Is The Green Party’s Jill Stein a Serious Candidate?

If voters don’t like Trump or Clinton as presidential candidates, does that leave Green Party nominee Jill Stein as a viable option?

Not according to a poll released last Tuesday that gives Stein 2% of Texas voter support, the same percentage that supports Harambe, the gorilla shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 3-year-old boy fell into his closure. The same poll has Stein trailing Deez Nuts, the satirical

politician, who is actually 15-year-old Iowan Brady Olson.

Stranger yet, this is the second Public Policy Polling survey showing support for the dead gorilla who had 5% of the vote a few weeks ago over Stein, a Harvard-educated doctor. The political arena is really just a bizarre circus.

Continuing to walk the tightrope is Stein, the Green Party candidate who’s been loudly touted as a vaccine conspiracy nut by media and the public. Yet, she is still considered to be a serious candidate (well, at least by 2% of Texas voters polled).

So serious that on her own website, it says, Stein, who was the Green Party’s 2012 candidate, holds the current record for most votes ever received by a woman candidate for President of the United States in a general election.

She is a doctor with an Ivy League degree.

She isn’t Trump or Clinton.

She is not corrupt, at least that’s what she says. She also provides a choice for “disgruntled Bernie backers” who ideologically have more in common with the “progressive medical doctor than the neo-liberal Democratic nominee,” according to RT.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Snopes even stepped in earlier this month to debunk “myths” that Dr. Stein is anti-science and anti-vaccine. She is not the anti-vaccinating conspiracy theorist people have accused her to be.

“Dr. Stein’s stated position is that she ‘supports vaccinations’ and acknowledges that ‘we have a real compelling need for vaccinations,’ so it’s not true to say that she is on record as holding an anti-vaccination political position,” according to Snopes.

“I think there’s no question that vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases — smallpox, polio, etc. So vaccines are an invaluable medication,” Stein said.

“Like any medication, they also should be — what shall we say — approved by a regulatory board that people can trust,” Stein said. “And I think right now, that is the problem. That people do not trust a Food and Drug Administration, or even the CDC for that matter, where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence.”

She mentions smallpox and polio, which are pretty old-school diseases.

What does she think about vaccines for more common illnesses such as influenza and pneumococcal?

Other media outlets have come to her defense as well saying, Stein, like many people, has ‘concerns’ about the effects of GMOs and pesticides.

But Stein’s vagueness also leads Snopes to add: “However, her somewhat equivocal statements surrounding that issue allow for a fair bit of leeway and interpretation — many others who proclaim to ‘support vaccinations’ in concept effectively undercut their positions by raising objections to the ‘vaccination process’ or the ‘vaccination industry.’”

It’s not that she opposes vaccines, it’s the terminology she uses to describe her position, which is consistent with a conspiracy theorist, according to an article in Patheos.

Nobody these days really comes right out and says they are “anti-vaxxers.”

“I received dozens of comments from Dr. Stein’s supporters cheering what they took to be a strong anti-vaccination message: They said her statements were, for them, proof of a government conspiracy covering up harm from vaccines, that we should stop vaccinating our children, or vaccinate for fewer diseases, or ignore vaccine schedules,”  Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician who heads both the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said. “So the concern that she’s sowing vaccine distrust isn’t hypothetical or exaggerated, it’s very real and already happening.”

The Huffington Post has written several articles against Stein which say she is a peddler of fear and paranoia and a panderer to the fringe.

She also doesn’t have any political experience which people are quick to point out on social media.

In the comments section of this PBS article, some guy named Steve said: “Stein would never recommend that her patients go to a quack, why does she think that governing a country doesn’t take training and specific knowledge, too?”

Stein may at least be right when she called her opponents the “most disliked and untrusted candidates for president in our history.”

But with a national average of 3.6% of the vote, which isn’t enough to qualify her for the presidential debate in September, it’s going to be tough for her to do anything of note this election.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Paul Stein/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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About the Author
Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer & social media marketer based in Boise, Idaho. She has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Montana and is a former newspaper reporter. When she's not hovering over a keyboard, Melissa can be found in the pain cave of endurance sports.
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