Yes, Dr. Jill Stein is getting out of New England at peak foliage time to spend a week with her Texas peeps. The itinerary is not finalized yet, but arrangements are afoot for the Green presidential candidate to swing through Texas 13-20 October. Houston will host her for the weekend of 17-18 October, which will include brunch with Latino community leaders and a booth at the East End Street Fest that Saturday morning.
Jill will also visit DFW, the Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio. We tried to pack in El Paso and a side-trip to New Mexico, but it just didn't work out with the time available.
This is exciting news, folks. My admiration for Jill borders on adoration. Her grasp of issues important to progressives is comprehensive, and she articulates her positions well whether speaking or writing. This is not to say I find her completely above criticism, but she is getting better at the one aspect of campaigning where I find her weak: media. This recent appearance on Tavis Smiley's PBS program shows Jill at nearly her best. She keeps her responses concise and to the point. In this remote interview with Jesse Ventura, also of recent vintage, she is not exactly smooth, but she gets her points across well.
In interview settings, Jill often delivers answers that are longer than the questioner might like, longer than a TV segment can accommodate. For that I place the blame on the fact that the issues are too complex and intertwined to be reduced to sound bytes, a fact which she understands intuitively. Even non-commercial TV like Democracy Now! doesn't have sufficient time or space for complexity or nuance. Also, she tends to repeat herself and rely on crutch phrases: In one ten-minute video segment, if I remember correctly, she introduced her concluding sentences with "at the end of the day" four separate times.
Jill has also posted some lengthy solo videos online that consist of just her speaking into the camera, without much attention given to lighting, sound quality, or illustrative graphics. A media-savvy adviser would tell the candidate that this is an easy way to lose viewers. Even her avid supporters would have to really want to watch the whole thing to get through it.
So what is her strongest point as a candidate? Connecting with people face to face. If you get to meet her in person, you will know quickly that she sees you as a person with intrinsic value, not just a potential vote. She can listen to your concerns and connect all those abstract political issues with your real life.
Jill Stein is not even the presumptive Green nominee yet. A lot can happen between now and next August, when the Green Presidential Nominating Convention comes to Houston. The Green Party may nominate somebody else for president, or decide not to nominate anyone, depending on circumstances. (At the 2004 convention in Milwaukee, David Cobb narrowly defeated None of the Above.) As of now, Jill is the only announced Green candidate who is taking all the steps toward a serious campaign, including obtaining federal matching funds. She is also party to a lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates to allow the Green and Libertarian nominees to participate, assuming that they are on the ballot for a majority of voters.
To all my friends who are supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Primary race: If Senator Sanders does not win the nomination, I hope that you will consider the Green Party's nominee as your Plan B.
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