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Although the United States has traditionally been a two parties system, there are other forces such as the Libertarian Party and the Green Party who try to add their voices and represent the interests of millions of US citizens. However, these parties work with some handicap in the strictly divided US political system, one being the amount of money that the two bigger parties have at their disposal and the other focusing on the air time that media gives to alternative voices.
There have been third parties candidates in the past who were able to face these problems and gain a significant number of votes at elections. Examples of politicians who challenged the Democratic and Republican hegemony are right wing Ross Perot who in 1992 received 19% of the voters trust, or activist Ralph Nadar who obtained an important number of votes specially in the 2000 election, gaining 2,7% of the American vote.
One of the parties working on the edge of the political system is the Green Party, which on July 14 chose Jill Stein as their candidate for the Presidential elections. The decision was made at their national convention that took place during the weekend of July 14-15 in Baltimore, Maryland. Physician Jill Stein was picked over the other candidate, actress Roseanne Barr, who did not attend the convention. During the convention weekend, where approximately 290 delegates from 34 states participated, the party confirmed that they will campaign in at least 45 of the 50 states.
During the weekend in July, Stein attacked both the Democratic and Republican party, accusing them of following lobbyists’ guidelines instead of listening to citizens’ demands: “We need real public servants who listen to the people, not to the corporate lobbyists that funnel campaign checks into the big war chests.”
“That’s what brought me to the Green Party, the only national party that is not bought and paid for by corporate money,” Stein told their supporters in Baltimore.
The Green Party electoral program proposed policy ideas which they admit may seem unreachable. They are however convinced that it is possible to offer a universal health care system, free tuition for college access and debt forgiveness for students, and a moratorium on all housing foreclosure.
Jill Stein’s vice president candidate will be Cheri Honkala, a single mother, age 49, who was homeless at one point in her life and is now the coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights national movement.
The Green Party is hoping to get an important amount of votes, especially due to the Occupy Movement boom which favors some of the political ideas that the party advocates.
Image Courtesy of Jill Stein