Voting Green “on Principle”

This is an expanded version of an early-morning Facebook post from about a week ago. It got a lot of shares, some good positive comments, and some reasonable criticisms, so it seemed worth giving some extra, caffeinated time to.

When someone tells me they’re voting for Jill Stein on principle, I have to wonder what that principle is or how much people know about Stein and the Greens. I say that as someone with a history of voting Green under certain circumstances.

Photo of Jill Stein sitting behind a table in front of a beige wall, smiling.
“Jill Stein” by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

If you vote for Jill Stein, you’re voting for a candidate who has never held office above the suburban city level. She did that in one of the wealthiest suburbs in the nation, in a town that would be almost 100% white if it weren’t for students from Asia who settled locally after graduation. She has spent almost her entire political career as a lobbyist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it is a far different set of skills from holding office and representing constituents.

If you vote for Jill Stein, you’re voting for the Green Party, which has chosen to throw its money and work into advertising itself through doomed runs for national and sometimes state offices over putting people in local offices where important, unglamorous work gets done. Yes, they do have some candidates at the local level, where progressive people have organized themselves in their name. Living in Minneapolis, where the Greens basically are our second party, I had one as my city council rep for a while. He turned out to be corrupt, which is a danger within any party. But by and large the party’s focus is on running races they can’t win for visibility, not on getting political work done.

This national focus also means that they spend much of their time talking about a handful of big, showy environmental issues instead of working on environmental justice at the local level where people are being hurt. Some of those issues are completely bogus too, as well as being focused on the affluent. So if you vote for Jill Stein, you’re voting for a party that is focusing on GMO labeling over the nitpicky zoning and regulation that would actually make life better for people in black, Hispanic, and native neighborhoods. You know, the poor and exploited neighborhoods. [ETA: Just to be clear, GMO labeling is a bad issue for the Greens. See Benny’s comment below for more on that.]

That isn’t a problem with their platform but with which parts of their platform they choose to emphasize. However, their platform has its own issues. These problems coexist with some good policy and priorities, but they do exist. For example, the section on sex work is terrible. It reduces sex work to trafficking and cover for trafficking and labor trafficking to sex trafficking, all while referencing a document on labor trafficking that makes it very clear that sex trafficking is only one part of a global problem of exploitative, abusive labor. In other words, it singles out sex work as an invalid form of labor based on reasoning that applies to multiple industries and types of labor. And it does that while pointing to a report that says it should know better.

Then there’s vaccination. That’s not in the platform, but it’s still a significant problem.

I don’t think the Greens are terrible as a party and doomed to remain forever terrible. I do think they’re not the sin-free, wash-your-hands-of-all-political-guilt vote that many people want them to be. They’re still a political party doing politics–not that there’s anything wrong with that. They still make compromises. They’re still driven by their constituencies, even when that leads some irrational places.

If my friends want the Green Party to really be the progressive party that will represent them and their interests, it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than a vote in a national election. It’s going to take an influx of volunteers and candidates at the local level who are willing to fight with current party representatives to make the Greens what they could be. It’s also going to take a shift in attitude away from the idea that doing politics is doing something dirty, corrupt, and wrong in itself.

So if you want to vote for a “little guy” like you, you’re not getting it in Stein. If you want a real alternative third party, you can’t get there by voting for the Greens as they run now. (Go lobby your local elections bodies for instant-runoff voting instead.) If you want someone fighting for economic justice on the national level, you’re not getting that from the Greens based on their history or strategy. If you want someone incorruptible, that’s not a promise any party can make.

About the only principle you can effectively uphold by voting for Stein is that politics shouldn’t be done by people who are good at it. And if that’s the message you’re trying to send, well, then I disagree vehemently. Government is our check on the strong, on the mob, on the rich. It doesn’t always do those things well, but that’s what it exists for. I want people in office who can do that job.

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Voting Green “on Principle”
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36 thoughts on “Voting Green “on Principle”

  1. 1

    One of the things that I’ve found most frustrating over this LONG election cycle is how many people are willfully, angrily ignorant about government and elections and what exactly a president is and does. As you point out, elections are to appoint people to do jobs, not be savior or messiah figures leading pure-hearted movements that will create a utopia by force of personality and just wanting it bad enough. The president is supposed to run one branch of government and be our face to the world, which means they have to work with other government branches and the people elected to those offices. They can’t just say “not pure enough” and refuse to do the job if they don’t get their perfect way every single time. Like it or not, people like Stein and Sanders are small-scale people pretending that they can just scale up to the presidency without changing anything about their ideas or their approach. They’re wrong, and they’d be a disaster if they were actually allowed to get their hands on any real power.

  2. 2

    “they spend much of their time talking about a handful of big, showy environmental issues”

    I think it’s important to note that being anti-GMO on principle is actually NOT a good environmental perspective. The environmental issues surrounding farming practices are highly nuanced, incredibly detailed, and a “no GMO” perspective is NOT a scientific or environmentally friendly perspective. So even when they are focusing with the wrong emphasis they’re also making scientifically wrong decisions about those issues.

    It’s particularly frustrating to have a party that calls itself “green” be so often wrong on environmental issues. Environmental justice and environmental science needs to be highly nuanced, and they’re a frustrating combination of wrongness and poor focus. Clinton’s environmental justice plan isn’t perfect, but it’s MUCH better.

  3. 3

    As with your Sanders piece, your writing here crystallized a lot of issues that had been on my mind. In theory, I like the idea of a political party that pressures the Democrats from the left. But the Greens? They come off as a publicity stunt, not a vehicle for tangible and practical change.

    IF their platform was better and the Greens used their modest resources to field candidates for city councils, school boards, mayors, sheriffs, and dog catchers; cultivating toeholds at the levels it’s possible INSTEAD of running a Quixotic presidential campaign every four years, I might take them seriously and lend them my support. But they don’t, so I don’t.

  4. 5

    Andrew, they serve that function pretty well in Minneapolis or at least have at various times. Of course, they’re doing here what a party this size should be doing.

  5. 6

    I concur with your characterization of the Green Party. However, if a voter feels like their dilemma with the 2 major party candidates is Hitler vs. Gambino, or corporatocracy vs corporatocracy, then why not vote for a minor party candidate? At least their vote gets registered and counted, unlike write-ins. It’s not like Jill Stein has a bat’s chance in hell of actually winning, so they don’t have to worry about her unfitness for the office. And if they don’t live in a swing state, it’s a good way to register their displeasure with the major party candidates on offer, without affecting the chances of the one they feel is slightly less objectionable. Like most votes many of us cast, it’s not so much a vote FOR Jill Stein, as a vote against the other two.

  6. 7

    I don’t get the question, even though I’ve seen plenty of versions of it. “If I think these candidates are bad, why shouldn’t I vote for a candidate I think is bad because I don’t want to vote for a bad candidate?”

    Also, I live in Minnesota. There’s no such thing as a state that isn’t a swing state if people get out and vote, and that’s more true than it’s been any time since 1980.

  7. 8

    It’s a vote that says, “I vote, and I won’t vote for either of these.” Versus not voting at all, which says, “I’m apathetic.” Apparently, Democrats and Democrat leaners not voting at all hasn’t gotten the message through to the party leadership that we’re not satisfied with the positions and candidates they have been foisting on us. How does a progressive voter send them the message that they’re not progressive enough? (That is a rhetorical question. I will answer it myself.) By voting in numbers for a minor progressive party candidate. If we just fail to vote, it seems like the message they take is that they should move farther to the right. That’s what’s been happening for the last 15 years, (with the anomaly of Obama being such a charismatic blank slate that he vacuumed up the hope vote that normally would have stayed home).

  8. 9

    Lauren: if you’re in California, go for it. If you’re in Texas (or Arizona, where I lived for 60 years) go for it. If you’re in Ohio or Florida — do you really mean to tell me that you don’t see a difference between Ginsburg and Thomas? Seriously?

  9. 10

    Apparently, Democrats and Democrat leaners not voting at all hasn’t gotten the message through to the party leadership that we’re not satisfied with the positions and candidates they have been foisting on us.

    Five of the 15 people writing the Democratic platform were picked by Sanders, the loser by millions of votes. The chair of the Democratic party has resigned because of progressive concerns about her. The platform has gone to the left. Check out, for example, Clinton’s positions on immigration versus Obama’s. What could the Democrats do to convince you that they are trying to satisfy progressive voters short of nominating the candidate who lost the primary?

  10. 11

    I honestly think a lot of the people contemplating voting for Stein or saying that Clinton and Trump are just alike have simply fallen for the right wing media’s campaign against Clinton. Trump and Clinton are both hated, but Trump is hated for what he says. Clinton is hated for what is said about her.

    In terms of actual issues, Clinton’s health care reform plan was more comprehensive than Obama’s. Heck, the ACA was basically the right wing alternative to Clinton’s plan. She’s arguing for campaign reform, including matching small donations and ending secret donations. How is this the position of someone owned by corporations? The positions highlighted on her site are detailed, specific, and possible to enact.

    Why would I vote for someone who thinks I would be better off dead because I have Asperger’s and supports alternative medicine (which is a waste of time, money, and lives) when I could vote for someone with an actual health care plan and a chance of winning?

  11. 12

    I’m not sure how valid the criticism of the Greens’ lack of lower-tier candidates is given their budget constraints. Do you not think they would be running everywhere if they had the resources to do so?

    The Australian version of the Greens has — with the help of an electoral system more friendly to minor parties — become a force in national politics, and are expected to pick up 14% of the vote in the July 2 election. The tenacious leadership of Bob Brown helped, but the main factor was the lurch to the right by the Australian Labor Party. You can see the same forces in play with the Sanders campaign.

  12. 14

    Green parties in other countries can be quite different from the US green party. In Germany they’re threatening to take over from the SPD as one of the major parties. Admittedly, the German system is far friendlier to 3rd-Nth parties than the US system, but the Gruen/Bundis90 are very active in local elections (the mayor here, for example, is Green) and have specific policies and initiatives. Alas, they also have their crazy side, i.e. anti-GMO for no good reason, etc, but they’re willing to work for their electoral success.

  13. 15

    It always weirds me out seeing people from other countries slam the Greens as irrelevant. Here, they’ve taken over enough seats in the upper house that they’re usually consulted on any new legislation.

    I was going to blame this on the whole FPTP thing, but it happens in the UK and Canada too. Could be that Australia’s Greens were held together for a number of decades by an actual, factual, willing to compromise to get things done, political veteran. I’m guessing that Jill Stein isn’t so much the actual negotiating type.

  14. 16

    I’ve seen people make arguments like Lauren’s before—”if I vote Green, it sends a message to the Democratic establishment that they aren’t progressive enough”—and wonder how old they are. Because if you were around and politically aware in the aftermath of the 2000 election, I don’t see how you could come to that position. Lots of people voted for the Green Party candidate in that election, and the Democratic candidate lost. What message did the Democratic establishment take from this event? “The hippies cost us the election, and most Americans want conservative policies, we’d better move to the right.”

    What evidence suggests that voting Green would have a different effect now? Certainly not the response to the Sanders campaign, which has led to a number of prominent centrist establishment Democrats taking another opportunity to bash the unrealistic hippies of the radical left.

    That isn’t an entirely fair characterization, of course. As Dianne mentioned @10, the Sanders campaign did what everyone thought it was going to do when he entered the race: move Hillary and the Democratic platform to the left. They’ve incorporated a lot of his ideas and positions into their talking points, and are likely to present a lot of populist, progressive points in the platform at the convention.

    So what message are they going to receive when all those Bernie supporters go and vote Green? Surely not “we listened to your concerns, made our platform better, and you still didn’t stick around, so why bother listening to you in the future”? Surely not “the far left is unserious about real change; they’d rather make a statement than vote for a candidate who has an actual chance of enacting policies they want”?

    There are two possible outcomes to this election, like it or not: President Clinton or President Trump. President Clinton means four to eight years of incremental progress, depending on how blue Congress goes, continuing Obama’s policies (for better and worse) and moving gradually back to the center from the rightward slant our country has had for decades. President Trump means four to eight years of unfettered Republican id, rolling back all the progress we’ve made over the past eight years, defunding the ACA, dismantling the social safety net, gutting federal programs, continuing the trend of voter suppression and TRAP laws, and nominating 2-4 new Scalias to the Supreme Court. We are still picking up the pieces from eight years of Bush; a Trump presidency will put us well below square one.

    And right or wrong, accurate or not, if the Greens or Bernie write-ins make up a large chunk of the vote, and Hillary loses? Guess who’s going to get the blame? Guess who’s not going to get a seat at the table next time around?

  15. 17

    I see a lot of misunderstanding in this thread, and I see a lot of people who don’t actually work as Greens at the grass-roots level. I also see a lot of Democratic Party Green-bashing talking points. I also see the standard “lesser-of-two-evils” and a lot of rationalization why Hillary must be the nation’s savior since Bernie was busted and Trump is of course so obviously evil that anybody the Democrats put up would be better.

    Let me start with the “quixotic” four year presidential campaigns and the local elections jab. I suspect most people here believe that getting on the ballot in a state is a matter of declaring yourself and your closest friends a political party and then launching. In some states, e.g., Florida, it is not much more than that. In other states, e,g,, Illinois, a party is required to gather voter signatures, often an enormous number of them for both the party and for each candidate on the party’s ticket. In Illinois and Pennsylvania , and other places, the Democratic Party apparatus challenges the petitions, looking for any flaw that might disqualify the Greens from challenging them on what they consider their turf (which is the entire country). When a state party does make ballot access, the retention requirements built into the ballot access laws require them to win a certain percentage of the vote in either a gubernatorial or presidential race. The state party is forced to either campaign in these races at enormous expense or hope that the presidential candidate collects enough votes to make the retention requirement.

    The local and national media will ignore you if you are a third-party or independent candidate, unless you have so much money that you can buy your way on the ballot (Perot). The campaign finance rules can be more restrictive for you than for the major parties. Third-parties can struggle for years to develop name recognition and get enough money to compete.

    Greens can and do win local offices. They have an easier time doing this in states where they have access to the ballot and can run candidates with a party line by their name.

    The Democratic and Republican parties carve up the partisan offices between themselves first through gerrymandering and then through restricting ballot access to all but themselves. But wait, you say – shouldn’t third parties and independents be required to show that they have a “modicum of support”? Why yes, except that “modicum of support” gets defined in laws passed by – Oh look, it’s the Democrats and Republicans. “Overriding state interest” in making elections simple and easy to understand is another favorite weasel phrase. After all, nothing could be simpler than two choices, A or B, vanilla or chocolate, red shirt or blue shirt. Man, those voters must be really stupid, we have to protect them from the potential confusion of having a choice.

    Having been in power for 150 years, with the occasional populist challenge, the major parties are the vehicle of choice for the rich and the well-to-do to invest their political funds in. Democrats looking bad this year? Buy the Republicans? Republicans particularly odious to the public this time around? Buy the Democrats.

    Which party wins depends on who the wealthy want to win, not on the appeal of candidates to the people.

    The false Nader trope, which Mr. Moss seems fond of, is that Nader voters in Florida were, rightfully, Gore voters, and that Mr. Nader was so evil, forcing all those people that wanted to vote for Gore to vote for him instead. Except, they didn’t want Gore. They wanted a progressive. I fail to understand why Democrats have such a hard time understanding this. But they do, and every four years they do what the DNC asks, vote us because we just aren’t as bad those other guys, and we will occasionally do something you like. Not because we have to understand, but you guys, especially you progressives, are prone to go off the reservation, and we need to throw you a bone now and then. Notice how progressive Obama sounds these days? Convenient, isn’t it?

    In fact Gore won. The election was lost because
    1) The Supreme Court stopped the recount, which was already halted by astroturf protests organized by the Republicans
    2) The Republicans booted over 100,000 likely Democratic voters off the rolls
    3) Over a quarter of a million supposed Democrats voted for Bush

    None of the Republicans actions in Florida (or in Ohio in 2004) was challenged by the Democratic Party. Gore would have won anyway, except that he couldn’t carry his home state of Tennessee.

    I left the Democratic Party in 2000 because I saw this happening. I couldn’t understand why the Democrats folded. My assumption was that assumed, against all indicators, that it was less damaging to them (not the nation, but the Democratic Party) to cave, and that they could contain the worst impulses of the Bush-Cheney regime. Even that was blown out of the water as they (including H. Clinton) supported the Iraq war, Guantanamo, more war against the Palestinians, the financial bailout of the banks and Wall Street, and numerous other Bush-Cheney fiascos.

    But, they made sure that everybody believed that the Greens were the cause of Bush. A lie, and a persistent one, that Democrats use against the Greens to this day.

    So the major parties continue to suppress third parties and independents. State Green parties and the national party struggle with lack of funds and volunteers (because donating and volunteering for the the major parties isn’t “wasted” and does so much good) and besides, those parties are never gonna go anywhere anyway, amirite? Damn nuisances they are, horning in on our voters. And nothing changes and in eight years the Democrats will put up another candidate, who is really Richard Nixon but talks like Eugene Debs, and the same arguments against the Greens will make the rounds and we will continue the downward spiral. The lesser evil will constantly compromise with the greater evil, the greater evil will compromise with no one, and all that happens is more evil, just at different rates. If this is what we are reduced to, and what you feel you must support, go ahead. Just don’t blame it on the Greens.

    Recommended reading

    “The Grand Illusion”, Teresa D’Amato, http://thenewpress.com/books/grand-illusion
    “The Democrats, A Critical History”, Lance Selfa, http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/The-Democrats-Updated-Edition

  16. 18

    Do major parties make it harder for third parties? Sure, if they’re not checked. Does running unqualified candidates at the national level change that? Nope.

  17. 21

    Why is it that the only time we hear from these parties are during Presidential elections? Shouldn’t they be expected to at least run for Dog Catcher before applying to be President of the United States?? Just think about that for a while before you vote

  18. 22

    First off, comment #19 is typical of the arrogant, petulant, adolescent idiocy I’m seeing on blogs of supposedly “progresssive” and presumably thoughtful websites, where reasoned, factual, supported-with-numbers comments critical of voting Green Saint Jill for POTUS are met with adamant “I’m voting my conscience and you’re a corporate shill” posts, or worse.
    That said, I am having a difficult time reconciling the many odious aspects of Clinton’s policies with my desire to defeat Trump…but since, as I’ve been arguing on other blogs…there is really only one viable candidate, who will have coattails that can bring other, more progressive candidates along into office, I have to vote for Clinton.
    It’s not just about POTUS, but about SCOTUS, and we’re living with the consequences of 2000 and will be for years, unless we put more reasonable people into office.
    Also, I don’t think Clinton wants to be a one-term POTUS, so will strive to accomplish things, in some measure, that will ensure her election in 2020…and, if the GOP is resoundingly defeated this year, perhaps, just maybe they will begin to realize that they, too, need to become more responsive to the citizenry, and put forth candidates who will not be horrifying.
    Maybe we’ll actually have real choices, and real discussions and debates about good policies, instead of fights over good vs bad policies.

  19. 23

    #JillNotHill

    Since Bernie is not going to be the Democratic nominee, that only leaves me with Dr. Jill Stein. The only candidate left to not take corporate donations. The only candidate left that supports medicare for all. The only candidate left that wants to reduce corporate socialism. The only candidate left that will really fight hard against climate change to protect the quality of life on this planet for hundreds of years. The only candidate left against fracking. And probably the only candidate that will stop TPP. I don’t trust or believe the neoliberals or the conservatives.

    If I do not vote for her, I will not vote.

  20. 24

    Rachel, as far as the party goes, there are people gaining experience at the local level. It definitely is disturbing, though, that this doesn’t seem to be turning into a feeder pool of candidates for higher office. The people who run at the higher level seem to be chosen for their ability to run continually.

  21. 25

    The only candidate left to not take corporate donations.

    Oh, no. I’m sure you can find other candidates on your ballot who aren’t taken seriously enough by any corporation to get donations from them. But Sanders wasn’t one of them.

    The only candidate left that will really fight hard against climate change to protect the quality of life on this planet for hundreds of years.

    You do know that fighting hard isn’t a matter of believing very strongly that something should be done, don’t you? It means actually managing action, which means having some idea how to work the system and put decent people in charge of the bureaucracy and on and on. It isn’t as pure as not getting anything done, but…well, it gets things done.

    If I do not vote for her, I will not vote.

    You do know that the saying about forfeiting your right to complain if you don’t vote has some literal truth to it, right? If you try to lobby a politician on an issue, they’re going to check that you’re a constituent of theirs, and they’re going to check that you vote. If you don’t, they’re highly unlikely to pay you much heed. They may not even talk to you.

  22. 26

    Voting Green sends the message that you vote, but you don’t care about the outcome of the election, which is the same to the people running. They can safely ignore you because you’re giving up on any progress whatsoever on issues that affect you in favor of feeling warm fuzzies for the brief moment that you post on Facebook about how you stuck it to the establishment. The Greens aren’t a political party; they’re a social club for people who like to momentarily pretend they’re one every four years before going back to ignoring the people running their lives because actual change is hard work.

  23. 27

    Voting for Jill Stein is the most white male privilege thing I’ve ever seen in my life. People of color and women are terrified of a Trump presidency. Being willing to risk that in order to vote for an utterly unqualified candidate is something that only people who stand to suffer no consequence whatsoever can afford to do. How can you possibly be claiming to vote on principle and with “the people” when you are voting in a way that threatens to harm “the people?” The only guys I see doing it are either Bernie bros or old punk anarchist types who are more invested in their contrarian image than they are what is best for this country.

    Note that I was a strong Bernie supporter, but I am now 100% on Team Clinton without any reservations whatsoever.

  24. 28

    Can you back up your claim that Stein was previously a lobbyist? I have been able to find no actual records, sources or proof of that aside from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/accordingtomatthew/2016/07/five-reasons-why-this-bernie-sanders-supporter-cannot-vote-for-jill-stein/4/ (which, in a quite un-journalistic fashion just makes a claim without even telling us who the source is [or even that the source is anonymous].

    As a fellow journalist, I would like to know where you got your facts from.

  25. 29

    1) I am not a journalist.

    2) “Can you back that up?” is a stunningly rude way to ask about something you don’t understand.

    3) Stein’s candidate bio is full of lobbying activity. She didn’t work on the legislation she takes some credit for as part of the bodies that passed it. She did it by influencing legislators. That’s the definition of lobbying. The fact that she doesn’t like the term “lobbyist” doesn’t mean she wasn’t one.

  26. 30

    1) I am not a journalist.

    Strike one.

    2) “Can you back that up?” is a stunningly rude way to ask about something you don’t understand.

    No, it’s really not. If you were a journalist you would understand that sources and being able to back up claims take precedence over getting a story with a controversial claim out. You have libelled Stein in this piece if she was never a lobbyist.

    3) Stein’s candidate bio is full of lobbying activity. She didn’t work on the legislation she takes some credit for as part of the bodies that passed it. She did it by influencing legislators. That’s the definition of lobbying. The fact that she doesn’t like the term “lobbyist” doesn’t mean she wasn’t one.

    lobbyist
    [lob-ee-ist]
    noun
    1.
    someone hired by a business or a cause to persuade legislators to support that business or cause.

    When she “did it by influencing legislators”, what business was she working for?

    Stein convincing legislators to enact legislation as an independent candidate or politician is a lot different than her working for a specific business with the specific intent of persuading legislators to support specific causes.

    But nice strawman. I never argued that she didn’t influence legislation when not in office. I argued that she was not a lobbyist, which, by definition, is someone working for a business.

    So once again, I ask, can you cite your source and can you tell me what business/company Stein was lobbying for?

  27. 31

    No, dude. That’s not a strike. At no point did I claim to be a journalist. I’m an analyst and a good one.

    Yes, it’s rude. It implies that just because you couldn’t find something, it doesn’t exist. Given that you couldn’t find part of the definition you had to go to that definitive source of Vocabulary.com to find, you should probably learn to be more humble. Even that definition is:

    someone hired by a business or a cause to persuade legislators to support that business or cause.

    For a journalist, you have a terrible attention to detail. Your sourcing practices also suck. If you’d looked at any of the other definitions that come up on Google, you’d have seen:

    a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest; a member of a lobby.

    from Dictionary.com. Not a great source either, but the conflicting definitions should have given you pause. If you’d moved on to Wikipedia to at least get some background, you’d see that they talk about both volunteer and paid lobbyists. (I’m a volunteer lobbyist by the way. I have no idea whether Stein was paid. I don’t much care either way, except that I hate to see the bulk of lobbying done by well-to-do volunteers like Stein would be in that case. They’re not terribly representative.)

    If you didn’t like that, because it’s Wikipedia, you could have moved on to legal definitions, because they’re nice and strict. Even there, you would have found that not all states require an individual to be paid in order for them to qualify as a lobbyist.

    But no, you had to be an ass, then persist in being an ass, and now you’re on record as proudly telling me that a website I’ve never heard of before today is on your side while the law is on mine–and being half wrong about that. Congratulations.

    Now piss off.

  28. 32

    “For a journalist, you have a terrible attention to detail. Your sourcing practices also suck. If you’d looked at any of the other definitions that come up on Google, you’d have seen:

    a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest; a member of a lobby.”

    Yes. I did see this. “Special interest” implies a business or organization, not her own personal (and progressive) ideals.

    You argue that a lobbyist can be a volunteer, but that’s not correct according to your own NCSL source (see below). Volunteers and politicians can lobby other legislators. But they are not lobbyists.

    I shouldn’t have to explain this to you, but lobbying is a verb. Lobbyist is a noun. Has Stein lobbied to enact progressive change through legislation? Yes.

    Was she a lobbyist working for an organization or business? No.

    “you could have moved on to legal definitions, because they’re nice and strict. Even there, you would have found that not all states require an individual to be paid in order for them to qualify as a lobbyist.”

    From your own source:

    “The definition of who is a lobbyist usually revolves around compensation. Most states define a lobbyist as someone who receives any amount of compensation or reimbursement to lobby. Among the exceptions are Hawaii, Minnesota and New York. These states stipulate threshold amounts of money and time spent on lobbying, and, if these thresholds are reached, an individual becomes a lobbyist.”

    >”who is a lobbyist usually revolves around compensation. Most states define a lobbyist as someone who receives any amount of compensation”
    >”Among the exceptions are Hawaii, Minnesota and New York. These states stipulate threshold amounts of money”

    The definition for lobbyist for literally every state in america revolves around compensation (and this is according to YOUR source). The only difference is some states require someone to make a certain amount to be considered a lobbyist and some states say any amount of compensation makes one a lobbyist. Nothing about “not all states require an individual to be paid in order for them to qualify as a lobbyist.”

    Again, from your own source:

    Lobby-ING* “all states share a basic definition of lobbying as an attempt to influence government action.”

    Lobby-IST* “Most states define a lobbyist as someone who receives any amount of compensation or reimbursement to lobby. Among the exceptions are Hawaii, Minnesota and New York. These states stipulate threshold amounts of money and time spent on lobbying”

    Please show me a line from that page (since it is, admittedly, the best source for a semantical discussion like this) that says Lobby-ISTS can be unpaid, as you’ve claimed above, saying: ” [wikipedia talks] about both volunteer and paid lobbyists.

    Lastly, Wikipedia is a horrible fucking source (as evidenced by pretty much every high school/university professor I’ve had that forbids it and the NSCL page, which is, by contrast, a very good source).

    TL;DR: Stein has absolutely *lobbied* people to get legislation changed. She absolutely tried to “influence government action” both while she held and did not hold political office (and good for her — you go Jill!). But she is not a lobbyist. Learn the semantical differences if you’re going to continue to be an analyst (again, not trying to be rude, just saying please do this because there is a big difference between the two words and what they imply).

    PS: You come off as very defensive. Even in my initial comment I was never trying to come off as rude. So I just want to say I’m sorry if you took the whole asking if you could cite your source thing as rude. It’s just how I talk. If I was trying to be rude I would have said something like “lol, you clearly have no fucking clue what you’re talking about.” I routinely ask my friends to cite their sources the same way.

    PSS: I was going to send this to Gloria Mattera and the Stein campaign re: libel issues, but I think that I’ll give you a chance to rewrite the sentence claiming that “[Stein] has spent almost her entire political career as a lobbyist” to something that instead makes it clear she partook in lobbying and was not a lobbyist since she did not get paid (unless you can cite a source/some sort of record that proves she was a compensated lobbyist, in which case I apologize completely).

  29. 33

    From the Minnesota law:

    LOBBYIST means an individual: (1) engaged for pay or other consideration of more than $3,000 from all sources in any year for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials; or (2) who spends more than $250, not including the individual’s own traveling expenses and membership dues, in any year for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials.

    Bold for emphasis, since you apparently have a problem with this. Now, go learn to communicate better.

  30. 35

    So when has Stein been paid more than 3,000$ to “[attempt] to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials;” When?

    or when did she spend more than $250, not including travelling expenses or membership dues, to “influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials.” When?

    You can’t make a claim without backing it up with facts. How has she broken that law? What has she done in Minnesota?

    I’ll stop commenting when you prove your point to me or realize that you’re wrong to call her a lobbyist. So very wrong.

    And don’t tell me it’s MY responsibility to find these facts. I’ve done my required research. You’re the one making an extraordinary claim. Jill’s whole platform, which you don’t understand very well, evidenced by your lack of knowledge regarding the many clarifications she has made on vaccinations. Like, she has literally come out and said that she is pro-vaccination. God forbid she might acknowledge that the route of the irrational anti-vax issue is people rationally being afraid of their government. States her position and offers a solution.

    But anyways, how did she break that law?

  31. 36

    Actually, you’ll stop commenting now, because every comment you post from here on out goes straight to spam. I won’t see any of them. Please, please contact the Stein campaign instead and explain to them why they should be concerned that Stein doesn’t meet a legal definition in one state when she does meet a definition that’s good enough for the OED. Please, please, please, just try to send them my way.

    I don’t think much of the Greens at the national level, but at least they don’t suddenly start suggesting someone claimed their candidate broke the law because she called Stein a “lobbyist”.

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