Jill Stein: The Entire Political System Disempowers Voters — Not Just Primaries

In a recent interview with Brad Friedman, published on Salon, Green Party presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein criticizes both parties and their establishment primary rules.

“[T]he rules of the game…are made as complicated and incomprehensible as possible in order to keep people in the dark and lock them out. Closed primaries are one piece of a massive system to silence and disempower voters,” Stein explains.

While Stein says there might be an argument for closed primaries in a multi-party system, the way the process is set up now is closed from started to finish.

“We should have many choices for people. We don’t right now, we only have two, so the whole notion of closed versus open primaries is kind of crazy. It’s a very closed process to start with. It’s also closed because you need a huge amount of money to compete on the current playing field; it’s closed because the press won’t cover you; it’s closed because the ballot access rules keep you off the ballot; and at the end of the day it’s closed because the debates exclude everybody who’s not a part of the two parties who control the debate…So yes, primaries should be open, but we need to have many choices and many voices that participate in these primaries,” Stein says.

A major tenet of the Green Party’s platform is getting corporate money out of politics. Supporters of this idea argue that running a successful grassroots campaign in this era of Citizens United is often unsuccessful because candidates are competing with large, and often secret donors.

Closed primaries are one piece of a massive system to silence and disempower voters.
Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party Presidential Candidate

When asked if Bernie Sanders defies this phenomenon, Stein had this to say:

“[I]t’s actually a catch-22, because in order for Bernie Sanders to really harness this wave of public outrage and dissent, he was able to use the Democratic Party infrastructure, which was great…But that comes back to bit him, because that also, at the end of the day, puts him inside of s system that has very big guns to sabotage real rebels with integrity. So we’re seeing that cycle play out right now. As long as you play by the rules of the game, they can pull it right out from under you.”

The interview with Dr. Jill Stein also covers her take on the power of superdelegates. She believes they were not created to ensure the most viable candidate wins. Superdelegates were created “to put a firewall around grassroots campaigns…and they’ve been very successful at doing that,” she explains.

Read the Full Interview on Salon.com