Green Party's Kookiness Defines It, Holds It Back
Christopher Hooks takes a look at Jill Stein's 2016 bid, and beyond
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2016 11:53 AM CDT
Green Party volunteer Lisa Canar, from Seattle, folds Jill Stein shirts as people arrive for the Green Party Convention at the University of Houston, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, in Houston, Texas.   (Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

(Newser) – "'Jill not Hill': can Green candidate woo Sanders fans not settling for Clinton?" asks a Sunday headline in the Guardian. That very question is being asked with increasing frequency, writes Christopher Hooks for Politico Magazine: With polls showing Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein capturing as much as 6% of the national vote, it's flaming some Democrats' fears that she'll siphon off enough votes from Hillary Clinton to hand the election to Donald Trump. That 6% is better than one of the party's two major goals: hit 5% in the general, which would open up federal funding, and get to 15% in five national polls before then to secure a slot in the presidential TV debates, reports the Guardian. Can the party do it? It may need to stop being so "kooky," first, argues Hooks.

"It's easy to make fun of the Green Party—maybe too easy," he writes. "Here is a party that aims to be taken seriously, whose new narrative centers on the theory that 2016 is a year of Green Party emergence." And yet their convention at the University of Houston featured an open-mic session with lines like, "Isis is a goddess, not a terrorist"; Stein's own statements on vaccines and WiFi haven't helped. That said, he observed a "dichotomy" there, with the "kooks" standing shoulder-to-shoulder with attendees "with credible and considered political beliefs." Hooks writes that it's possible that some of Bernie Sanders' successes—say, with organizing—could transition to the Greens, but even success wouldn't guarantee success. "The Green Party’s presidential bids peaked in 2000, only to see, in 2004, its momentum wiped out and a Democratic Party that had moved right to fight Bush." Read his full piece here.