(The following was originally published in Counter Punch.)
Third parties, especially during presidential election years, are subjected to a variety of criticisms from supporters of the candidates of the duopoly and their corporate media enablers. The level of virulent denunciation in 2016 of the Green Party’s presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, by Democrats and partisans of Hillary Clinton may be a reflection of how paranoid they have become over the thought that a misogynistic and xenophobic white nationalist like Donald Trump might actually win the election. Although that is highly doubtful, especially given the demographics, the Greens have become, nonetheless, a target to be browbeaten and censured.
At the core of much of these criticisms is a profound misunderstanding of what a vote for a third party like the Green Party means. To denigrate that vote as merely a “protest” neglects the fact that people have strong political perspectives and deep values for which voting is only one manifestation of those perspectives and values. In addition, the presumption by HRC supporters that Green Party proponents are engaging in “white privilege” or self-indulgent moralism overlooks the criticisms of HRC by Black Lives Matter and other groups promoting racial justice, the level of diversity within the Green Party, and the degree to which many Greens also operate out of a strategic and tactical sense for their voting.