Episode 19

Rebecca and Jill Stein

In September 2016, Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president, calls Rebecca. Despite sometimes polling above the arbitrary threshold of 15%, Stein has, of course, been locked out of the presidential debates. According to the same polls, Donald Trump is trailing badly. Hillary Clinton is poised to win but is being attacked from both right and left with serious legal charges that could, conceivably, take her out of the race. The DNC is actually considering what to do if Hillary is arrested before the election. Would they turn to Bernie Sanders? Could they run with Kaine?

Jill: I’d like to talk about how we could cooperate.

Rebecca: I’m more than happy to do that. When and where?

A date and time are set. Both arrive alone. After pleasantries, Jill gets to the point.

Jill: In the past two months, I’ve been rising somewhat in the polls. I’m surprising everyone, including myself, but I’m not going to win or even come close. I’m hoping we can do something together.

Rebecca: I thought you might ask this, so I’ve been thinking hard about it. Personally, I assure you that I prefer you and the Greens to either Donald or Hillary. The problem is, I and the ARP are officially neutral on everything. As I’m sure you know, we’re the party of process, not policy. If I or ARP were to endorse and start working for you, we would be supporting your policies, your platform. We would instantly lose our credibility. I’m sure you’ve thought about this. Do you have any ideas that can help me with this problem?

Jill: I’ve been thinking about it a lot for several months now. Actually, it’s not just me. I’ve been talking to my people. I’m afraid we may have taken too long, but we’ve made up our minds, so please hear me out. I’m not here to ask you to endorse me or the Greens. I’m offering to help you. If you and the ARP will wholeheartedly throw your hat into the ring for this election, the 2016 election, my organization will do our very best to get you on the ballot in every state, and we will all do our very best to get you elected.

Rebecca: (stunned silence; the silence drags on) I’m sorry. This is so unexpected but so exciting, I’m trying to get calm enough to think about what you just said. (more silence) If your Greens will really get into helping ARP, I think we could win. We’ve been growing amazingly fast. Our website is one of most popular on the Net. I suspect we could generate a groundswell that might actually put me into the White House. But I’m stunned by your generosity. I know you’re serious and sincere, but I wonder if your Green Party loyalists will actually shift to helping us. I also wonder if it might not be smarter to do more preparation and go for 2020. It won’t be easy getting on all the ballots in less than two months. The Democrats will challenge every signature we bring in. Can you help me with any of these fears?

Jill: I think you know I’m not dying to be president. I agreed to be the Green Party candidate because everyone seemed to think I had the best chance. I’ve been doing my best, but it wouldn’t kill me to go back to being a doctor. More importantly, I believe we all have to do everything in our power to keep both Hillary and Donald out of the presidency. We simply don’t have the time for four or eight more years of corporate business as usual. And even more importantly, I’ve come to believe that your process approach is the only possible way to make the social, economic and political changes we need. I understand you don’t advocate for policy, but I’ve seen your process approach working in Anytown and elsewhere around the country. I can see the effects it has in the local community, and I have seen it turn enemies into collaborators. I also see that your insistence on inclusion and transparency prevents the kind of corruption that leads to what I would consider bad decisions. When everyone is involved, and when the goal is to satisfy all parties, people get more creative and even more virtuous. Most of us Greens are profoundly impressed by what you’ve done, and we’ll definitely be wholehearted in our support.

   Whether we can get on the ballots or not is a question, but my feeling is that with your growing staff and membership, combined with our already pretty substantial organization, we can collect the signatures needed and make sure they’re bulletproof. And we’ll be doing it so late and so fast, it’ll be hard for anyone to challenge them.

Rebecca: I can hardly control the energy I’m feeling as you talk. I’ve been publicly aiming at 2024. Lately, I’ve been secretly thinking we could maybe do it in 2020. But you’re right. We don’t have much time.

   One more thing. It really won’t do much good to make me president if we can’t take at least the House of Representatives by the next off-year election in 2018. If we start working together now, that means we work together for the down-ballot offices, and we keep working together through 2018, 2020, and on into the future. Do you agree?

Jill: I’m in this for the long haul, and most of the Greens will be, too.

Rebecca: As you know, ARP makes decisions together. I have a strong feeling we’ll agree, but I have to meet with my people and get their agreement. I understand we have no time. I’ll get back to you in three days.

They part smiling.

  

Rebecca gathers her lead coordinators and reports her conversation with Stein. The response is immediate. The Republicans and Democrats have never fielded such unpopular candidates. The Greens have never had more support, and the ARP will be better off whatever happens. Everyone agrees this is an offer the ARP can’t refuse. Rebecca calls Jill.

Rebecca: Everyone agrees. Not just agrees, we’re pumped. We want to win this time, and we’re grateful for the chance you’re offering.

   One problem. Emotionally, I want you to be my vice president, but strategically, I can’t do that. You’re already seen as a policy person, not a process person. I can’t put you on our ticket for the same reason I can’t endorse you. Is this OK?

Jill: Of course. I never expected to be on the ticket. I do think I have some mediation ability and maybe after a few years of membership in the ARP I might be useful, but as I said, I’m perfectly happy to go back to being a doctor after the campaign. You need to run your ARP campaign the way you want to run it. I’m simply going to throw all the votes I can to you.

Rebecca: Thank you, Jill. I was sure you’d understand, but it’s good to hear it. Again, we’re all excited and grateful. Now, how shall we announce? If It were up to me, I’d do it on Democracy Now! What do you think?

Jill: I’ll call them and say we want to be on as soon as possible. I think they’ll probably let us on tomorrow. Can you do that?

Rebecca: This is the priority. You set it up and I’ll be there.

 

Amy Goodman: Those are some of the headlines, and now, a Democracy Now! exclusive. We have in our studios this morning Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for the presidency, and Rebecca Whyte, leader of the American Resolutionary Party. They’ve told us only that they have an announcement to make. Even I don’t know what they’re going to say. Who wants to start?

Jill: I will. Amy, thanks for having us on. I think your viewers will remember this show the rest of their lives. As you know, the Green Party is doing better in nearly every reasonably independent poll. Even though some polls have found us to be over the 15% threshold arbitrarily set for appearing in the debates, the Republicans and Democrats are united in saying it’s too late. They’re terrified of having to debate me.

   In the beginning, I was running just to keep building a third party powerful enough to put some pressure on the Democrats, but lately, I’ve really been wanting to win. Trump and Clinton have been dragging each other into the mud. It really seems like the campaign strategy for both of them is to get the other one arrested. The time has come to escape the lesser-evil trap and make a serious, profound change in the way politics happen in this country. And that is why I and the entire Green Party organization are enthusiastically and wholeheartedly withdrawing from the race to throw our full support behind Rebecca Whyte and the ARP. So now, let me turn it over to the next president of the United States, Rebecca Whyte.

Amy: Wait a minute! You’re saying that you are dropping out of the race and that you and the Greens will be supporting Rebecca Whyte for president in this election?

Jill: That is precisely what I’m saying.

Amy: Rebecca?

Rebecca: (beaming) On behalf of the ARP, I want to say how surprised and grateful we are to be here making this announcement today. The Green Party is throwing their support to me because they believe that, with their help, I can get on the ballot in every state, and if I can get on the ballot, we all think I’ll win. They want me to win because they believe, deep in their hearts, that the human family cannot take four more years of politics as usual.

   What I mean by politics as usual is gridlock, the total inability to solve any of our serious problems. The top priority for both Democrats and Republicans is to take and maintain power. That means they prioritize the desires of their big donors, and it also means that most stakeholders have no say at all in the decisions their government makes. That, in turn, means that nearly all important decisions are met with anger and resistance. By excluding each other, we weaken ourselves. We’re not hitting on all cylinders, and right now, given the threats to our continued existence on this planet, we need to be our collective best.

   As all your viewers know, ARP is the party of process, not policy. We give everyone a chance to say their piece, and we insist on decisions that are good for everyone, not just a few. So Amy, can I count on your support?

Amy: Well, I don’t know. I’ve never endorsed any candidate before. I like to maintain my neutrality.

Rebecca: Come on, Amy. You know you’re not neutral. Everyone knows you’re not for Trump, and I don’t think you want Hillary, either. Everyone knows you like Jill. You’re the only media outlet that gives her decent coverage. And that’s true for me, too. You were the first to introduce ARP to the world, and the first to report my candidacy for the presidency in 2024. Now, Jill and I are working together. Isn’t it time for you to endorse me?

Amy: You sure are pushy. (smiling) I’m not used to being surprised like this. I…, I certainly can’t do it without consulting the rest of my organization. Give us a chance to think about this, OK?

Rebecca: Spoken like a true peace person and a decent human being. Of course, you need to check with your community. I understand that completely. So go ahead and….

Amy: (smiling) Never mind. I just got the message in my earpiece. My staff has already reached consensus. Democracy Now! is hereby endorsing Rebecca Whyte for president and all ARP candidates wherever they are running. Damn neutrality. Let’s win this thing!!

 

This edition of Democracy Now! very quickly gets more than a million views. The ARP and the Greens begin working together. Signatures come pouring in. In less than two weeks, Rebecca is on the ballot in every state in the union, and all reasonably independent polls have her winning by a landslide.

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