If Not Bernie Sanders, Nina Turner Is Jill Stein's Best Vice Presidential Pick
At the Green Party Convention between Aug. 4 and 7, attendees are expected to officially nominate Jill Stein as their 2016 presidential candidate, and her vice presidential pick will be nominated as well. Stein is pushing hard to garner support from those who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries, given her similarly (if moreso) progressive platform. Her effort to get Sanders on the Green Party ticket was rebuffed by the Vermont senator, who eventually endorsed his former opponent, Hillary Clinton. But Sanders delegate and former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner is Stein's next-best choice, and a Stein-Turner ticket might actually happen.
Up until her decision to campaign for Sanders, Turner was one of the leaders of the Ohio Democratic Party. She recused herself from that position in order to hit the campaign trail and spread the bern. She had previously endorsed Clinton, but switched to Sanders, citing his attention to wage and voting rights issues. Unlike Sanders, Turner has not endorsed Clinton, even though she secured the Democratic nomination. With her past tight connections with the Democratic Party, a Turner defection to the Greens would be a big deal — and it might be enough to get hesitant Sanders supporters to do the same.
The argument Stein has been making all along, from her invitation to Sanders to her repeated pitches to the voting public, is that true progressive changes like Sanders has proposed cannot be expected to come from the Democratic Party, which is too entrenched in corporate and monied interests to genuinely represent the people. And Turner suggested in an interview in June that she might agree with that, at least to some extent:
A third party might not be bad for this country. Let's shake it up. We've had more than two parties over the history of our country. I know right now we have two, but maybe a third party might shake up both major parties. I'm a lifelong Democrat, but I want to see the Democratic Party live up to its principles. If we refuse to, if we are not able, then we do need to shake things up.
Turner's statement about possibly needing to shake things up came before emails were leaked that showed Democratic National Committee leaders expressing intent to thwart Sanders' campaign — hardly a principled move from the committee, which is obligated to remain neutral throughout the primaries. Disillusionment with the Democratic Party is running even higher now, and if a seasoned Democrat thinks a third party is the only way to live up to their principles, she might draw a bunch of voters with her in November.
Turner, who is well-known among Sanders supporters, is a strategic and fitting vice presidential choice for Stein. The ticket would not only make Stein more appealing to Sanders supporters, but would also give Turner a way to shake things up concerning the party that has disappointed her.