Why a vote for Jill Stein is not a “wasted” vote

Green Party of Ohio
By Bob Fitrakis & Suzanne Patzer
September 29, 2016

Voters beware! Don’t let mainstream shills for the Democratic Party masquerading as non-partisan progressive journalists or pundits bully you into believing you can’t decide for yourself or that the fallout from your vote will topple our nation.

First of all, let’s get something straight. No vote is a “wasted” vote. Anyone who tells you this does not have respect for you or our democratic system. All Votes Matter. A person who takes time to think about issues or candidates and goes to a polling site to cast their vote is NEVER wasting their time or their political opinion. They are being a responsible citizen participating in the democratic process. They have every right to do so, and to vote for who best represents their beliefs and values.

Second, anyone who suggests that a vote for any minor party candidate is simply done to “give a message” to major political party has a incredibly narrow mindset only able to comprehend a two-party political system. No one voting for a minor party candidate does so merely because they want it to have an effect on the major party. This is an insulting and offensive suggestion. People involved in minor parties genuinely endorse and support their candidates and the parties they represent. They listen to what their candidate will do if elected and if they agree, they vote for that candidate.

To assume the world revolves around Democrats and Republicans in every election and no political decisions can be made independently is absurd. There is little education or information in the U.S. about how electoral systems work in other countries, but believe it or not, our country is unique in that we have only two major political parties. Many countries have four, five or more parties running in every election.

For example, political parties currently holding national office include five in Germany, nine in the United Kingdom, and eight in Sweden. This type of system is considered to be a more democratic way of achieving representation for a variety of views and opinions. Germany and the UK have had an active Green Party on local and national levels for decades.

Independent voters unaffiliated with any political party make up most of registered voters in the country. They have already chosen not to side with one of the two major parties. When they choose Jill Stein, they are making a decision that suits their political wishes. The decision to cast a vote for Jill Stein is simply…to cast a vote for Jill Stein and what she represents.

Third, the notion that the Jill Stein‘s party, the Green Party, is not worthy of your vote must be seen as a very unsubtle tactic to get you to think you’re jumping on the wrong bandwagon. Of course the Greens have less infrastructure than the Dems and the GOP. The Greens are relegated to minor party status by our system that favors major parties and makes every aspect of building a party difficult for minor parties. Why would the Dems and the GOP create laws and election procedures to make it easy for a minor party to gain access to the ballot or money in our political system? Letting minor parties into the mix only threatens the major parties, therefore rules are made that are monumentally hard to overcome. Though it was a struggle, Jill Stein made it on the ballot in 45 states and is a write-in candidate in three. This is a tremendous accomplishment and evidence of widespread support for her and the Greens in our voting public. This happened without huge sums of money from Super PACs, rich people, or international corporations.

Also, it is incorrect to criticize the Greens for focusing on national presidential races and to assume there is no attempt to gain seats on a local level. Greens do run people at the local level and have won seats all over the country. However in some states like Ohio, a minor party cannot retain official ballot status in the state unless they receive 3% of the vote in a presidential election. This requires the state Party and national Green Party to put effort into their presidential campaign in order to stay on the ballot. This is just another one of the rules that stymie minor parties and keep them from becoming major parties.

Finally, be media savvy. As you know, the so-called progressive media and trolls on social media sites would not be bashing Jill Stein and the Green Party unless the Dems were feeling threatened. There are no articles telling us not to vote for the Libertarian Party. The Democrats realize they are a mere shell of the progressive and social justice-oriented party they used to be. They see the upstart Green Party as a young naive version of themselves when their Party stood for human rights, civil rights, environmental protection, anti-coporatism, anti-imperialism, peace, justice and democracy. They are on the defensive. You may not know that the Republican Party was once a third party that challenged the two-party system in the mid-19th century. The Republicans, strangely enough, were the progressives who fought against slavery. This is not an endorsement of what that Party has become today, just a historical fact. Minor political parties have challenged the status quo throughout time and that’s the only way to make change in a country’s electoral system.

The Dems and their shills are attacking Greens and want you to erroneously believe they still represent the only true option for discerning voters. The Bernie campaign threatened them and it was squashed under the lead foot of their anti-democratic, pro-status quo forces. Now the Dems have to silence and marginalize any semblance of a fresh take on their old ideas by the Green Party so they can retain their power and control. Because that’s what politics is really about – power and control. They are not scared of Trump because of his beliefs. They are scared of Trump because he threatens their current power and control in the political system, just like in any presidential election. So, when you waver on whether or not to vote for your chosen candidate or to succumb to the desperate and bullying tactics by friends of the Democrats, remember that social change only happens when people are courageous and act according to their principles.

Editor’s Note: As someone who spent eight years as a Village Mayor in New York State, I am but one of the hundreds of Greens who have faithfully served our local communities, leaving them in better condition than we found them. The only wasted vote is a vote not cast.

After Jill Stein & Ajamu Baraka accepted the nominations from the Green Party, former 'Bernie or Bust' supporters met with Greens and pledged to work for Stein / Baraka's campaign

After Jill Stein & Ajamu Baraka accepted their nominations from the Green Party, former ‘Bernie or Bust’ supporters met with Greens and pledged to work for Stein / Baraka’s campaign.