As you might have guessed from your Facebook news feed, a plethora of Democrats (who share many views with Greens) are not happy that Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party's presidential candidate, is running.
They believe Stein may steal votes from Clinton and, in this close election, help the Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, become president — harkening back to the 2000 election when Republican George W. Bush won by a slim margin. To this day, many Democrats are convinced Greens spoiled Al Gore's win by voting for Ralph Nader instead.
Local Greens like 33-year-old Carlos Valnera, however, tell New Times that many Democrats may feel "entitled" to their votes, but they don't own them.
"The life force of a democratic society involves people being able to support the political path that promotes their interests, and for some individuals, those fundamental interests fall outside the current Democrat/Republican duopoly," says the Hollywood resident.
For Greens, not having the choice to vote for someone who upholds their values is "worse than a Trump presidency," and hundreds of them, despite pressure from Democrats, are planning to support Stein when she speaks at Miami-Dade College's Wolfson Campus September 30.
Fort Lauderdale resident Didier Ortiz, age 24, a spokesperson for the Green Party of Florida, says he believes his party's presence is necessary amid the current political environment; without it, many people would not be politically engaged.
“The Green Party has gone from being the alternative to being the imperative,” Ortiz says. “The imperative to combating Wall Street, ending the imperialist wars, turning the tide on climate change, ending money in politics, addressing white supremacy, putting feminist politics at forefront of national policy, and ending the circus in Washington, D.C.”
Valnera, who also plans to attend the event at Miami-Dade College, said he believes the Stein vote should not be repressed despite the pressure from “other progressives” to vote for Clinton because corporations do not donate to Stein's campaign, freeing her from making them "favors."
The result, he argues, is a party whose leader is more focused on advancing peoples' interests rather than corporate ones. "Third parties are a threat to both of the reigning political machineries. That is a key reason why the narrative of spoiler is so predominant," Valnera says. "They just focus on blaming people organizing for justice at [grassroots] level and independent ways."
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Valnera also says that the “fear-mongering” tactics used by some Democrats to spur Greens to vote for Clinton is as bad as the tactics and rhetoric used by people on “the Right.”
He and other Greens believe that voting should be based, at the end of the day, on conviction.
“There are arguments even from progressives embracing the same politics of fear to drag people into obedience… and scare them into voting for one party and not another,” Valnera says. “To accept this and call voting a democratic exercise is simply scandalous.”