On Sunday, presidential candidate Jill Stein spoke about her goal to ignite a new political revolution to a packed Hindle Auditorium. Fielding questions on ISIS, the Democratic establishment and everything in between, the Green Party candidate displayed the confidence, poise, and personality expected from a potential commander-in-chief. And while many students will no doubt find the content of her speech controversial, Stein did fill most of her policy proposals with details and statistics.
As a whole, Stein’s political positions are quite similar to previous Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
During her speech, for instance, Stein called for free college education and for an end to predatory lending. The Green Party candidate also made clear that she would “cut the U.S.’s bloated military budget”—specifically criticizing the $6 trillion cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars. Finally, she condemned millionaires she saw as responsible for causing the most recent financial collapse. “Low-income communities were hit hardest by this economic crash,” said Stein. “They tell us that we’ve recovered, but it’s mostly been a recovery at the top. This is not the kind of economy that we deserve.”
In addition, Stein tried to make clear that her views sometimes go beyond Bernie Sanders’—though at times the crowd’s reaction to this seemed more mixed. For instance, when a student asked about the safety of genetically modified foods, Stein compared the validity of current research on GMOs to previous research on lead and mercury. “We were told that lead was good for us by the lead industry—a little bit of lead was good for you,” said Stein. “We don’t have a clue who’s eating what, and what health problems might be related to [GMOs].” Although Stein also highlighted her concern about the corporate control of GMO research, students after the speech seemed to discuss Stein’s comparison of crops to heavy metals.
After the event, the Wire asked Stein whether she thought the progressive political revolution could be more successful through a third party. In response, Stein referenced a number of limitations that progressive candidates face when running through the Democratic party, with a particular focus on leaked DNC emails that the New York Times said “derided the Sanders campaign.” With this in mind, Stein hopes the Green Party will provide the revolution more space to grow. “We saw how far the political revolution could go inside of the Democratic party because Bernie Sanders and his supporters did everything right,” said Stein. “You can’t have a political revolution inside a counter-revolutionary party.”