“Sometimes you have to lose elections to build your power,” Stein told RI Future in a wide-ranging, 35-minute interview Wednesday. “Because we don’t get out of this hole unless we build our power. We don’t change this system unless we challenge it. In the words of Frederick Douglass ‘power concedes nothing without a demand.’ It never has, it never will. We’ve been doing this lesser evil thing for quite a while right now and this politics of fear has brought us everything we are afraid of. All those things we didn’t want we’ve gotten by the droves because the lesser evil essentially silences us.”
But what about all the Supreme Court justices Trump would appoint, I asked her.
“As opposed to having Hillary Clinton in power starting an air war with Russia over Syria because she wants a no-fly zone,” Stein responded. “She’s all about challenging Russia and provoking Russia and surrounding Russia with nuclear weapons and missiles and troops. Do we really want an aggressive war hawk in the White House who has a proven track record of actually doing the things that Donald Trump says?”
Clinton and Trump are “different,” she conceded, “but not different enough to save your life, your job or the planet.” She asked if America would be better served by “an advocate for billionaires in the White House instead of a billionaire himself?”
Fair enough. But Trump’s alleged wealth doesn’t even register on the list of things that would make him a terrible president. What about the hate and distrust his presidency would breed into America, I said.
“And think about where that came from,” Stein retorted. “Why does Donald Trump have support now? Because working people have been subjected to a miserable economy. And where did that miserable economy come from? Well, we had NAFTA, who gave us that? This was a policy of the Clintons, supported by Hillary. We had the Wall Street meltdown, which disappeared 9 million jobs and stole 5 million homes.”
Stein added, “I would feel horrible if Trump gets elected and I would feel horrible if Hillary gets elected but I feel most horrible about a political system that says we have two lethal choices, now pick your weapon of self destruction.”
Instant run-off voting, which allows voters to rank candidates, would allow people to vote for their preferred candidate without risk of aiding a political enemy, she said. But she was also clear to point out, there’s no reason to think she can’t win.
“In my view we don’t even have to lose this election,” she said, noting that there are 42 million people who are “trapped in predatory student loan debt. I’m the only candidate who will cancel that debt like we did for the crooks on Wall Street.”
Stein said Cornell West, Michelle Alexander and Seattle City Councilor Kshama Sawant are potential vice presidential candidates. She said Bernie Sanders could have “just about any” position in her administration.