Outreach and Exploratory Candidate questionnaire for the 2016 GPUS presidential nomination
Submitted by Jill Stein on 11/10/2015 to the the GPUS Presidential Campaign Support Committee
1. Are you interested in seeking the Green Party 2016 presidential nomination? Are you considering seeking the nomination, but have not yet made up your mind? What factors are you taking into consideration?
I am actively seeking the nomination.
2. What do you believe the goals should be of the 2016 GPUS presidential campaign? If you were the GPUS presidential nominees, how would your campaign work to achieve them? (Will your campaign succeed?)
The principal objectives of my presidential campaign are as follows:
a) End 2016 with significantly stronger state and local Green Party organizations.
b) Establish the Green Party as the preeminent progressive opposition party to the bipartisan establishment in Washington.
c) Make the Green Party the party of choice for young people in America.
d) Increase the diversity of the Green Party by engaging and activating Green supporters from diverse backgrounds including people of color, immigrants, and the disabled.
e) Multiply the Green Party vote totals several-fold over 2012.
f) Reinforce the campaigns of congressional, state, and local Green Candidates.
g) Establish the Green Party as the political voice of the social movements for peace and justice, including economic, racial and ecological justice.
I am committed to doing the serious organizing needed to achieve these goals, including intensive fundraising, qualifying for federal matching funds, achieving ballot access in more states than ever before, organizing college campuses, organizing in frontline communities, obtaining entry into the presidential debates, and running an intense media effort.
3. Please list five issue areas that you feel are most important and what would you do about them. (Who are you?)
• Achieve a just, sustainable economy that provides economic security for everyone while eliminating racial disparities. We will address racial injustice through a “National Action Plan for Racial Justice Now”, targeting racism in policing, courts, and prisons, as well as in education, housing, jobs and health. Economic justice issues are addressed through the Green New Deal described below.
• Eliminate unemployment and underemployment by creating 20 million Green Jobs targeted first to communities where jobs are most needed. This is the core of an emergency Green New Deal to transform the economy, turn the tide on climate change and make wars for oil obsolete. Our target is 100% clean renewable energy by 2030.
• Fix our broken political system by getting big money out of politics, opening up the presidential debates, enabling a multi-partisan political system, and implementing reforms such as instant runoff voting and proportional representation.
• Provide health care and education as human rights. Defend our public schools from privatization and provide tuition-free higher education for all students while eliminating the existing student debt burden. Create comprehensive, universal health care for all through an improved Medicare For All insurance program.
• Redirect U.S. foreign policy from its current ill-conceived pursuit of economic and military domination to a pathway of mutually beneficial collaboration, built upon international law, human rights and diplomacy.
4. What parts of the GPUS platform do you feel most closely aligned with? What parts do you disagree with, if any? Are there parts you would improve upon and how? (Who are we?)
I support the GPUS platform pretty consistently, although there are areas where the platform is a little outdated compared to the positions I have adopted for my campaign. The parts I would emphasize during the presidential campaign are those that relate to the top priorities listed in the previous question.
4a. The GPUS platform contains specific planks that address how presidential elections are conducted and financed (http://gpus.nationbuilder.com/democracy#DemPoliticalReform). Do you support or oppose these planks and if you support them, how would you include them in your campaign, if at all?
I support all these efforts. I have helped lead initiatives in campaign finance reform and instant runoff voting. I am a plaintiff in a lawsuit to open up the presidential debates. For my own fundraising I have established standards that refuse donations from corporate lobbyists or officers of for-profit corporations that employ lobbyists.
f. Abolish the Electoral College and provide for the direct national election of the president by Instant Runoff Voting. As a step in that direction, support National Popular Vote legislation which would guarantee the Presidency to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia), which would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).
I support this proposal. I also support instant runoff voting and the elimination of winner-take-all rules under which a candidate can receive almost 50 per cent of the vote in a state and not win a single electoral vote.
g. Create a new publicly-funded People’s Commission on Presidential Debates, and open its presidential debates to all candidates who appear on at least as many ballots as would represent a majority of the Electoral College and who raise enough funds to otherwise qualify for general election public financing. Any candidate who refuses to participate in such debates would lose general election public financing for their candidacy. Amend federal law to remove the non-profit tax exemption status that allows corporations to fund the existing Commission on Presidential Debates and other such exclusive privately controlled debate entities.
I support these proposals. I am a plaintiff in a lawsuit that charges the Commission on Presidential Debates with illegally conspiring to reduce competition. And I was instrumental in bringing the Green Party in as plaintiff in a second lawsuit against the CPD. The path that will be taken to reform is not totally clear, but the end result should be that a diverse set of candidates are admitted to the presidential debates.
h. Amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to change the percentage of the presidential popular vote required for a new party’s candidate to receive first time General Election public funding from 5% in the previous General Election to 1%; and change the percentage of the presidential popular vote required for a new party to receive public presidential convention funding from 5% for its candidate in the previous general election to 1%.
I support these reforms or any similar reforms that move us toward public financing, a welcoming environment to encourage political engagement, and a reduction in the influence of big money on our electoral process.
5. What in your background qualifies you to be a credible presidential candidate? What assets would you bring to your campaign in addition to those already existing within the Green Party? (What do you have to offer?)
In 2012 I became the most successful female presidential candidate in US history. I tripled the Green Party vote total over the previous election cycle. I raised severalfold more funding than the entire Green Party budget, and I used those financial resources to further Green Party ballot access efforts and state level organizing. I received widespread support within the Green Party and visited dozens of states, helping to strengthen state and local electoral efforts. In 2016 I expect to far exceed the successes of 2012. As president, I would want to be the “Organizer-in-Chief” – bringing the voices of the people into the corridors of power. I have a long track record of success in this type of organizing.
6. Presidential campaigns are legally independent entities from the political party whose nomination they received. Yet most successful political campaigns meld candidate and party synergistically. If you were the GPUS nominee, how would you envision that working relationship? (How can we work together?)
I have developed and demonstrated a practical and productive approach to using the high visibility of the presidential campaign to strengthen local candidates and chapters. In the past four years I have traveled to more than 52 speaking engagements with local Green candidates, chapters, and committees. This has often resulted in a real boost to local efforts to achieve visibility and credibility. In 2012 my campaign was instrumental in achieving ballot access in a number of states and I am already in close contact with the Ballot Access Committee in support of 2016 ballot access efforts. Our organizing effort on college campuses is designed to establish relationships with state parties and leave behind permanent Green Party chapters when the presidential race is over. My presidential campaign is producing Green activists, Green candidates, and Green chapters in many places where the party is currently weak or non-existent.
6a. The Green Party both supports transparency in campaign finances and privacy rights for donors guaranteed under local, state and federal law. Given that according to federal law, it is public information that all donors of $200 or more are listed on each presidential candidate’s campaign finance report, Given that such information can only be legally used for fundraising by a political party, if the list is donated to the party by the candidate as an in-kind donation; and given that candidates may donate such lists to political parties as in-kind contributions, without any limit as per the reported in-kind value of such a list; would you donate your list of all donors of $200 or more to the GPUS after the election, and if you planned on doing so, would you give your donors an opt-in/opt-out option to have their information shared with the Green Party after the donation to your campaign is made?
In past elections, I have shared my entire donor list with the Green Party. I have not restricted this sharing to $200 donors. My donor list from 2012 provided a significant boost to Green Party fundraising in the years following the presidential election. At the end of 2016 I expect to have a donor list that far exceeds the size of the 2012 list. And I will share that list with the Green Party. This is an important part of my commitment to party-building.
7. Do you believe that an independent party like the Greens can succeed in the US? How would you define such success? How can it happen? (Will we succeed?)
The people of our nation are looking for alternatives to the establishment parties. All that we require to move ahead is to develop the resources and organizational capacity to get our message to the voters. The 2012 results were quite encouraging: we tripled our vote and a Green Party member qualified for federal matching funds for the first time ever. Ultimate success depends on improving our performance in each successive election cycle. We are reaching critical mass in many areas, where things that were once quite difficult (such as achieving ballot access or obtaining media coverage) are becoming easier. We need to make 2016 the tipping point after which the Green Party becomes a major player on the national stage.
7a. How would you respond as a candidate to the accusations of ‘spoiler’ that are often leveled at Green candidates, especially for president (optional to answer this one)
An election is spoiled when you go into the voting booth and find that your choices have been limited to two candidates who do not represent your values. It’s clear that voting for the lesser of two evils after year will lead to the loss of our democracy and the destruction of our planet. The votes people cast for a Green Party candidate are a clear statements of their values and clear calls for real change. They are votes for our very survival. Accusations of “spoiler” are attempts to suppress our political voice, and they are especially disingenuous coming from parties who have refused to support instant runoff voting.
8. There is some interest within the Green Party of having the party’s nominee run together with a Green Cabinet, that would feature prospective cabinet members and federal agency heads that would serve in your government, should you be elected president. Such an approach could demonstrate what a Green government might be like and would do so during the election, promoting transparency. It could expand the number of people campaigning, with Cabinet members on the road and in the press in addition to the nominees. What do you think of this approach? Who might hold positions in a Green Cabinet? How would you see your candidacy interacting with those individuals during the campaign? (How might we connect the dots?)
While the vision is attractive, I think that recruiting cabinet members, coordinating with them, and promoting visibility for such a group during an election might require far more of the time of the candidate and campaign managers than could be spared. And it would be difficult for such a group to coalesce in the very short period of time between the nominating convention in July and the general election in November. After the 2012 election, I established an organization called the Green Shadow Cabinet, so I have experience with the dynamics of such an organization. I’d be happy to work with the Green Party regarding the best way to pursue this idea.
There is good reason to explore whether the Green Shadow Cabinet, currently an independent organization, would consent to becoming a project of the Green Party. Some of the current members of the Cabinet include: Margaret Flowers, Secretary of Health and Human Services; Kali Akuno, Sec. of Racial Justice; King Downing, Sec. Prison Reform; Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright, Co-Secretary of State; Richard Monje, Sec of Labor; Richard Wolffe, Chief of the Council of Economic Advisors; Ellen Brown, Secretary of the Treasury; Kevin Zeese, Attorney General; Shamako Noble, Secretary of Culture; Ajamu Baraka, Human Rights Intervenor; Ethel Long-Scott, Commission on Women’s Power; Jack Rasmus, Chair Federal Reserve; Howie Hawkins, Full Employment council; David Cobb, Corporations and Democracy; Gloria Meneses Sandoval, Secretary of Immigration, and many more. See greenshadowcabinet.org .
9. Can we publish your reply on the GPUS website in a public section reserved for such responses?