Did Jill Stein Help Elect Donald Trump?

And Put a Science Denier in the White House?

Jill Stein, Moscow, Green Party
Jill Stein delivered a message to supporters from Red Square in Moscow in 2016. Photo credit: antikriegtv2 / YouTube
Reading Time: 10 minutes

In the final week of 2018, Michael Bloomberg the former mayor of New York, a Republican turned Democrat, and a possible future presidential candidate went on television to issue a remarkable challenge to fellow politicians: He would insist that every candidate in 2020 lay out a comprehensive plan to combat climate change.

This announcement was remarkable if only for the fact that not a single candidate in 2016 had seriously addressed the issue — not even Jill Stein, the candidate running on the Green Party ticket, the very name of which is derived from the issue at hand.

This was hardly the only mystery about Jill Stein and her 2016 run. There are many unanswered questions. Why did she run for president in the first place? She had only received a third of one percent of the vote when she had run in 2012. Based on that dismal record, who stepped forward to fund her? And why did she seem so close to the Russians throughout the campaign, at times filming campaign spots in front of the Kremlin? And why were her comments — and those of Stein’s running mate — far more vicious about Hillary Clinton than they were about Donald Trump?

Finally, as marginal a figure as she was throughout the campaign, could she have nonetheless affected the outcome?

That question is pivotal because, if Stein in any way helped Trump into the White House — wittingly or unwittingly — that would mean that the Green Party helped turn the country over to a climate-denying administration as hostile to the environment as any in modern history.

Stein entered the presidential contest of 2016 as an enigma, and after an entire presidential campaign, she remains one. A Harvard-trained internist, a singer, a guitarist, a community organizer, and a health-industry reformer, Stein is a restless, ambitious polymath still in search of solid ground on which to stand.

She has been running for decades for any and every political office in sight — one attempt for a seat in the Massachusetts House, two tries for the governorship of Massachusetts, and now two runs for the White House. Over two decades, she has won only one race — a council seat in the town of Lexington, MA. In all her other political adventures, she did not just lose but fizzled. In her two races for governor of her home state she actually lost ground from one race to the other, going from 3.5 percent of the vote in 2002 to 1.4 percent in 2010. As a presidential candidate in 2016 she managed to grab only 1.1 percent of the vote as a second-time candidate, running against two extremely flawed main party candidates.

If she intended to promote a specific cause or causes Stein was drowned out by the general cacophony of far bigger personalities with fatter bank accounts and clearer messages. There was the teeming horde of Republican primary contenders, many of them famous names with long political careers. There was the Bernie Sanders Road Show with his boisterous young supporters on the left. There was Clinton’s historic run as the first female nominee of a major political party. And there was the three-ring circus of the tabloid celebrity who spoke of himself in the third person and liked to be called “the Donald.” Stein was even overshadowed by another third-party candidate, an inarticulate, and at times befuddled, campaigner and former New Mexico governor named Gary Johnson, who ran on the Libertarian ticket.

Still, it is tempting to ask whether, in the final analysis, Stein’s candidacy, marginal though it was, might have made a difference in the final result. Might, in fact, have helped put Trump in the White House.

The 26 months since the election have shed little light on questions surrounding Stein’s presidential campaign. They have barely been asked, let alone answered. Again, why did she run? Once in the race, why did she not go all out on the pressing issue which gave the Green Party its name and its identity? Instead, her “Green New Deal” served to check off a box rather than as a driving force of her campaign.

And, knowing all along that she was never going to win, whom did Stein, in her heart, want to see in the White House in her stead? In a wide ranging interview for Politico weeks before the election, Glenn Thrush tried to tease out the answers to some of these questions. In the interview, Stein touched on environmental themes that dated back to the ’50s and the ’60s — the existential threat of nuclear bombs and the health effects of mercury poisoning — and came down hard on a contemporary one — hydraulic fracking — but she seemed far more interested in addressing issues of foreign affairs and trade policy and the threats of “globalism.”

In the interview, Thrush gingerly touched on the odd Russian angle to Stein’s candidacy, pointing out how often she had appeared on Russian state television, even after reports surfaced that the Russians might have been trying to help Trump. “You and I have a couple of things in common,” Thrush told Stein, “and I don’t want you to take this the wrong way. We’re both Russian Jews.”

Stein laughed, but otherwise left the remark alone.

Viewed in retrospect, Russia did seem to play an outsized role in Stein’s campaign, and quite possibly in the limited success she had. Russia’s state-owned television station, RT, became for Stein what Fox News was for Trump — a safe perch throughout the campaign cycle.

The very subject of Stein’s RT appearances is a sensitive one for many journalists to address, let alone criticize. Like Stein herself, many reporters, writers, and commentators who could not get any space or attention in mainstream media were drawn in 2016 to the cameras, microphones, and uncritical hosts of RT. As Gertrude Stein might have said, air time is air time.

But in light of recent revelations about how widespread the Russian disinformation campaign was, and the role RT played, it seems fair to ask whether Stein’s appearances on Russian state television were just garden-variety opportunism, naivete combined with obliviousness to the optics, or something far less excusable.

Stein announced her exploratory committee to run for president in February 2015 on Redacted Tonight, a comic television program run by RT America. Months later came the infamous RT lunch attended by Michael Flynn and Stein in Moscow.

Much has been made of the fact that Flynn sat next to Vladimir Putin at that lunch; far less has been made of the fact that Stein sat at the right hand of Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s powerful press secretary, arguably the figurative head of RT, and the man with whom Trump’s operatives were discussing  a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Stein has insisted that her campaign paid for the trip, but that merely raises a different question — why waste precious political donations in order to have lunch in Moscow?

On that same trip, Stein took the opportunity to make a campaign video address in the shadows of the Kremlin in which she expounds on the need to constrain “American exceptionalism.”

That is a position that politicians of various stripes could make on any given day, but as it was delivered in Moscow, outside the Kremlin, by a politician who had recently supped with Dmitry Peskov and Putin, the words take on more freight — she was delivering a script that Putin and Peskov could have written themselves.

And that was not Stein’s only message on Russia. Like Trump, she all but mirrored Russia’s own position on Ukraine, castigating the Obama administration for installing a government in Kiev that was “hostile to Russia.” So much for notions of democracy or independent rule among the former Soviet Union states.

If Stein’s actions and pronouncements seemed odd, so did the posture of her political party. The Green Party insists that it is not “just about the environment,” that it has in fact three other equal pillars: social justice, grassroots democracy, and non-violence. So hard is the party trying to distance itself from its fourth pillar (the environment) that the latter is now called “ecological wisdom.”

That sounds more like a cold shoulder than a warm embrace. And pray tell, how do these four pillars of the party line up with Russia’s political prisoners, its history of poisoned political opponents, its fossil-fueled oligarchy, or its recent foreign land grabs? Not to mention its strenuous attempts to disrupt democratic elections.

The Green Party’s 2016 national convention just happened to be kicked off by Julian Assange, broadcasting from London to the party faithful on a large screen. The date was August 6, a little over two weeks after Assange had dumped over 19,000 hacked Democratic emails in what he proudly called his “Hillary Leaks Series.” The convention hall echoed with chants of “Wikileaks… Wikileaks!”

Someone wandering by might have mistaken the occasion for a Trump rally. And, since the election, Green Party officials have been anything but chagrined at the outcome. Midway through 2017 Sherry Wells, the Green Party’s chairwoman in Michigan, said, “In some ways, Trump is one of the best things to happen to this country because look at how many people are getting off their posteriors. So part of me is giggling.”

Giggling? Surely by then Wells must have noticed that Trump’s cabinet appointments and his early calls for deregulation had already shown his intention to upend almost a half-century of environmental progress and protections.

Stein’s campaign message was muddled even further by her choice of a running mate. For her 2012 presidential run she had picked Cheri Honkala, a mostly unknown welfare rights advocate who cared deeply about homelessness and income inequality but seemed to have far less to say about the environment.

In 2016 Stein picked the equally obscure Ajamu Baraka, an African American human rights advocate whose worldview and rhetoric sound eerily similar to Trump’s — he is against “neoliberal” free trade, hates globalism, NAFTA, TPP and the “gangster states of NATO,” says that “amateurs” ran foreign policy during the Obama years, and Obama himself is a “moral disaster.”

And if that did not make things clear enough, in one interview Baraka emphasized that the Green Party “must disrupt our relationship with the Democratic Party.” Consider the job done.

It makes one wonder: Could Stein not sign up anyone with a national reputation to run with her, or did she not want to share the limelight? The only reason Johnson, Stein’s third-party competitor, ran so far ahead of her throughout 2016 is that Johnson picked precisely such a national figure as his running mate, the former head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and two-term Massachusetts governor, William Weld. Indeed, had it been the Weld/Johnson ticket, many observers believed the election results might have been quite different.

For better or worse, that was Stein’s 2016 campaign in a nutshell — her own muddled message, the Green Party’s identity crisis, and a conspicuously inappropriate choice for running mate. In spite of these handicaps, Stein managed to draw numbers that were three times better than in her previous presidential run. This is the opposite of the trend we noted in her two gubernatorial runs.

Why? For openers, she raised almost three times as much money. It might be fruitful to examine more closely where that money came from. There was also Russia’s overt and covert support, and Stein’s constant Clinton bashing.

Was the Clinton bashing linked to Russia’s helping hand? A recent Senate Intelligence report noted that support for Stein was “one of a roster of themes” pushed by Russia to advance its goal of putting Trump in the White House. Had Putin and Peskov seen early on that Stein might serve as a useful idiot in their quest to disrupt American democracy?

RT’s support for Stein began with an open mike, but it hardly ended there. The same Senate report claimed that RT ran more than 100 stories in her support and tweeted over 1,000 pro-Stein messages. Catchy messages like “Grow a Spine and Vote Jill Stein.”

At a more hidden level was a social media and bot disinformation campaign run from the Kremlin in support of Stein and against Clinton. Toward the end of the election cycle Russia’s disinformation campaign targeted African American voters in particular. One social media message presented an image of two pairs of hands. On top were white hands covered in blood, with the name Clinton superimposed; underneath, a pair of clean, dark hands with the name Stein. Reductive but effective.

In the aftermath of the election there was speculation about the “Stein effect,” but in this writer’s view much of it was misdirected. People tried to parse whether Stein’s votes pulled from the R column or the D column. Particular attention focused on two states. In Wisconsin, Trump edged Clinton by only 22,748 votes, while Stein drew 30,980; in Michigan Trump’s margin was 11,612, while Stein pulled 50,700 votes. But these numbers are all but impossible to parse. Nobody knows who these voters are, or how they normally vote.

US Presidential Election, Michigan, Wisconsin, 2016

2016 US presidential election results for Wisconsin and Michigan. Photo credit: Wikipedia and Wikipedia

And in any case micro-massaging voting patterns misses the larger point altogether: how many voters across the spectrum were affected by the overall messaging — Stein’s overt declarations on the campaign trail that Clinton had the potential to do far more damage to the nation than Trump; RT’s open support on Stein’s behalf; and the subliminal bot assault through Russia’s phony social media accounts. All these messages melded as perfectly as a team of synchronized swimmers from different nations, spelling out one message: VOTE TRUMP.  

At the end of the day, the ultimate effect of any third-party candidate — whether intended or not — is that of the spoiler. The comedian Samantha Bee had regular meltdowns on her television show Full Frontal, wringing her hands over why Stein, a putative progressive liberal, someone to the left of Clinton — not to mention the standard bearer for the environment — was trying to get an autocratic climate denier elected president.

Bee can be forgiven for coming to that very conclusion. As the 2016 campaign evolved, Stein had become an extremely effective picador for Trump, wounding and humbling the presumptive front-running candidate and heir apparent to the White House, while Trump could wave about his red cape — sorry, cap — waiting to deliver the coup de grâce.

Bee’s hostility was not lost on Stein. After the election she called for an “honest conversation about the oppressive tactics” of what she called “corporate comedians,” like Bee and John Oliver. But Stein remained proud of the campaign she had run and shrugged off all questions of her motives: “I consider it a great honor that the party and our prior campaign for president is suddenly being attacked outside of an election.”

That comment seems to beg the question: Will Stein run in 2020 on the Green Party Ticket? And if she does, will she, of all candidates, meet Michael Bloomberg’s challenge head-on and finally make the environment her central issue?


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Jill Stein (Gage Skidmore / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0) and Stein in Moscow (President of the Russia – CC BY 4.0).

Where else do you see journalism of this quality and value?

Please help us do more. Make a tax-deductible contribution now.

Our Comment Policy

Keep it civilized, keep it relevant, keep it clear, keep it short. Please do not post links or promotional material. We reserve the right to edit and to delete comments where necessary.

print

25 responses to “Did Jill Stein Help Elect Donald Trump?”

  1. Crimsonwolf says:

    Sorry, I am not buying the idea that Jill Stein and the Green Party were to blame in ANY WAY for the election of Trump. This is pure Russia-gate brewed “Trump derangment syndrome” nonsense designed to limit any support for any 3rd Party and to scare/shame voters into supporting whatever corporate warmonger hack that the DNC chooses as the ordained candidate who’s “turn” it is.

  2. MarkInBoston says:

    It’s curious that the overwhelming majority of comments to this op-ed find its perspective extremely problematic and in support of the “Stein effect.” That says something(?). And the 2 out of 23 commenters here who preferred HRC over Trump do so only marginally. It’s also noteworthy (and missing from this analysis) that the Democrats lost at every level of government in 2016. They didn’t just lose to Trump.

    Yes, I think Trump was the lesser of two evils. But I made a commitment to myself long ago not to vote for evil, about which I find nothing pragmatic.

    Two of the most pressing challenges today are health care and climate change. Currently, IMHO, progressives are on fire on both issues and their influence is having a noticeable influence on the plethora of 2020 Democrat candidates to move left on those issues. And media is paying attention. Single payer, in particular, is becoming a litmus test. I truly don’t think that if HRC was president the Democrats would feel forced to take bold action on health care. If HRC was elected their mantra would have gone from “Anyone but Trump” to “At least we don’t have Trump,” and the voting masses would have gone back to sleep. The for-profit insurance industry and their PACS would have scored a victory and would be collaborating with paid-off politicians to promote incrementalism instead of the drastic overhaul which is desperately needed. And yes, it’s true HRC probably would not have pulled out of the climate accords. But people like Bernie and Ocasio-Cortez are doing a damn good job picking up the slack on climate change. And the changes in climate we are experiencing on a daily basis are so loud, they can’t be muffled, even by the likes of Donald Trump.

  3. Larry says:

    A lot of naive consumerist votes for Stein. Congrats. You got the president you preferred to Clinton. You let your feelings choose your vote. Amazing how stupid naivete makes people, even well-intentioned ones. Your idealism is not worth a Trump presidency. Grow up the hell up.

  4. O Green says:

    This article is not helpful. It once again wants to bring shame to those who are tired of the 2 party system, and once again wanted another option on the ticket. As a foreigner, who ended up in this country because of actions from a 2 party capitalist government who for years destroyed, and continues to damage other countries with its policies, and does nothing but blame immigration when people flee their home, NOT voting for Clinton was the moral thing to do. The Democratic Party STILL today, DOES NOT HAVE an immigration policy. It just keeps quiet because it doesn’t want to offend the Dems that don’t like the idea of Asylum. As a naturalized citizen living in California, a blue state, who voted for Bernie in the primary, and found myself without a voice come election date because it was an automatic Clinton state, voting for Stein was the only way that I could scream out “I NEED A THIRD OPTION”.

    I can play the game, and in any other state, then I would have unfortunately been forced to vote strategically for other reasons. Clinton was an automatic win in California. Everyone is free to vote the way they want to anyway. If Republicans want to be racist, homophobic, and want to vote against their interests, that’s their problem, and that’s their freedom to vote as they please. Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, DeezNuts, have nothing to do with Trump winning. The people who should be held accountable were those that were given access to national airwaves and mainstream TV who were the only ones allowed to spread their message, who ultimately were Clinton and Trump. Blame the loser, as the person who won is an idiot. PS, I voted Cynthia Mckinney over Barack in 08. Write a piece of how people want an End the 2 Party b.s.

  5. Michael says:

    The Clintons must be the most hated couple in politics, from both left and right, for very good reasons. I didn’t want either of them anywhere near Washington, and there was only one other choice on the ballot so I took it.I would guess that a huge number of people joined me in expressing their own disgust one way or another. What was the percentage of the population that voted, again…..?

    The very fact that the Dems chose HRC to run should disqualify them from getting any of our votes, forever. They won’t be getting mine.

    If we want change, we need to fight for change, and not accept the false choices the Democratic/Republican Corporate Party offers. That’s why we don’t need Kamala Harris, either, but I suspect her combined minority star points will be too large for the Dems to not want to exploit, and we will see a repeat of 2016 in 2020. This country deserves to fail for so many reasons (don’t hold your breath waiting for the Democrats to protest our coup in Venezuela), and the rest of the world will not be disappointed.

  6. Rick says:

    I am a liberal progressive who supported Sanders but when the decision happened that Clinton was the candidate, as much as I was bothered by DNC shenanigans, I became pragmatic. She… I did not want – BUT I wanted pro-choice Supreme Court nominees – She would have given us those. Now we are stuck with a Conservative, anti-environment, pro-corporatist court for generations.

    We would have had, at least, positive movement on climate change because good people would have been appointed to EPA and climate change committees (now disbanded under Trump).Again with Clinton as President this would have happened. I wanted a good Education Secretary – she would have given us one not the anti-public school one we have now. I wanted an Energy Secretary that promoted renewables – she would have given us one, not the pro-fossil fuels one we have now. She would have an Interior Secretary who protected and enhanced our public lands, not trying to sell them off or privatize them like now….many of these lands are now gone forever. With Clinton we would have an Attorney General who would have enhanced voting rights, not taken them away.

    This list could go on and on. Basically, every Cabinet Secretary would have been someone even far-left progressives could have worked with even if they hated Clinton herself. Therefore, I do blame those progressives or Democrats who could not look beyond their disgust of Clinton, who could not at least embrace these pragmatic reasons, and either voted for Stein or did not vote. They helped get Trump elected. They are not the only reason but they are definitely one of the reasons.

  7. Edwin Stamm says:

    Excerpt from Jill Stein’s signature campaign proposal, the “Green New Deal”:

    “Building on the concept of FDR’s New Deal, we call for a massive mobilization of our communities, government and the people on the scale of World War II – to transition our energy system and economy to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030, including a complete phase out of fossil fuels, fracked gas and nuclear power. We propose an ambitious yet secure economic and environmental program that will revive the economy , turn the tide on climate change, and make wars for oil obsolete – allowing us to cut our bloated, dangerous military budget in half.” https://www.jill2016.com/greennewdeal

    She DOES mention climate change.

    Is the Libertarian Party also a fake political party that only exists to help Democrats win elections?

  8. Jerry Policoff says:

    I am a Democrat. I voted for Jill Stein. If she had not been on the ballot I would probably have written in Bernie Sanders. What I absolutely would not have done is voted for Hillary Clinton, and everyone I know who voted for Stein or stayed home expressed similar attitudes. I could never vote for Hillary Clinton for reasons too numerous to go into here, I blame the Democrats for Trump, not Jill Stein. The Democrats put their thumb on the scale on Clinton’s behalf knowing that her popularity was so low, especially among Republicans and Independents that she might well be the only candidate who could fall to Trump in November. Millions of voters have grown weary of having poor candidates forced down our throats. My vote for Jill Stein was my way of saying “none of the above.”

  9. larry payne says:

    When left with a choice of two totally corrupt major party candidates, it makes sense to me to vote for Green Party candidates even if the system will not allow them to win. Read the Green Party platform. It maps out exactly the policies which could save the planet. Russia could make a great U.S. ally if our government would cease all the warmongering. When I compare what Putin and Lavrov say to what Trump and Pompeo say, there is no question as to who are the real warmongers.
    It makes sense that Russian-funded RT would not broadcast criticism of Russia the same as none of the U.S. corporate news will broadcast foreign criticism of the U.S. I watch RT regularly and find them much more believable than U.S. media . . . especially about the attempted coup going on in Venezuela. Watch Ed Sanchez news at 6pm and 8pm. You might learn something.

  10. Eddie says:

    This windy piece is filled with the tired and hackneyed queries and distortions that a third-party candidate caused the Democratic wing of the corporate duopoly to lose the election.

    Seriously, take a deep breath and consider the following: First, the Democrats lost because they ran a corrupt candidate the electorate clearly stated in previous elections that it despised. Second, in the US, presidential election are settled by the Electoral College.

    Please, can we put an end to these ridiculous arguments for the reason the US continues to foist the likes of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and now Donald Trump into the White House?

    In the simplest terms, the reason the Democrats continue to lose to these lackluster candidates is because that the party is owned by Wall Street and war profiteers. The Democrats offer nothing for the workers to support.

  11. Elle says:

    When it comes to anything related to Putin I suggest erring on the side of caution- or stated another way – shoot first and ask questions later. Just ask his misfortunate associates who have taken to walking off the tops of multi-story buildings. (If only the dead could speak.)

  12. Tak says:

    Ahem. 40% of the electorate cast no vote at all in 2016. The hapless Greens managed 1.1%. And the author wants to blame THEM? For what? That very large numbers of Americans are fed up with a system that just plain doesn’t give a damn about them?

  13. Cirze says:

    Very disappointed in this slam piece. I never thought I’d see WWW engage in this type of misreporting. And it’s so loaded with questionable accusations I felt like I was reading the new Standard.

    Shame.

  14. Dart Armstrong says:

    Yes, she did. So did the overly confident Hillary Dems by sitting on their couches on election day. So did the electoral college, yet again and gerrymandering, yet again, and also voter suppression.

  15. H2Omg says:

    why does author only consider lost Hillary votes to Stein, while ignoring lost Trump votes to Gary Johnson? asking for a friend.

    Johnson’s take dwarfed Stein’s. It’s right there in your site’s own graphic accompanying the story. I don’t think Stein helped Trump, neither in the final data nor the inadvertent advocacy.

  16. MarkInBoston says:

    I’m blown away. This is the type of nonsense I’d expect from MSNBC, Morning Joe, Rachel Maddow, et. al. Hats off to the readers who commented and who see right through it. As many of us true progressives are noting more and more, this is part and parcel with voter shaming, pure and simple. Pathetic.

    Headlines are funny things and more often than not quite revealing. Traditionally, newspapers have entire departments devoted to carefully crafting headlines — considering content, import, word and character count, sex appeal, and often, editorial disposition. Given the net result of the 2016 election, a headline for a story about the effect of Jill Stein on the 2016 election could have been, “Did Jill Stein Hurt Hillary Clinton?” To which I say, YES!

    Jill Stein coined the phrase “Green New Deal,” which more and more environmentalists are starting to use. Hillary Clinton coined the phrase “Basket of Deplorables.” Jill Stein’s platform heeded the Eisenhower warning of the dangers of the military industrial complex. HRC called for a no-fly zone and amping up the conflagration in Syria and tensions with Russia. Stein called for a re-opening of a 9/11 investigation, about which even WWW finds merit. HRC was mute on 9/11. Jill Stein (and Bernie) was giving BLM a platform while Clinton was secretly courting Wall Street and telling BLM to “Keep quiet, I’ll deal with you later.” The 2016 election was a referendum on politics as usual. The voters wanted someone who was authentic. Hillary was not. If Stein was anything at all, she was authentic. Jill Stein spoke from the heart. Hillary said what was politically expedient. Jill Stein championed ranked choice voting as noted by a reader, which now exists in one state. She also spearheaded the recount. Jill Stein left us with a lot. I ask you, what did HRC leave us with? Nothing! Nothing good, anyway.

    I really don’t know if this opinion piece is reflective of the entire WWW staff’s conclusions over the outcome of the election, but from my perspective, it’s more liberal whining and refusal to accept that HRC and the DNC illegally and unethically screwed over Bernie, screwed over their own party, and ultimately screw themselves. Most Democrats are corporate shills and people are seeing it every day. That’s the biggest threat to our democracy and THAT is what got us Trump.

    When Mueller announces that he and his team (of exclusively Democrats) could not find any direct evidence of Trump colluding with Russia to sway the 2016 election, Trump will be vindicated and you better believe he won’t let anyone forget about the “witch hunt.” And if he is re-elected, the title of “my” op-ed will be “How WhoWhatWhy and the liberal press helped prove Trump Right.” What a waste.

  17. Ben says:

    Allowing this red baiting drivel to be posted at WWW will make me seriously question anything else that I have ever read here.

  18. Rolando says:

    I think this piece is a brilliant speculation, supported by little known facts about Stein’s campaign. It is truly bizarre that any American candidate would start their campaign like this, and cozy up to the Russians. Since the Rooskies are not even communists, but unapologetic kleptocrats, the only reasonable explanation for such coziness is a willingness to roll in the mud, or a strange hatred of your own nation.

    Anyway, I hope that this piece won’t have the unintended consequence of a gift for the GOP, allowing them to turn the investigation to others. While investigating this is worthwhile as a small piece of the Russian election story, the higher priority should be investigating the man in power, not this also-ran who received such a small vote.

  19. Robert Vogel says:

    A US third party is always a spoiler. Maine learned that lesson the hard way when Governor LePage was elected in competition with two fairly strong opponents. It has happened many times. There is a simple solution, again which Maine finally adoptee. That is Ranked Choice voting, which allows your second or third choice to be counted if necessary.

    We should insist on it. Tell your representative.

  20. Russ Baker says:

    H Brandstein: Just curious if you could tell us some more about yourself and how you arrived at your position? Where do you live? What are your thoughts about Putin and his own policies — or those, historically, of the Soviet Union? If you’re going to accuse someone of being a “red baiter”, which is these days of Russian oligarch capitalism, pretty much empty rhetoric, you should have to show your cards.

  21. H. Brandstein says:

    Pathetic red baiting opinion piece. Author knows little or nothing about the Green Party. It’s work is not and never was just about the “environment”. Guess what- the environment is connected to issues of war and peace and US imperialist foreign policy. Shocked?

  22. Russ Baker says:

    Adam, I get invited onto RT regularly. I finally stopped because they were always glad to run anything I said critical of the US, but edited out any criticism of Putin or the Russian government. That’s the long and short of it. It is not a “free speech” platform any more than American networks are. Objectivity is desperately needed — and also from the “Gladstones” of the world.

  23. Tim Dolphgren says:

    If we’re pretending that Stein stole 50,000 votes exclusively from Hillary than we must also pretend that Gary stole 170,000 exclusively from Trump.

    End result: Trump’s Michigan margin is 100,000 instead of 10,000 without third parties. Ditto for Wisconsin.

    But the reality is that most 3rd party voters tell pollsters they would have just stayed home if their candidate wasn’t running. At the end of the day there’s no such thing as a stolen vote. I’m sorry your candidate wasn’t good enough to get elected, but that isn’t the fault of a 3rd party candidate, it’s the fault of yours.

  24. Rob Baker says:

    If the Democratic Party expects to be supported they need to end wars of choice, make mass surveillance a crime, protect Americans right to hire a union, get money out of politics, pass universal healthcare and a Green new Deal.

  25. Adam Gladstone says:

    You need to stop the McCarthy red-baiting tactics that have marked the aftermath of the 2016 election. Your red brush is painting everything with a Putin smear. Show us some proof instead of insinuation, especially against programs shown on RT America. Redacted Tonight is a show made by an American Comedian and social/political activist Lee Camp. It is not “run” by RT America. He speaks out against the tyrannical leanings of the American empire. Whatever happened to the First Amendment? Suddenly a free-speaking contrarian is seen as a red conspirator? Are we back in the fifties? I would expect better of WhoWhatWhy, which is a beacon for free speech and free and fair elections!