Jill Stein mulls future White House run


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In addition to speaking behind a podium, Jill Stein became familiar with one other place during her 2012 Green Party bid for the White House: the inside of a jail cell.

Stein laughed about her three civil disobedience arrests in an interview this past weekend after delivering a speech at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St.

Her first arrest, at an August 2012 Fannie Mae protest in Philadelphia, did serve one purpose.

“To make the point that this is the stuff of a presidential debate,” she said. “You know, why is this going on? Why are we bailing out the banks, still, and the mortgage lenders to the tune of $85 billion a month, when they are unjustly evicting families due to a crisis that was of their own making?”

A second arrest came after she attempted to walk into one of the presidential debates in October 2012.

Stein’s position on the issues of tuition and student loans may particularly appeal to students.

In her eyes, tuition should be free, with student loans being done away with all together.

“We’ve always made that commitment, to help our younger generation get started, rather than be a cash cow for banks and lenders …” she said. “What society has ever survived by devouring its younger generation? That’s what we’re doing economically right now, and it’s outrageous that this is happening.”

Despite being on the national ballot for 85 percent of Americans, she garnered less than 1 percent of the popular vote in 2012, finishing behind President Obama, Mitt Romney, and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

“The tables are tilted very steeply against independent politics,” she said. “We spent most of our campaign budget getting on the ballot for those 85 percent of voters, and giving them a choice, and then we were locked out of the debates, where voters are entitled to hear about their choices.”

University of Iowa Associate Professor of political science Tim Hagle said smaller parties have to justify being put on the ballot.

“You have to have some sort of control; otherwise, as a voter, when you look at a ballot, you’d have 100 different parties, some of which might be represented by no more then a dozen different people,” he said.

Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, said politicians have to work within the constitutionally provided winner-take-all system.

“I personally think our political system right now is open to people who want to have various viewpoints,” he said. “What I’d really like to see the green movement do is move both of the main political parties in the direction of better environmental stewardship and sustainability.”

Because the 2012 presidential election resulted in a Democratic victory, Hagle said, Stein’s participation had no effect. The Green Party primarily pulls votes from the Democrats, he said.

“The way our system is sort of structured, it would be very, very difficult for a third party to do anything other then act as a spoiler,” he said.

“Will I run [in 2016]? I think there’s a good chance, but I haven’t put my husband through that conversation,” Stein said.

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