Ain’t no party like a Green Party: Jill Stein answers questions in town hall

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. © Dominick Reuter
The Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, went on CNN to directly address voters and their questions. Along with her running mate Amaju Baraka, Stein attempted to pitch her platform to those still undecided.

Stein stated at the beginning of the town hall that the Green Party was “the one national party that is not corrupted by corporate money, by lobbyist money or by Super PACS.”

Using that introduction, she segued into addressing the concerns encompassed by the Green Party, such as jobs, climate change, student debt and foreign policy.

The third party candidate also went on to address a growing concern in the current political climate. When one audience member asked her if she would feel guilty if she potentially split the Democratic vote and helped secure a Trump presidency, she responded, “I will have trouble sleeping at night if Donald Trump is elected. I will also have trouble sleeping at night if Hillary Clinton is elected.”

Stein went on to bash both candidates, saying, “Donald Trump is bashing these immigrants and is a xenophobic, racist loudmouth,” and delving into Hillary Clinton’s history of supporting wars in the Middle East.

But some audience members questioned the actual potential for the low-polling candidate to make it to the White House. She addressed their concern, saying, “it’s definitely not possible for us to win” when facing two candidates with corporate sponsors and the backing of corrupt political parties. However, she expressed a need to pull in younger voters to her side.

“I really wanted to feel the Bern,” Green Party vice presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka told the CNN town hall audience, adding that he was “troubled by other tendencies,” such as a lack of focus on foreign policy.

What a Stein administration’s foreign policy would look like was the next question for Dr. Stein, who described her plan as “a peace offensive.”

Stein’s comments were boosted by her running mate.

“Enormous incompetency” was how Baraka described the US intervention in the Middle East, going as far as to say that it caused the growth of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

A military veteran confronted Stein about her position of cutting off support to Israel as they are the US’ only democratic ally in the Middle East. Stein responded by explaining that it would be more of a compromise, “We say to Israel that we will not continue to give you $8 million a day when the Israeli army is occupying territory in Palestine, conducting home demolitions and assassinations.”

She said the same goes for the Saudis, “they don’t get a pass whatsoever. Nor, for that matter, does Egypt get a pass.”

Answering an audience member’s question on policing and black communities, Stein said the issue was “related to the ongoing crisis of racial injustice.”

Stein said that in order to “understand this living legacy of fear and racism,” from slavery to lynchings to Jim Crowe to the War on Drugs to police violence, "we're calling for a truth and reconciliation commission."

She also called for every community in the US to have access to a review board, with an independent investigator, to get to the bottom of any police-involved shooting.

Delving into the personal backgrounds of the Green Party presidential ticket, Stein spoke briefly of her experience as a singer in a band. CNN's Chris Cuomo then turned to Baraka, kidding with him that it was hard to find personal information about him online.

"I'm a pretty boring person," Baraka said, explaining that he likes to "enjoy life and be with my family."

Stein also spent time addressing her plan for student debt relief, a major cornerstone of the Green Party’s platform. The double standard that the government seems to have for student debt and the banking crisis was a major talking point for Stein, who said, “we found a way to bail out Wall Street, the guys who crashed the economy,” despite a “younger generation held hostage” by student debt.

She explained that, “It was easy for the banks to repay the loans because they’re an extremely advantaged and privileged group.” However, she explained, the trouble for young people is increased because few of them are in a situation that allows them to repay their debts at an efficient pace due to a lack of high-paying jobs.

However, she pointed out that student “debt is largely owned by the federal government, I’m suggesting that the federal reserve buy that debt like it did for Wall Street.” She went on to outline a plan where, without the need for Congress’s approval, she would ask the Federal Reserve to declare student loans null and void, allowing the money that would go into repaying them to be used to boost the economy.

Baraka explained that the Federal Reserve “created money and handed that money to the banks to the tune of $85 billion a month.” He added: “If this mechanism can be found to prop up the banks,” it can be found for student loans.