Okay, let’s pretend for argument’s sake that there is no Trump. Let’s pretend we live in a world where the progress we’ve made for the last several decades is under no threat of being overturned and our only risk is that some things will stagnate for a few years.
Even in that shining universe where our worst worry is a politician that just wants to stop making any changes for the next term of office and who will appoint completely moderate Supreme Court justices, Jill Stein would still be a terrible vote. Yet I see so many fellow progressives trotting her out like the magical savior of liberal thought. I don’t know how they’ve been so bamboozled, but here’s a few of the core reasons that even if she could get in, Jill Stein would be an awful president.
1. She has no experience.
Yes, Jill Stein has run for office a few times, but she hasn’t actually won those runs and has absolutely no governing experience. President of the United States is kind of a big job in the world stage. It is not an entry-level position in politics. You couldn’t just walk into a major company and submit your résumé for CEO without some form of work experience in that industry or similar industries and be taken seriously. Yet people keep acting like Stein is a serious candidate for the highest office in the land when she has never held any other political office, and that is ludicrous. She has no way of working with the system, no understanding of how politics actually functions with all the other forces around her, and thus, no ability to actually do half the things she claims she wants to do.
And before someone talks about how, “Yeah, it’s good that she’s an outsider, we have too many career politicians and we need a change!” It’s a fantasy-world thought to believe that having no experience in a task is a good thing. If you’re talking about any other life-altering task, like dentistry, surgery, etc, you definitely look for a combination of education and experience, so why are we so inclined to believe that our top-tier leader should be some fresh-faced newcomer that will “shake things up”? It’s not a My Little Pony episode where you just believe in yourself and conflicts are solved in about 20 minutes. It’s the real world where every position and task is fraught with complexities that require years of learning the system.
I’m inclined to agree that we do have too many career politicians and some terms limits for congress should be in place. But if you want to be the President, you need to have served at least some real time and have some experience somewhere to back up the claims you make that you can do the job. Which brings me to my next point.
2. She has no way of following through on her unrealistic rhetoric.
There was a reason I supported Bernie in the primary. He had a lot of bold claims about his goals in office, but he had years of political experience to back it up. His ideas could be called somewhat realistic even if they were out there and game-changing. I never believed he was going to get us all the way to the glorious Star Trek future in one term, but I did believe that maybe the combination of his political experience and his gung-ho attitude could push us some of the way forward. That even when he understood he had to make concessions—as he’s already shown he knows how to do for the greater good—he would keep propelling progress forward in all his policies. Hell, I totally support his new idea of getting more fully progressive people into local and regional offices.
Jill Stein is no Bernie Sanders.
She has a bunch of statements that she can’t achieve and that are, in some cases, actually dangerous. She claims she’ll somehow manage to chop the military budget in half and close all our overseas bases. Even if she could do that—which she’d never be able to—it’s a fucking stupid statement. I’m not a fan of what Bush’s endless war did to us and to the world. I’m not a fan of war in general, I think it’s a last resort after all other diplomatic options have clearly been exhausted. But I did not go outside today and find a fairy and an elf making love on a rainbow, so I know I still live in the real world of genuine threats, not Jill Stein’s magical fantasy. Her plan to cut the military in half is the liberal equivalent of Trump’s wall that Mexico will magically pay for.
And she’s literally defined her plan for reducing college debt as a “magic trick” and that people don’t need to understand how it works.
No, no, no! The first question we should be asking when someone claims they’ll do amazing things for us is, “How will you do that? How will it actually work?” And when they can’t answer that question and show us the math, the process, the anything in some form of understandable terms, we shouldn’t line up to buy Dr. Terminus’s wondrous elixir guaranteed to cure all your ills.
These are just a few examples of her outlandish claims that don’t actually have a chance, but are merely tailored to fire up the extreme base of our side.
3. A number of her ideas are crackpot notions.
As mentioned, Jill is catering to the extreme end. And because of that, she has some completely crazy ideas that speak to a kind of magical thinking.
If I had any physician that started spouting some of the anti-vaxxer coding that she’s tossed out in her love of pseudoscience, I’d immediately search for a different physician. Even if she’s just trying to court them, doesn’t actually believe it, and is keeping it coded, it’s insane. The anti-vaccine movement—based on junk science that has been largely rebuked by actual research—has led to a resurgence of whooping cough, measles, and other dangerous diseases that have actively harmed individuals. Jill Stein ignores this real danger in return for appealing to the most extreme left viewpoints about how every business is out to get us somehow, when really it’s just that a hell of a lot of them think only of profits and not consequences.
Her energy and foreign policies are also wholly extreme and unrealistic. I’m a huge supporter of solar and wind and the idea of ditching the hazardous, deprecated technology of coal for something actually sustainable. But in her worldview we can almost immediately go completely solar and wind and ditch all nuclear power as well. Unless Tony Stark just flew in with a working arc-reactor, I’m not seeing that as a real-world kind of solution yet.
Her isolationist idea of foreign policy is also archaic and foolhardy. We’ve already tried true isolationism in the past and proved it doesn’t work. More and more we are becoming a global community and what is done in one area has lasting impact everywhere. You can’t deal with that by crawling into your shell and just focusing on your own little world, you have to have an idea on how to work with other countries, keeping both diplomatic and military options available as each individual situation demands. That’s reality, because we can’t simply get rid of problems and evils that arise by throwing a trinket into a volcano.
So summing up, Jill Stein will not ride down a rainbow on a unicorn into the capitol to save us all. She will not magically create a world where every child always gets three full meals and their choice of a pony or a puppy. She’s someone with no experience and no real achievable policy who panders the most extreme rhetoric to fire up the extreme base of one side of the political spectrum. Doesn’t that remind you of anyone? Isn’t it the exact type of behavior we’ve criticized in the last few right wing candidates?
You know, if I wanted to be king of the geeks, I could talk about the amazing house on a hill we’d have. How it would be a gothic-style manor as big as a castle, with all sorts of secret passages, several gaming dens, two home theaters, the best wired set up for Internet. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Doesn’t it sound great? Make me king of the geeks and it’ll happen!
Of course, a short while later, you’ll realize that I have no idea on the practicalities of setting a foundation, no masonry skill whatsoever, not enough contacts and backing to get people to actually work on it, no mechanical knowledge of how to actually make the secret passages functional or structurally sound, only the barest hint of carpentry, and so on. But I can talk all day about how cool that house would be.
And that’s what Jill Stein is, an empty promise of liberal fantasies.
Now when we move back into the very real world of the threat of a Trump presidency and that bully deciding the next few Supreme Court appointments, she’s an empty promise that is actually dangerous. Because if just enough people buy into her fantasies, we could easily wind up splitting the progressive side and letting Trump in.
So please, progressives and liberals, ditch the magical thinking. Living in the real world means making compromises to avoid disaster. Otherwise, it’s just living in fiction at a time when we can’t afford to do so.