Finally, Jill Stein’s moment has arrived. And boy, is it an ugly one.
The Lexington physician has run for many offices over the years: state rep, secretary of state, and governor (twice). Now, after having been the Green Party’s standard-bearer in 2012 (and winning 0.36% of the vote) she is once again running as the party’s candidate for president.
And this crazy, terrifying election cycle looks like it’ll be Stein’s most successful yet. Though it might be difficult to look at herself in the mirror afterward.
Hoping to draw the Bernie-or-bust folks to her cause, Stein has been in the thick of their protests at this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philly, her pox-on-both-their houses rhetoric a natural fit for heartbroken Sanders devotees disinclined to support Hillary Clinton.
In their view, Clinton is just as bad as Donald Trump — as bad as a man who daily sinks to levels one would have thought impossible, a narcissistic demagogue who invites an unfriendly nation to spy on a former secretary of state (He can always, always go lower, folks!). Some of them hate Clinton as much as some Republicans do, a few of them even taking up the shameful “lock her up” chant.
And Stein, seeing her opening, is right in there with them — and anybody else who can advance her candidacy, no matter how hostile they are to the causes for which she has fought her whole life.
“The scary things that Donald Trump says, Hillary Clinton has already done,” she told NPR a few days ago, “whether it’s massively deporting immigrants, whether it’s threatening nuclear warfare . . . ”
Whoa. Criticize the Obama administration’s record on deportations, or Clinton herself as too hawkish, sure. But making the Democrat’s shortcomings in those areas equivalent to those of a guy who wants to build a wall, expel millions, intimidate the press, revive torture, and have the military commit war crimes, is so ridiculous I feel stupid just typing it.
Oh, and did you notice something else, Greens? Trump is a climate change denier.
But apparently, that doesn’t matter. Not to Stein, who made a triumphant appearance inside the convention hall Tuesday to stir things up, an appearance encouraged by a Fox Business personality who seemed to be running the disruption. WGBH reporter Adam Reilly captured the circus on video, asking Stein whether she was concerned that her opposition to Clinton might tip the election to Trump.
She sure wasn’t. The rise of right-wing extremism in this country, Stein said, is being driven by NAFTA, globalization, and the big banks, all promoted by “the Clintons,” she said.
“Putting another Clinton in the White House will fan the flames of this right-wing extremism,” she said. “We have known that for a long time, ever since Nazi Germany.”
Hey, you’re off the hook, Adolf. Neoliberalism, not your unhinged demagoguery, brought us the Third Reich.
This is ridiculous. Stein is encouraging voters to let the perfect be the enemy of the sane.
Sanders fans have every right to be less than happy with Clinton. The primary wasn’t rigged, as some claim, but the hacked DNC e-mails reveal some tawdriness. Though the nominee has moved closer to their positions on a bunch of issues because of Sanders’ pressure, she doesn’t go far enough for them (or for me, on some things).
They also have a right to avoid voting for her — as long as they can make their peace with the fact that doing so makes Trump more likely to be elected.
But Stein can’t honestly argue Trump and Clinton are equally harmful to the causes she holds dear. Doing so advances her own political fortunes at the country’s expense.
Gee, that seems familiar. Maybe if Stein is looking for someone to compare to Trump, the mirror would be a pretty good place to start.
Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.