Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein recently made her rounds to Maine, speaking at the Donald P. Corbett building at the University of Maine campus on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
Stein’s talk centered on no specific political issue, but her message was clear – today’s left-leaning, millennial population has the capability of changing the future course of American politics, both in the ideologies and strategies they employ for crafting public policy. She also emphasized the impact they can have the upcoming November election.
Equally important was Stein’s identification of herself as “the greater good” of this election rather than the lesser evil, a jab at Republican and Democratic presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. She also called for Bernie Sanders supporters abandoned by the Democratic Party to join her campaign.
The Green Party candidate stressed the importance of voting to the largely college-age crowd, gave in-depth specifics about her “Green New Deal” program and discussed the need for new and innovative ways to move America toward a clean, energy-independent future and away from burning fossil fuels while engaging in armed conflict over oil.
“This is what democracy looks like and this is what the future looks like,” Stein said to students and Green Party supporters who filled the lecture hall. “The future is our younger generation. Many of us with my color hair, we carry a lot of the past decades around, so it really takes the vision of a younger generation to lead us forward.”
Stein went on to talk about all of the great accomplishments of younger generations throughout history, who she claimed led the civil rights, anti-war, LGBTQ and women’s rights movements, among others. Without the help of the millennial population, which is now a voting bloc equal to the baby boomer generation, America will struggle to move toward energy independence and continue to get caught up in wars over natural resources.
The Green New Deal initiative, modeled after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal package that aided the United States out of the Great Depression in the 1920s, is Stein’s plan to move the United States’ energy production towards “green” or renewable sources like wind and solar energy. The plan aims to create 20 million new, well-paying jobs at a cost less expensive than the Obama stimulus package, which only generated 3 million new jobs.
Stein touted the plan as an initiative that everyone, especially workers, can benefit from. The workplace hazards in renewable energy jobs are significantly less than those in fossil fuel burning jobs and the industry transition as a whole will make U.S. citizens healthier, she claimed.
Another unique aspect of the plan is that it directly subsidizes these new jobs rather than providing tax incentives for green energy companies. The initiative was shaped this way to prevent companies from using the money they save from tax incentives on other areas of their businesses, rather than their on their workers. The fall of global conglomerate SunEdison, who went bankrupt in June despite heavy government subsidization, likely helped shape this policy position.
“The Green New Deal is sort of a win-win-win solution to revive the economy, to turn the tide on climate change and it turns out, it will make the friggin’ wars for oil obsolete,” Stein said.
Stein went on to denounce the United States’ military involvement in the world as the global police power, calling for cuts on military spending and taking a new, peaceful approach in the Middle East.
“You cannot bomb terrorism out of existence. In fact, you grow terrorism by doing them the favor of helping them recruit new members,” Stein said. “We’re calling for a new offensive in the Middle East. It’s called a peace offensive, it starts with a weapons embargo and it goes on to actually freeze the bank accounts of those countries who are funding terrorist enterprises around the world.”
Stein closed out her visit at UMaine with a lengthy question and answer sequence, engaging with voters for nearly an hour before the event concluded.
Unfortunately for Stein, she and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson are barred from participating in the first presidential debate by the Commission on Presidential Debates. That debate is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 26. National aggregate polling shows Stein in last place with 5 percent, trailing Clinton, Trump and Johnson respectively.