The Green Party’s Jill Stein has spoken an inconvenient truth, that on the existential issue of a strategic war with nuclear-armed Russia, Donald Trump is less dangerous than Hillary Clinton, writes John V. Walsh.
By John V. Walsh
According to Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, “On the issue of war and nuclear weapons, it is actually Hillary’s policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump who does not want to go to war with Russia. He wants to seek modes of working together, which is the route that we need to follow not to go into confrontation and nuclear war with Russia.”
Yet, a glance at the front page of the New York Times or the editorial page or many other pages on any day gives a sense of the different environment in which we find ourselves. Absolutely nothing but evil is to be attributed to Donald Trump.
To do otherwise is to court risk. After all, who wants to find oneself labeled as a sexist, racist, homophobic deplorable? (“Bellicose,” “hypocritical, “lying” and “murderous” are notably missing from the litany of deplorables.) What would the neighbors say? Or the other parents at the private schools? Or the other students huddled together in the “safe spaces” in the colleges?
The ruthless stifling of discussion is not only true of the Times, the Washington Post, NPR, the New Yorker and other outlets charged with molding the opinions of the lesser orders. The intimidation spreads like slime on the surface of a dying pond so that even supposedly iconoclastic online outlets fall meekly into line. And so the key issue confronting us in this election cannot be discussed: that is a dangerous state of affairs for all of humanity, war with another nuclear power, Russia.
Into this menacing atmosphere steps Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President of the U.S. Here is some of what she says in an interview on Oct. 12, headlined “Jill Stein: Trump Is Less Dangerous Than Clinton; She Will Start Nuclear War With Russia”:
“It is now Hillary Clinton that wants to start an air war with Russia over Syria by calling for a no fly zone. … We have 2,000 nuclear missiles on hair-trigger alert. They are saying we are closer to a nuclear war than we have ever been.
“Under Hillary Clinton, we could slide into nuclear war very quickly from her declared policy in Syria. … I sure won’t sleep well at night if Donald Trump is elected, but I sure won’t sleep well at night if Hillary Clinton elected. We have another choice other than these two candidates who are both promoting lethal policies.
“On the issue of war and nuclear weapons, it is actually Hillary’s policies which are much scarier than Donald Trump who does not want to go to war with Russia. He wants to seek modes of working together, which is the route that we need to follow not to go into confrontation and nuclear war with Russia.”
In making this statement, Stein is doing more than making a pitch for her own candidacy although she is certainly doing that. She is doing more than muttering the cliché that both major parties are the same, which we hear endlessly without so much as a qualifying word. She is saying that in the midst of the bipartisan sameness, there can be a decisive difference from an accidental candidate on a critical issue, one of survival. In short she is saying that Trump is the lesser evil on the key issue of survival. That is “lesser evil” – big time
Not only is her statement very non-PC, it will also cause her difficulties with some of her own supporters. A number of Democrats are supporting Stein in “safe states,” those places where Hillary is a shoo-in, like California. Certainly the expectation from such folks is that Stein will be quiet about the greater danger of the rabidly hawkish Clinton than the Putin-friendly Trump.
But the safe states strategy in and of itself tells us that the first priority of such worthies is the election of Hillary Clinton. In fact a friend of mine close to the Stein campaign informs me that Jill has made statements like this previously and has run into criticism for them.
Let this essay not be seen as an endorsement of Jill whom I have known for many years. But this essay is intended as a tribute to her. Years ago in Massachusetts I watched her stand firmly against the attempt of the “DemoGreens” to turn the Green Party into a powerless appendage of the Democratic Party.
In her statement on Trump and Clinton, Stein has gone beyond cliché and said something uncomfortably true for all too many progressives.
John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com