Jill Stein, Cornell West Visit Atlanta to Promote Green Party Ballot Access in Georgia
(APN) ATLANTA — Jill Stein, who is seeking the Green Party’s nomination for President and who was the party’s nominee in 2012; and renowned academic Cornel West are pushing for third-party ballot access in Georgia.
The pair visited Atlanta on November 20, 2015 to stump for Stein’s campaign and work on collecting the required 50,000 signatures to get her name on the 2016 ballot.
As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, Georgia is among the worst when it comes to ballot access for independent and minor party (“political body”) candidates.
While Democrats and Republicans running statewide only need their parties’ nominations, other statewide candidates must submit a petition with signatures equal to at least one percent of the number of people registered to vote for the same office in the most recent election.
For the upcoming Presidential election, that’s about 50,000 signatures that Stein needs, even if she does receive the nomination.
The rules seem especially problematic, given the growing number of voters who identify as independent.
Earlier this year, a Gallup poll found that a new record––43 percent––of Americans don’t identify with a party.
“You can’t vote against gentrification because there’s no party [on the ballot] that stands against gentrification. You can’t vote for peace because there’s no party [on the ballot] that stands for peace,” he said.
Stein contends her message of, “People, planet, and peace over profit,” resonates with voters, when she’s able to reach them. But too often she is obstructed.
Stein also ran for president in 2012 and was arrested, along with her running mate, for trying to enter the Presidential debates at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York.
They were shackled to chairs for eight hours before being released.
“[The Presidential debates] are extravagant propaganda events… and they are intended to make us think that we are sidelined and that we have nothing to do with our political process and therefore should surrender. And of course they are absolutely wrong about that,” Stein said in her speech.
“We don’t have to change people’s minds. People already agree with us on the issues. All we have to do is organize… There are so many solutions here. We can transform our way forward if we harness the public will that’s already there,” she said.
Stein’s solutions to the problems plaguing the United States include canceling all student debt; implementing a Green New Deal that would create 20 million jobs that would “get us out of the climate crisis”; decriminalizing nonviolent drug offenses; and creating a system of participatory budgeting so that citizens are directly involved in determining how their tax dollars are spent.
Stein’s politics align in many ways with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the Democratic Socialist seeking the Democratic nomination for President.
Sanders also visited Atlanta again recently, packing the Fox Theatre with young, enthusiastic supporters and receiving a powerful endorsement from Atlanta rapper Killer Mike.
“I wish Bernie all the luck in the world, I’m pulling for him, but I just don’t have faith in that Democratic Party. It has a thing called the kill switch. The Democratic Party has used the kill switch on every progressive campaign since George McGovern managed to get the nomination in 1972,” Stein said.
West also said he supports Sanders and is doing everything he can to “push that brother across the line.”
But, “If he does win, he’s still got to deal with the capitalist structural constraints. He’s still got to deal with corporate America. He’s still got to deal with Wall Street. He’s still got to deal with the empire. And that’s a whole lot to deal with, if you don’t have a strong social movement keeping pressure on you for accountability,” West said.
“When I think of sister Jill Stein, I think of somebody who is a long distance runner for justice. And I’ve always viewed her and the Green Party and so many other Leftists and Progressives as part of the same movement,” he said.