. Stein's answers for providing 25 million new jobs include substantially downsizing the military, taxing financial transactions on Wall Street, and legalizing and taxing marijuana.
But she has bigger problems to tackle first: Stein, who lives in Lexington, Mass., is only on the ballot in about half the states in the country. And after the arduous task of getting on all of them, she's got to vet a running mate.
In an interview with ABC News, Stein said she hadn't even started thinking about a VP nominee - and unlike mainstream candidates, she might not be lying about that. Supporters can offer input on her website, but that's about as far as she's gone in the process so far. Though one potential candidate sparked interest when ABC News, noting similarities between the two, brought up his name: Buddy Roemer, the quixotic former governor of Louisiana who couldn't break through in the GOP nomination, but whose liberty-loving and anti-Big Money views overlap broadly with the Green Party.
"That's a really interesting thought," Stein said. "Many people have suggested that we pair up with a libertarian."
Another benchmark will be getting into a presidential debate with President Obama and Mitt Romney (both of whom, by the way, are "servants to Wall Street," Stein said). It probably won't happen - she'd need to get 15% of people surveyed in public opinion polls to say they'd vote for her. Ross Perot did it in 1992, but that guy had tons of money to fund his campaign.
Stein doesn't have much money, partly because she doesn't accept donations from anyone who hires a lobbyist. And don't expect any Green Party super PACs to crop up, either. Instead, Stein said, she's hoping for a social media-type reaction to her candidacy a la the SOPA bill - the legislation that threatened to shut down websites until Internet users rose up and e-protested. Stein wants to trigger online buzz about her campaign goals so that people (especially students and the uninsured) care enough to tell pollsters they'd vote for her.
"People are at the breaking point," Stein said.