What Bernie Sanders Thinks About Jill Stein Might Come As A Surprise To Supporters

With 32 days until the presidential election, the fight in the public court between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is almost over (though that says nothing for the Republican candidate's tweets, which may continue against "Crooked Hillary" far past November 4). But looking back, we could have had a very different group of tickets on our hands — including Independent Senator Bernie Sanders and Green Party candidate Jill Stein running together. Stein even tried recruiting Sanders following his withdrawal from the race. But what does Sanders think about Stein? Let's just say he likely won't be jumping the Independent-turned-Democrat-turned-Independent-again ship anytime soon.

Though Stein has had Sanders on her radar throughout the entire election, she formally invited him to join the Green Party in July of this year. In a letter sent to Sanders, the Green Party candidate urged the senator to collaborate with her on a progressive movement. "I am writing to see if you would consider joining me in a conversation to explore possible collaboration, in this hour of unprecedented crisis and potential for transformative change," Stein implored. "At a time when the American electorate is rejecting politics as usual in vast numbers, I invite you to join me in pushing the boundaries of that system to a place where revolution can truly take root."

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But it was just this aspect of the election — the blatant dismissal of "politics as usual" — which has led Sanders to likewise reject Stein's offer. Since stumping for Clinton, he's asserted that too much is at stake, given the unusual nature of this election — in other words, Trump — to forfeit a vote for the Green Party.

Speaking to a crowd in late July, Sanders said: "I don't know the leadership of the Green Party, but I respect what they're trying to do. They're focusing on very, very important issues. But I think right now — what is it, three, four months before an election — you're going to end up having a choice. Either Hillary Clinton is going to become president, or Donald Trump."

Sanders went on to say that unlike Europe's parliamentary system, the two-party divide often prevents coalition building across party lines. In this, he also rejected Stein's suggestion for a "DemExit" following England's own Brexit. "We have and have had [two parties] for a very long period of time — and I know a little bit about this, as the longest serving independent member of Congress," Sanders assured the crowd.

The Vermont senator has since been on the campaign trail for Clinton. Though he's acknowledged that not all of his supporters would work within the Democratic party, he's far from encouraging them to support any candidate other than Clinton. Stein, on the other hand, had to find her running mate elsewhere.