Jill Stein is Coming to Irvine; As a Democrat, Here’s What I’d Say to Her If I Went (Which I Won’t)

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Dems and Greens don’t live in a parliamentary political system. But are we smart enough to act, as President Trump did, as if we did?

This came in from the Green Party (I think intended for publication here), so those of you who want to see and possibly communicate with Dr. Jill Stein, you’re about to have your opportunity:

Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President in 2012 and 2016, will visit us at Heritage Park in Irvine:

14301 Yale Ave, Irvine, CA 92604-1901

Tuesday, March 14 at 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM PDT

Event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1812660018985335/

This is part of an eight-day speaking tour of California that she will be making from March 8th to 15th.  [See link above]

She will be accompanied by David Cobb, her campaign manager, and Green candidate in his own right in 2004.

Admission is free. Bring a snack or beverage to share as a potluck item.

I won’t be going due to work and family demands, but I stand by my previously expressed opinion that ANY time one Californian spent arguing with another Californian about who they should support in the general election was so completely wasted as to reach the point of being self-indulgent. There was no way, at all, that Hillary Clinton was going to lose by fewer than two million votes.  (Obama twice won by over three million.)  So a million people could have cast protest votes for Stein shaken up the political system as they wished, and Hillary would have still been expected to win the state by two million votes — or, as the case would have been, 3.2 million votes (about the same as Obama did.)

If I had anything to say to Stein, it would be to encourage her NOT to run in swing states. Sadly, and what Democrats seem not to understand, is that it might not have made a difference: the huge numbers of write-in votes for Bernie Sanders — cast AGAINST HIS EXPLICITLY STATED WILL! — suggests that many non-Trump voters from the Left were not willing to vote for Hillary EVEN in swing states.  (Personally, I would have voted for Hillary in a swing state without regret, despite that we’d now be in a purge of Dems like me from the party right now had she won. By that I mean a more effective one that we’re seeing now.  But I’d have wanted to see us Dems make some concessions to Stein as the intelligent price to pay for getting people to do that.  Apparently, other Dems simply think we’re DUE such support, which is not particularly perspicacious.)  (N.b.: haters, you’re at a computer!  Ask Google to define it.)

Without Jill Stein on the ballot, more people would have voted for Gloria La Riva (the national second-tier candidate who was to the left of her AND of Bernie Sanders); or they’d have found another protest candidate to support; written in Bernie Sanders against his pleas; not voted at all; — or even (without the benefit of hindsight) voted for Trump based on his trade policies, supposed opposition to intervention, and opposition to the CIA.

But it could be that enough swing state voters truly WERE equivocating between Stein and Hillary that they would have changed the result. I’m not at all convinced of that, though: most Democrats seem to have absolutely failed to come to grips with how much Hillary alienated much of the Left, especially the Left only grudgingly interested in electoral politics.

If I were to speak to Stein, it would not be to try to shout her down — as I expect various Democrats in attendance will be inclined to do. (And, if they succeeded in making such a speech impossible, I hope that Dean Erwin Chemerinsky would be among the first to demand their arrest based on the opposition to the “heckler’s veto” that he championed in the case of the UCI students who protested the Israeli Ambassador years back.)  I would want to say that I think that it is in HER self-interest to stay out of swing states — ideally as part of some agreement with Democrats that we will stay out of enough semi-safe red seats that the Green Party could concentrate on electing someone to Congress.

In our country, we DON’T have the sort of parliamentary system that would bring Greens into a government coalition — but I think that it makes sense to start acting as if we were.  (Arguably, this is what Donald Trump did in deciding that he could bring right-wing extremists like Steven Bannon into his fold — and that his more Establishment Republican followers would have to suck it up if they wanted Justice Neil Gorsuch and huge tax breaks for the 1%.)  If we WERE in such a system, it is virtually certain that the Democratic Party and the Green Party would be seeking to become coalition partners in order to form a government — something that would ratchet down some of the tension that you now see between the Democratic Party and the non-Democratic Left.  If we’d do so there, why not do so here?

If, like me, you think that that factional tension is hobbling us, then you see the Greens as a group with whom we need some rapprochement.  If you think that instead that we need to destroy them and alienate those attracted to their message — then you may be making yourself feel warm all over by coming out to trash Stein — but you don’t know much about actual voter behavior, and you don’t care whether you’re making things worse.  That’s not real grown-up!

We’ll see what happens this week.  As usual, expect the worst!


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)