October 2015 will bring visits from a couple of national Green Party celebrities to H-Town. At the beginning of the month, Convention Committee Chair Tamar Yager will come to scout locations for the 2016 GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention. In case you haven't heard the news, in August Houston got the nod to hold next year's big convention. This will be the first GPUS PNC to be held in the Deep South. (I would just say "in the South," but some people still consider Baltimore a Southern city.)
A few weeks later, Dr. Jill Stein will drop by for a couple of days. The dates aren't confirmed yet, but we're estimating 20-21 October. Again, if you haven't heard, Stein is looking to become GPUS's first two-time nominee for president. She is not the only Green candidate, and we don't want to refer to her as the presumptive nominee; however, only she among Greens has applied for federal matching funds and made other steps toward looking like a real candidate.
This blog will report on the exact dates and places of Stein's appearances when they become known.
Two themes keep coming up in Stein's campaign:
- She is participating in a lawsuit against the Federal Elections Commission for its stubborn refusal to allow minor-party candidates into the presidential debates.
- She is not Bernie Sanders, and Bernie Sanders is not Jill Stein.
The primary reason that Greens, Libertarians, et al, are excluded from the debates is the restrictions that the FEC's Commission on Presidential Debates has set in place. A candidate must be polling at 15% in at least one nationwide survey in order to have a place in the debate. H. Ross Perot managed that in 1992, but he had a lot of money to throw around, in addition to his prominence in efforts to reform public education in Texas in the 1980s. But the CPD was formed by the major parties, so it has an interest in protecting the two-party duopoly from additional competition.
On the second point: Yes, Stein and Sanders are retirement-age Americans of Euro-Jewish descent who live in New England. Yes, Green and Democratic Socialist talking points certainly overlap. But there are substantial differences between them on foreign and security policies, especially regarding Israel. Check out this interview of Stein from Mint Press.
Stein also notes that, when Sanders fails to achieve the Democratic Party's nomination, he will not be an available option in the general election, but will instead support the Democratic nominee. If Stein wins the Green nomination, as seems likely, she will be on the ballot in about 44 states, with more than enough electoral votes in play for a potential Green victory.