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Inside Dr. Jill Stein’s Philadelphia Headquarters

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Inside Dr. Jill Stein’s Philadelphia Headquarters

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Dr. Jill Stein’s campaign headquarters in south Philadelphia looked exactly as you would expect – megaphones lined one wall. There was an improvised recycling station. Everyone looked like a hipster stereotype, but older.

Around ten members of the campaign were trying to figure out Stein’s schedule for Wednesday – is it a live stream or a TV interview that they’re doing? They weren’t sure. But they were excited about the options.

The Green Party’s candidate for president had been receiving an unusual amount of media attention thanks to protests at the Democratic National Convention from the “Bernie or Bust” movement.

Her campaign agreed to an interview with me — before the “big” media outlets began calling. Now, she didn’t have much time. Stein was going on Fox News soon.

She spent the day before speaking to former Sanders supporters who are now refusing to support Hillary Clinton, even after Sanders has repeatedly endorsed her. Stein assured them that there’s a third choice in November and that with her, their revolution can continue.

When she joined protesters outside the DNC on Tuesday night, the rowdy crowd surrounded her so closely that she began to feel sick. Stein’s campaign has been fairly small until now, and she doesn’t have the security infrastructure that major presidential candidates usually enjoy.

Gloria Mattera, the campaign’s co-chair, was the one in charge at the scene. While she agreed that the influx of Sanders supporters to the Stein campaign has been significant, she wanted to make sure I knew there were people who supported Stein all along, “even while Sanders was in the race.”

I told her that many “Bernie or Bust” protesters had said that, ideally, they would want Sanders to run with the Green Party, and that I saw reports of Stein being open to this scenario. Mattera conceded that their campaign has made several attempts at reaching out to Sanders, not just now but throughout the years, but “he’s never responded.”

When I asked her the question of the week — “What about those who think a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump?” — she said, “A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Jill Stein. Nobody owes anybody votes, in terms of any political party.”

I asked why Stein seemed to be taking closer aim at Clinton than at Donald Trump, who Sanders and many progressives consider to be an “imminent threat.” Mattera answered that she believes most people see Trump, and “see what they see,” but Clinton is “an insidious evil.”

And what about Meleiza Figueroa, the campaign’s press director, a prototypical Sanders supporter that Stein is hoping will typify other converts to her camp? The young Californian has been a Sanders supporter for a long time. She registered with the Green Party when she was 18-years-old, but became a registered Democrat this year so she could vote for the Vermont senator.

“I knew that Bernie was going to get crushed,” she said about her decision to move on to Stein’s movement. “I saw this as the next battlefield.”

Stein’s campaign staff seemed only slightly unrealistic at first — Mattera believes that Stein could just use executive orders to cut defense spending in half and move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 — but then I spoke to one of Stein’s “advisors.”

Adrian Boutureira’s card said he was a “field director/foreign policy advisor,” but he clarified that he was actually foreign policy advisor for Latin America and Palestine, or at least “one of them.” Wearing combat boots and a fedora, the Uruguay native looked more like a Brooklyn artist to me.

I asked what his policy qualifications were. He said he had been working on “Latin American solidarity issues for 25 years,” serving as co-founder of the “No War On Cuba” movement and doing other community work.

He moved to his foreign policy advice for Stein — a mix of convictions about America’s covert anti-progressive actions abroad, including against Venezuela and Cuba, two of the most, apparently, “progressive governments” the U.S. has tried to destroy. Then he called President Obama “the fascist with a heart of gold — there is no such thing.”

Finally, the woman of the hour arrived at her campaign headquarters. An ABC local reporter was finishing setting up her equipment for an interview. Sporting the highest credentials in the room, she was first on the list to interview Stein. A group of filmmakers trying to document the “revolution,” and I sat back and watched the scene.

I met Stein for a brief moment — she has the charisma of a politician, up close. But the scale of her previous campaigns was evident in Philadelphia.

I was taken aback when Stein arrived because she was carrying her own bags and wearing a tank top. I had seen her the previous two days at rallies wearing a similar outfit, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the huge differences between her and the other woman in the race. There’s no way Hillary Clinton has ever finished getting ready for a TV appearance in front of a camera crew — at least, not in decades.

It gave me pause — this was the operation to carry Bernie’s torch? I thought of my best friend, who came to this country when he was 7-years-old and has never known another life. As a “DREAMer,” his future would be in jeopardy if Donald Trump becomes president. So are reproductive rights, equality for minorities and women, gun control, college affordability… these are Sanders’ issues, and Clinton’s issues, and Democratic issues. Philadelphia served it’s purpose, for me: The choice is clear.

 

Photo: Fabian Ortiz

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55 Comments

  1. single payer July 28, 2016

    “Philadelphia served it’s purpose, for me: The choice is clear.”
    Yes, the choice is crystal clear and it isn’t Clinton.
    Jill Stein 2016 #DemExit #JillNotHill

    Reply
    1. King of America July 28, 2016

      Donald Trump thanks you for the support.

      Reply
      1. single payer July 28, 2016

        Goldman Sachs thanks you for yours……

        Reply
        1. King of America July 28, 2016

          So what’s your plan for stopping Trump? Oh right, you don’t have one and don’t care about the civil rights of others – instead, you’ll support the totally unelectable anti-vaxxer conspiracy theory candidate who didn’t even get half a percent of the vote last election.

          Voting is not a way of PUNISHING THE IMPURE.

          Reply
          1. single payer July 28, 2016

            I’m voting FOR Stein…….not AGAINST Trump or Clinton. I’d rather vote for what I do want and lose than to vote for what I don’t and win. Shouldn’t be a difficult concept for you to understand……

            Reply
          2. King of America July 28, 2016

            Yes, you’re supporting Donald Trump – that’s what I said.

            Reply
          3. single payer July 28, 2016

            No, I’m not sharing in YOUR support of corruption.

            Reply
          4. King of America July 28, 2016

            Yes, I do understand that your smug entitlement and self-righteousness is far more important to you than the civil rights of others, and that you’ll use any right-wing smear to justify it.

            Reply
          5. dtgraham July 30, 2016

            You once told me that you didn’t care whether Hillary Clinton was even progressive or not. When I questioned you on that, and suggested that you should be arguing that Hillary was indeed progressive, you doubled down on it and replied that you didn’t see why you should be arguing that.

            You g*ddamned phony.

            Reply
          6. King of America July 30, 2016

            Yes, I do understand that you – as a conspiracy theorist – will wilfully hang on to an idiotic misinterpretation of something someone says as “evidence” that their baseless assertions are true. Still, a better answer would have been to link to the email that backs up your claim, something that you cannot do as it is completely fictional.

            Reply
          7. dtgraham July 30, 2016

            “Yes, I do understand that you – as a conspiracy theorist – will wilfully hang on to an idiotic misinterpretation of something someone says as “evidence” that their baseless assertions are true.”

            Huh??? What the hell was that man? So I guess that Sarah Palin isn’t your rock bottom after all.

            Reply
          8. King of America July 30, 2016

            See previous post.

            Reply
          9. dtgraham July 30, 2016

            C’mon Tourette boy. When you tell the Bernie or bust people that it’s stupid to not vote for Hillary, we believe you. We trust you. You know stupid.

            Reply
          10. King of America July 30, 2016

            I love that you are still doubling down on your bigotry while claiming to be progressive.

            Get better soon!

            Reply
          11. dtgraham July 30, 2016

            You’re back to claiming that I’m the grand wizard of the KKK.

            I’ll have you know that I’ve never been able to fit it in between my work as the dark galactic overlord of the Atari star system, and my assistance of Abraxis — the evil Lizard god of the netherworld.

            I hope that helps!

            Reply
          12. King of America July 30, 2016

            Yes I get that you can only argue against strawmen, and not what people actually say. It’s because you’re dumb as hell and also a conspiracy theorist – never a good combination.

            Sanders lost because he was incompetent – his lack of appeal to African Americans was evident at the start of the campaign, and he did exactly nothing to redress it. Instead of the guy who voted against immigration bills in order to pander to his all-white base, they chose to vote for Clinton and her far stronger civil rights record. I do get that you’re mad that those people questioned your paternalistic insistence that you, as a white male millennial, knew what was best for them, and it IS deeply hilarious.

            No amount of emails written well after Sanders had mathematically lost will change that.

            I hope that helps!

            Reply
          13. dtgraham July 30, 2016

            Yeah none of that is true. Sorry you can’t see reality. Weird.

            Get better soon.

            Reply
          14. King of America July 30, 2016

            OK better luck next personality cult, sorry you have never once managed to back up your claims.

            Reply
          15. jmprint July 28, 2016

            But you will share in the progress that will be accomplished.

            Reply
          16. single payer July 29, 2016

            If you think perpetuating corruption is “progress” I really feel sad for you.

            Reply
          17. jmprint July 29, 2016

            And I for you for allowing political propaganda blind you from seeing where the good heart is.

            Reply
          18. CrankyToo July 28, 2016

            “I’d rather vote for what I do want and lose than to vote for what I don’t and win.”

            That’s an asinine position to take. If you’ve lived through as many presidents as you say you have, then you’re certainly mature enough to know that winning is ALWAYS preferable to losing. Take it from someone who’s lived through as many presidents as you have fingers AND ears. (You do have ears, don’t you? Some may wonder. Let’s say “fingers and feet” then.)

            I don’t doubt that you’ll exercise your prerogative to ignore the lessons of the 2000 election and vote for Jill Stein in November. And you’ll be all proud of yourself for having had the courage of your convictions. But you and she will lose overwhelmingly. And I predict you won’t be so happy and shiny if Donald Trump ascends to the Oval Office as a result of good people like yourself having done what was best for their vanity, rather than what was best for their families, their neighbors and the country in general.

            Idealism is admirable – all the way up to the point where you fall on your sword. Then it becomes a failure of reason; an exercise in futility; pointless.

            Reply
    2. FireBaron July 28, 2016

      Payer, you do realize that your support for a windmill tilter could help get Teflon Donnie the electoral votes in your state, right? Do you, after backing someone looking for real reform, really want to vote for someone with little or no chance of winning in order to give the election to someone like the GOP Nominee? And please do not point to Lincoln’s election in 1860 as a guide for 3rd party candidacy.
      By 1860, there were already significant numbers of Republican Party members serving in the House, and in various state legislatures and governor’s mansions and controlling those states’ legislative processes. Please name a single member of the Green Party sitting in Congress. You cannot, because they are not there. Name a single state house controlled by the Green Party? You cannot because they aren’t there.

      The only way the Greens are going to become viable is to start getting elected on the local level. You want to do so? Start helping them in December by developing candidates for State offices and getting them elected! Then you can start seriously looking at national politics. Until then, take some political history classes to learn how to do this!

      Reply
      1. single payer July 28, 2016

        Jill Stein is the only candidate for reform standing…..and I will support the Greens now AND after December thank you.
        Nice how you throw that “windmill tilter” thing in there……Kinda sums it up before you ever get started.
        Jill Stein 2016

        Reply
        1. King of America July 28, 2016

          Hillary Clinton is LITERALLY the most liberal candidate for the US Presidency in history. That is what you are opposing, and by doing so you’re helping an actual fascist – all because you’re having a tantrum.

          Incredible.

          Reply
          1. single payer July 28, 2016

            I think it is spelled NEO-LIBERAL…….

            Reply
          2. King of America July 28, 2016

            I don’t really care how you justify your support of Trump to yourself; make no mistake, that’s what you’re doing.

            Reply
          3. single payer July 28, 2016

            Yes, I really don’t think you do care about what you re promoting.

            Reply
          4. King of America July 28, 2016

            I’m not promoting anything – I’m telling you what you’re promoting. You don’t like it, of course, because you are a petulant child.

            Reply
          5. single payer July 28, 2016

            Hardly a child……I’ve lived through as many presidents as you have fingers.

            Reply
          6. King of America July 28, 2016

            That comment was not, of course, a reference to your age. Most people would understand that, but then you’re not interested in understanding others.

            Reply
          7. single payer July 28, 2016

            I fully understand why neither Trump Nor Clinton is worth voting for. You may do as you please…….

            Reply
          8. King of America July 28, 2016

            Yes, I get that you don’t care about civil rights, just in Punishing the Ideologically Impure; that’s the whole point of the Greens, after all (it sure isn’t anything to do with the environment).

            Reply
          9. jmprint July 28, 2016

            Then why is single payer your only reason for voting for Jill. How is she going to make that possible?

            Reply
          10. single payer July 29, 2016

            Why do you assume universal healthcare is the only reason? Because of the screen name? Its an important reason but far from the only reason.

            Reply
          11. jmprint July 29, 2016

            Well OK you must have other issues in your life that have warrant you to not work for improvement.

            Reply
        2. jmprint July 28, 2016

          I realize you think you are making the right choice, but it will have the same impact as you just staying at home.

          Reply
    3. 788eddie July 28, 2016

      Then accept Donald Trump as your leader; that’s who you may end up with.

      Reply
    4. jmprint July 28, 2016

      What are you getting for your vote?

      Reply
      1. single payer July 29, 2016

        The ability to look my kids and grandkids in the eye and tell them I did the right thing.

        Reply
        1. jmprint July 29, 2016

          Hope you are man enough to say you are sorry if you contribute to destruction.

          Reply
          1. single payer July 29, 2016

            Sure. Man enough to not be “pissing in your pants” scared too.

            Reply
          2. jmprint July 29, 2016

            OK enough said, I know exactly where you stand.

            Reply
  2. heidi jo bean July 28, 2016

    After 42 years of voting ONLY democrat, the democratic party now, is nothing more than a moderate republican party.
    I want no part of it,

    Reply
    1. 788eddie July 28, 2016

      Then accept Donald Trump as your leader; that’s who you may end up with!

      Reply
        1. jmprint July 28, 2016

          Jimmy Carter supports Hillary. Because he knows who she really is, not what has been painted, in the minds, by those that have tried to bring her down for over 30 years.

          Reply
          1. King of America July 29, 2016

            As I just pointed out to her, that quote is absolutely fake; Carter has never said any such thing. It’s dumb right-wing propaganda of the same type they’ve enthusiastically bought into already.

            Reply
        2. 788eddie July 28, 2016

          Dear “heidi jo”,

          I recommend my above post with more details to you.

          . . . And best wishes.

          Reply
        3. King of America July 28, 2016

          No, it’ll be yours. You’re the one supporting a fascist.

          I hope that helps!

          Reply
        4. King of America July 29, 2016

          Also that Jimmy Carter quote is 100% fake; like all the other stuff you believe it’s a dumb right-wing smear. Carter has in fact endorsed Clinton.

          Reply
    2. King of America July 28, 2016

      Yes, you’ve swallowed a bunch of right-wing smears wholesale and somehow it’s the Democratic Party’s fault you’re so credulous. I see.

      Reply
  3. Eleanore Whitaker July 28, 2016

    Okay, I’ll bite …who is Doktah Jill Stein? Is she anything like Sugah Daddy Sandahs? Another loser?

    Reply
  4. 788eddie July 28, 2016

    I just hope that all who think that they’re doing a good thing by supporting Jill Stein and the Green Party, take a long hard look at history.

    Many people who supported The Green Party with Ralph Nader ended up getting George W. Bush. Remember Dick Cheney, and the neo-cons; remember the disastrous breakup of Iraq; remember health insurance double-digit yearly increases; remember dozens of banks closings every week; remember horrendous monthly job loses, remember Lehman Brothers, Remember Countrywide Mortgage going bankrupt; remember people losing their homes by the tens of thousands; remember Citizens United; remember our economy being on the verge of collapse?

    If you’re not supporting the Democrat candidate, you may be playing right into Republican hands again.

    Learn the lesson. Do NOT let history repeat itself.

    Reply
  5. Otto T. Goat July 28, 2016

    That’s a nice selection of megaphones. This is Jill Stein singing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agcDeD5yziA&list=PLyWSFoc5Hwfk2Dxjn5kMDMAB6U3JGmyw0&index=4

    Reply

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