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.