Hillary Clinton’s plan to win the White House relies heavily on winning the support of women voters. And she shouldn’t have much problem doing that: Not only does she have the endorsements of many marquee women’s organizations — EMILY’s List, NOW and Planned Parenthood, for example — she’ll likely face Donald Trump, a candidate who is despised by women at historic rates. (A recent poll found seven out of ten women voters have unfavorable views of him.)
Trump’s accusations that Clinton has coasted through life with gender-based advantages may have helped shore up his credibility with resentful men’s rights activists, but it probably helped Clinton more. She raised $2.4 million off his infamous “woman card” remarks, one of her best fundraising pushes of the campaign.
For many women voters, the choice between the likely major-party nominees is relatively easy: One of them has a demonstrable history of misogyny, and does things like say women should be punished for getting an abortion, and the other supports equal pay for women and stronger protection for reproductive rights.
But as Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, would like to remind voters, Clinton isn’t the only woman in the race. Stein makes a strong argument that the Green Party platform is better for many more women than Clinton’s.
The Democrats are close to putting a woman at the top of their ticket — a historic first for a major party in America — but the Green Party has mounted all-female tickets in the last two presidential election cycles and has a provision that requires 50 percent of party leadership positions to be held by woman. “I think that ensures that we have a balanced and humane set of policies,” Stein says.
Stein stresses that reproductive rights and equal pay — both of which the progressive Greens support, of course — aren’t the only “women’s issues.” The Greens want more, like “Medicare for All” single-payer public health insurance that includes reproductive health care. They want equal pay, but they also want a $15 minimum wage for all people.
“Everybody is entitled to solid living wages, which we don’t hear from Hillary Clinton. She’s quick to talk about parity, but parity at poverty, and that’s not adequate,” Stein says.
Women, generally, Stein says, “get hit hard. When there’s economic injustice, when there’s racial injustice, when there’s sexual violence, when there’s health injustice, women are very vulnerable. We’re vulnerable in part because we’re busy taking care of young people, and we take care of our parents and our families and our communities…. When there is injustice out there, it tends to flow in our direction.”
Using examples that recall the famous 1995 speech in which Clinton declared “women’s rights are human rights,” Stein argues that the Green Party platform is better for women than the Democratic one would be under Clinton.
“We don’t support bombing other people’s kids, unlike the other woman in the race,” Stein says, referring to Clinton’s support for airstrikes in Syria. “The U.S. should not be in the business of buoying up oppressive dictators like Saudi Arabia that is sponsoring jihadi terrorism world-over, as Hillary Clinton herself said in a State Department memo put out by WikiLeaks.”
Stein also invokes ongoing Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation raids that target women and children. “Women and children. Who are fleeing what? U.S. policies of regime change in South America — El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, countries where we have overturned democracies, either through our U.S.-trained death squads, or military coups, or CIA-supported coups. This is what they’re fleeing from,” Stein says.
“We create refugees, and then our Democratic Party together with the Republicans, who are also a party to this, are criminalizing them and sending them back, inhumanely.”
Many left-leaning voters surely agree with Stein about the Green Party’s policies, but worry it won’t matter if she can’t get elected. Stein is polling at about two percent — which, she notes, is “where Bernie Sanders was six months ago” — and though she’s mounted multiple statewide and national bids for office, she’s never won anything higher than a town meeting seat. Surely that’s at least in part because of how deeply ingrained the two-party system is in the United States, but the point stands: Isn’t the smart thing to do to vote for someone who seems like she has a good chance of beating Donald Trump?
“It’s a fallacy that Hillary Clinton is the lesser evil here. Another Clinton in the White House is just going to fan the flames of the right-wing revolt,” she says.
“The lesser evil simply guarantees that the greater evil will be elected in the next election.”