DEMOCRACY NOW: As Bernie Sanders prepares to meet with President Obama, we speak to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who has also been reaching out to the Vermont senator. With Hillary Clinton claiming victory in the Democratic race, Stein is attempting to start a dialogue with the Sanders campaign. In an open letter in April, Stein wrote, "In this hour of unprecedented crisis—with human rights, civilization, and life on the planet teetering on the brink—can we explore an historic collaboration to keep building the revolution beyond the reach of corporate party clutches, where the movement can take root and flourish, in the 2016 election and beyond?" Stein joins Democracy Now from Albany ahead of this weekend’s New York Green Party convention.
Transcript, via Democracy Now:
DR. JILL STEIN: Yes, and good morning, Amy and Juan. It’s great to be with you. You know, this is kind of what many people have foreseen all along. It was kind of in the cards.
The Democratic machine has very steeply tilted the playing field, from the beginning, by limiting the debates, limiting the exposure of Bernie Sanders, some very questionable election practices, 100,000 voters disappearing from the rolls in Brooklyn, some very questionable things that happened in the Democratic primary in California where independent voters thought they could just show up at the polls and cast a vote for Bernie Sanders but were unable to, by large numbers, and huge discrepancies between the polls in advance and the actual outcome of the elections.
So, you know, and needless to say, the superdelegates have massively tipped the playing field. And the announcement the night before by major news organizations that Hillary Clinton had already clinched it, you know, hard to call that just a coincidence, seems tailor-made for discouraging people from actually turning out and exercising their right to vote.
So, this is what the Democratic Party has done for decades—many decades, in fact. And after the election of George McGovern in 1972 as a peace candidate—I should say his election to the nomination of the Democratic Party, the party changed the rules to steeply tilt that playing field, creating superdelegates and Super Tuesdays that make it very hard for a grassroots campaign to prevail. And over the years, the party has allowed principled candidates to be seen and heard, but has, at the end of the day, sabotaged them in one way or the other, often through fear campaigns and smear campaigns, in the same way that Bernie is being called a spoiler now and has been for some weeks.
Dennis Kucinich was redistricted and basically, you know, taken off the political map. We saw Jesse Jackson the victim of a smear campaign. People remember the Dean scream that was used against Howard Dean as a peace candidate who was doing well. So, in many ways, the Democratic Party creates campaigns that fake left while it moves right and becomes more corporatist, more militarist, more imperialist. This is why we say it’s hard to have a revolutionary campaign inside of a counterrevolutionary party. That’s why we’re here as the Green Party to build a place where a revolutionary movement can truly grow with a political voice.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Jill Stein, you’ve been trying for months to reach out to Bernie Sanders, because you acknowledge that there are many similarities in your program and his, to join forces. What’s been the response from the Sanders campaign, and what are you hopeful for now?
DR. JILL STEIN: Well, the response over the last several weeks has been the same as the response over the last several years. And in fact, the Green Party reached out to Bernie Sanders before the last election to see if he might be interested in running on the Green Party ballot line. And that was in 2011. And basically, we haven’t heard back yet, so I’m not holding my breath that we are going to. And in fact, I think it was just yesterday that Senator Sanders announced that he would be meeting with President Obama to basically stay the course and to essentially move his campaign inside of the Democratic Party, which I think is a mistake and would be essentially an abandonment of the movement that has been built. We’ve seen many very principled and powerful efforts to reform the Democratic Party from within over the course of many years, and Democratic Party keeps marching to the right. So, you know, my hope, as Senator Sanders himself said, is that this is a movement, it’s not a man. And my hope is that the movement will continue.