As the 2016 presidential race becomes even more cramped, it's tough to keep track of everyone who's running. More Republicans add their names to the competition every month, pushing the party's list to the double digits. The tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats can lead to a lack of focus on third-party candidates — like Jill Stein, the Green Party's nominee, who announced her candidacy in June.
So why have you never heard of her? The Green Party's main issue — environmentalism, obviously — often gets swept up under more hot-button issues such as immigration and ISIS. When the more mainstream candidates do talk about climate change, the dialogue centers around whether or not they even believe in it, not so much what they plan to do about it. With their traditionally low poll scores, third-party presidential candidates can often be forgotten.
Just because the Green Party is known for global warming issues doesn't mean Stein only sings one note. She has pledged to eliminate poverty, bring full employment, and create an easy path to citizenship for immigrants, according to Al Jazeera America. She believes in heath care as a right with Medicare for everyone, protection of human rights, and electoral reforms that strengthen Democracy, according to her website.
Stein also has a lot to say about the economy. She wants a $15 per hour minimum wage, democratization of the Federal Reserve, and the breakup of big banks. She rejects gentrification and corporate trade agreements as a replacement to fair trade agreements. She supports taxing the wealthy and large corporations.
As far as education is concerned, Stein believes in tuition-free public education through college. She also backs the end of the high-stakes testing that many educators disapprove of and public school privatization. Of course, climate change is a large issue on her platform, too: Stein wants to end fracking, offshore drilling, tar sands, oil trains, mountaintop removal, our reliance on fossil fuels, and uranium mines. She calls for a global treaty that will stop climate change.
Stein also believes in marijuana legalization, net neutrality, freedom from discrimination, prison reform, ending police brutality, and expanding the rights of minorities, women, and members of the LGBTQ community.
Like most third-party candidates throughout recent history, Stein is campaigning on the idea that the conflict of a two-party system is harming everyone. She represents herself as a left-wing alternative to the bickering of the Republicans and Democrats.
Stein was also the Green Party's nominee for the 2012 election. She polled as high as 2 percent in some surveys but took fewer than 400,000 votes nationwide, according to Slate. Al Jazeera America notes that the Green Party reached its peak of popularity in 2000 when Ralph Nader brought the third-party about 3 percent of the popular vote. Although it's unlikely that Stein will take the election, she still brings up a lot of important issues about which the Democratic and Republican candidates have remained relatively quiet.
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