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If Jill Stein Takes Votes In Swing States And Hillary Clinton Loses, Whose Fault Is It?

Now that it’s dead certain that Hillary Clinton, and not Bernie Sanders, is going to be the Democratic nominee, Democratic Party insiders have moved on… to start fretting about another presidential candidate who has the audacity to point out that Hillary Clinton doesn’t really have a very strong history of progressive politics.

This time, they’re worried about Green Party candidate Jill Stein. They’re saying that, if Jill Stein doesn’t roll over and give up her own presidential campaign, then Donald Trump might win, and it would be all Stein’s fault. The Washington Post describes the New Democratic anxiety this way: “unhappy flashbacks to 2000”. The point, you see, is that in the year 2000, Al Gore lost the presidential election to George W. Bush, by a narrow margin, which just so happened to coincide with the number of votes in some crucial states that went to the Green Party candidate of that year. George W. Bush’s presidency, they’re implying, is all Nader’s fault.

This argument is a ridiculous simplification, but it makes Democrats feel better about their failure to win the 2000 election against a man whom they regard as a simpleton. The truth is that Al Gore lost the presidential election of 2000 because he swerved to the right, disgusting the Democratic vote by promoting conservative principles and choosing the arch-conservative Joe Lieberman as his running mate. Ralph Nader didn’t steal Democratic votes from Al Gore. Gore drove those voters away.

If Hillary Clinton loses the 2016 presidential election, it will be because she drove Democratic voters away. Tim Kaine may not be quite as conservative as Joe Lieberman, but he is repellant to many within the progressive base of the Democratic Party. Actual progressives – rather than people who just use the term “progressive” in election years – will never forget the many times that Hillary Clinton prominently campaigned against progressive causes – most infamously when she helped George W. Bush rush off to war in Iraq.

Donald Trump is the most disgusting person to be nominated by the Republican Party to run for President in living memory. Yet, many Democrats remain reluctant to vote for Hillary Clinton. That reluctance isn’t the fault of Jill Stein. It’s the consequence of Hillary Clinton’s own behavior.

The Democratic Party needs to stop blaming others for its own mistakes. It’s time for Hillary Clinton supporters to own up to their candidate’s many flaws, and make some convincing arguments about why she deserves support in spite of those flaws.

Bashing the Green Party is not the path to victory in 2016.

8 thoughts on “If Jill Stein Takes Votes In Swing States And Hillary Clinton Loses, Whose Fault Is It?”

  1. Dave says:

    The Dems are making a big deal out of Hillary being the first woman presidential candidate. It appears they have never heard of Jill Stein.

  2. Dove says:

    A vote for Hillary is vote for equal rights, education, security & reality based policy. All that’s necessary for Donald’s brand of fascism to triumph is for good people to be divided. Jill’s policies are more progressive on paper, but she is unqualified. The Green Party, like the Libertarian Party, has not organized enough to even get someone in the House of Representatives. Our choice is to hold the line with Hillary (and try to turn the House & Senate more progressive to allow positive change) or allow the Don’s family to command the army and sign anything Paul Ryan & Mitch McConnell give him.

  3. longtail says:

    It isn’t anyone’s fault until people start to die unnecessarily and then you have to ask yourself if the protest vote was worth it.

  4. DB says:

    Okay, six weeks after this post was written, let’s evaluate:

    -Jill Stein has been campaigning EXCLUSIVELY against Clinton, she doesn’t campaign against Trump at all.

    -She has repeatedly used right wing lines of attack against Clinton, promoting their false narratives about her email server, Benghazi, and even tweeting about Clinton’s coughing fit the other day.

    -She is focusing all her campaign efforts on swing states.

    Stein isn’t acting anything at all like Nader. Nader might not have cared if he inadvertently helped Bush win, but it wasn’t his goal. Stein, on the other hand, appears to be deliberately trying to help Trump get elected.

    So yeah, if she tips enough swing states to Trump that he wins, she absolutely deserves to be blamed.

    1. Jim Cook says:


      And South Dakota isn’t a swing state, is it?

  5. Evan Grantham-Brown says:

    “If Jill Stein takes votes in swing states and Hillary Clinton loses, whose fault is it?”

    Blame? Who the fuck cares who’s to blame? If Clinton loses, Donald Trump will be President. If that happens, you can blame Clinton for running a bad campaign or Stein for splitting the vote or Republicans for nominating a narcissistic con man or the whole goddamn United States of America for not laughing Trump’s candidacy out of the race the moment he declared, and you’d have a strong case for all of the above, and no matter who ends up with the blame, Donald Trump will still be President.

    Decide if you’re okay with that. And if you’re not, decide what you’re gonna do about it.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Evan, the point is that deciding whether voting for Stein is the best way to promote a political agenda that is in opposition to that of Donald Trump, is the best way to “decide what you’re gonna do about it.”

      Get it?

      1. Evan Grantham-Brown says:

        And that has what, exactly, to do with “who’s to blame?”

        If you think voting for Stein is the best way to stop Donald Trump from becoming President or preventing him from causing harm in office… well, I don’t understand your logic, but fine. If you think voting for Stein will advance a cause more important than Trump, also fine.

        But anyone who starts talking about “who’s to blame” if Trump gets elected is implicitly conceding that Trump *will* get elected, and the important thing is to be locked and loaded for the circular firing squad that will follow on the left. It’s putting moral purity above any question of outcomes. *That* is contemptible.

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