Two-time Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein announced Thursday she plans to seek the party’s nomination for the White House in 2024. The move is the latest sign of a flurry of independent or third-party candidates who aim to disrupt what many view as a two-party race between Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump. Stein joins outsiders like anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., philosopher Cornel West, and No Labels, a new political movement, in making their bids as the election approaches.
Stein’s campaign, which she launched on social media, aims to tap into a widespread sense that both major parties are failing the people they represent. “The political system is broken. The two Wall Street parties are bought and paid for,” she said in a video posted on social media to announce her candidacy.
The physician and environmental activist says she’s not seeking the Democratic presidential nomination but rather that of the Green Party, which is on the ballot in about 17 states. She’s hoping to capture votes that would otherwise go to Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Biden, who is viewed as a safe bet in a general election.
Stein is a familiar figure to voters who closely followed the 2016 presidential race. She received 1.4 million votes nationally as the Green Party candidate. Still, Democrats blamed her for taking traditional Democratic voters away from their nominee in crucial swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. She was also criticized by the Russian state-run broadcaster RT for attending a 2015 Moscow gala.
She says her 2024 bid is aimed at ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, reforming immigration laws, expanding Medicare to cover prescription drugs, and addressing climate change. She opposes raising the debt ceiling and supports student loan forgiveness, taxing the wealthy, and guaranteed housing for all Americans. She also calls for a ban on weapons of mass destruction and opposes the use of drone strikes against civilians.
Despite her low polling numbers, Stein’s candidacy could draw support from progressives worried about the future of abortion rights or worried that a new Supreme Court justice appointed by Trump would tilt the balance toward conservatives and possibly overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized the procedure in 1973. Left-wing icon Noam Chomsky endorsed Stein’s candidacy but said he thinks people should vote for the Democratic nominee.
Stein’s candidacy will likely have little impact on the race’s outcome, which polls show should be a close contest between Biden and Trump. But the outsiders are increasing pressure on both parties to focus on defending democracy and tackling economic insecurity, especially among young and suburban women. Those issues are the focus of public attacks by liberal-aligned groups, including MoveOn and Third Way, which hosted private briefings on Capitol Hill this week for top Democratic officials to raise concerns about the outsider candidates. The groups also have urged the candidates to address questions about their links to Russia, and the candidates, notably Stein, have promised to do so.