DES MOINES — Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein told about 150 supporters in Iowa on Sunday they can help transform their futures for the better by voting their convictions in November rather than settling for someone who represents the lesser evil in the politics of fear.
Stein said Americans who are underdogs in society and the economy can become “the top dogs” by flexing their strength in numbers at the polls in support of her “New Green Deal” that would slash military spending, transform health care, transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, and erase student debt for millions of young people who would be free to pursue their dreams rather than work multiple jobs to pay off college obligations.
“Forget this lesser-of-two-evils propaganda,” she said of a presidential race that has focused mostly on Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump — who are viewed unfavorably by large blocs of voters. “It’s politics of fear that tells us to vote our fears rather than our vision and our values.
“What did we get from the politics of fear? We got everything we were afraid of,” Stein told supporters who gathered on the Iowa Capitol grounds. “The lesser evil and the greater evil are in a race to the bottom.”
A number of people at the rally were former Bernie Sanders supporters who said they felt betrayed when he endorsed Clinton and now viewed Stein as the best hope to carry on a political revolution in America.
“I just felt disillusioned,” said Jason Carsello, a Drake University student who supported Sanders in the 2016 Iowa Democratic caucuses but now backs Stein.
Daniel Clark, 25, of Mount Pleasant, who was a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, said the experience was “eye-opening” for him in regards to the corruption of the two-party system. He said Stein “has always been my plan B.”
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Stein said the election should not be about “want we don’t want” but rather about what the American people do want, and the only way to give them the opportunity to choose is to open the televised debates that start later this month to more participants.
“This is no ordinary moment. This is an absolutely transformational moment,” she told rally attendees.
Stein — who was arrested when she showed up for a presidential debate in 2012 and this year faces misdemeanor criminal charges in North Dakota stemming from a recent protest against the Dakota Access pipeline — said she is willing to risk arrest again with a “direct action” Sept. 26 in New York at the first presidential debate. She urged supporters to rent buses and join her.
“If we can’t have an open discussion now, when can we actually have it?” asked Stein, 66, a Harvard-educated retired medical doctor who described herself as a “mother of fire” because of the limitations she thinks are being placed on young people who offer the best hope for dealing with immigration, gay rights and racial injustice.
Stein said 43 million young people are “locked into debt” who could prove to be the winning plurality in a three-way presidential vote if they shake off the apathy and hopelessness they are being served by the major political parties.
“We want to put you in the driver’s seat. We want you to come out and vote so that we can cancel this debt, so we can make higher education free and we can ensure there are jobs through a Green New Deal and we can end these wars for oil — which are also a cross for you to bear — and fix the climate crisis,” she told young voters.