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Green Party candidate Jill Stein speaks to crowd near Copley

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An enthusiastic crowd of over 200 gathered in Old South Church in Boston, near Copley Square, Sunday afternoon to express support for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

Attendees participated in several chants, such as “This is what democracy looks like,” “Go Green in 2016” and “Go Jill” throughout the rally.

Stein started the rally by pointing out Massachusetts’ longtime reputation as a Democratic state.

“It’s great to see Massachusetts rising up strongly and breaking this strangle hold of a one-party state that Massachusetts has been for so long,” Stein said during the rally, “A one-party state that pretends to be the progressive, democratic solution, but it is not a solution as we know in so many ways.”

Stein criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for their behaviors in the election, calling them, respectively, a “sexual predator” and the “queen of corruption.”

“Right now, those two parties have basically merged into one party because the Republicans have fallen apart and the Democrats have split; [they] have basically gotten together as one big happy, corporate political party,” Stein said during the rally. “They can have each other, but the American people are dying for another option. We are that option.”

Among those speaking at the rally were co-chairs of the Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts David Gerry and Darlene Elias, and Green-Rainbow Party candidates for State Representative Danny Factor and Charlene DiCalogero.

Elias spoke about her early experiences with Green-Rainbow Party, especially the struggles she’s had in her life and how the party helped her with them.

“The Green Party was very instrumental in helping me,” Elias said at the rally. “As a Puerto Rican Latino woman who grew up in the projects in the hood in South Holyoke to gain a voice and to chant and to advocate for my people in Holyoke who happened to be disenfranchised and marginalized and who don’t have any voting power.”

Rally attendees said they support Stein because she promotes ideals that other candidates do or do not fully commit to, and said third-party candidates offer a better option for people unhappy with the two candidates from major parties.

Lindie Ngobeni, 27, of Jamaica Plain, said third parties are the voice of various demographics, but they have been behind the shadows of two major political parties.

“What I see happen constantly is that if we’re not setting our own agenda, you kind of end up with what you see right now on the debate stage,” she said before the rally. “Our issues won’t be talked about, and it’s actually really important to have third parties for that reason — to actually have these issues be talked about.”

Steven Lord, 36, of Allston, said the Green Party’s causes are worth fighting for, but not many people know the third parties well. 

“Jill represents things I’ve always connected with, and I’ve followed the Green Party, and I know they’re on the front lines of all these various protest movements,” he said. “Voting for her at least helps her get backing funds that then the Green Party can then become a bigger alternative [party].”

Michael Pascucci, 33, of Dorchester, said those on the fringes of political extremes have been worried about voting third party, though third parties represent what they truly believe in.

“For many, many years, those of us on the left fringes have been told we have to wait and wait and wait because we can’t risk splitting the vote,” he said. “But, that is really a politics of fear because it counts on us not really understanding how the electoral college works.”

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Breanne is a former editor-in-chief and city news editor. She is a senior in the College of Communication and an oxford comma enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter @breannekovatch.

One Comment

  1. Thank you for including my comments in this article, Breanne. I regretted afterward accidentally using the typically-derisive and dismissive term “fringe” to describe those of us who are progressive. I think the number of people who turned out for Sanders in the primary shows that progressive views are much more widely held than they’re typically given credit for, and Stein’s campaign embodies many of those same values. However, most people do tend to see the Green Party as a “fringe” entity because they falsely assume that since the Green Party is not already a major party, it must just have lofty goals with no real plans or knowledge. As I have learned more about the Green Party myself, I have seen that they really do know what they’re talking about, and they’re intellectually honest in their criticism of both the Republicans and the Democrats – we just have to give them a chance at the ballot box without thinking that we’re wasting our votes.

    This ties into my point about the electoral college – progressives are always told the Republican candidate is too much of a threat to risk splitting the otherwise-Democratic vote. While I agree that the Democratic candidate has always been “better than a Republican,” there are plenty of reasons why “better than a Republican” is not good enough. Further, a) until we actually vote for the Green Party in high enough numbers to get them ballot access, funding, and legitimacy, they will forever be seen as a “wasted vote” because they “cannot win,” and b) it is entirely possible for the Green Party to reach 5% (or more) of the vote without affecting the winner-take-all, state-by-state allocation of Electoral College votes. States like Massachusetts and New York where Hillary is projected to win by 20+ points could certainly spare a large number of progressive voters without causing Hillary to lose the state (and MA’s 11 Electors will almost certainly not affect the national outcome anyway). And States like Missouri, Kansas, Idaho, North Dakota, etc. where Trump is leading by 10+ points are surely not going to Hillary anyway, so progressives voting for her there are wasting votes that could go to Stein.

    With so many decades of Democrats going to the right – becoming a moderate, centrist party based around corporate neoliberalism – and their power structure working hard to suppress progressive voices like Sanders’ from taking over, it’s clear that we really do need a progressive third-party to rise up as a legitimate challenger. With how horrible Trump is, and the polls virtually guaranteeing an Electoral College victory for Hillary (even if the popular vote is close – because the EC works like that), we have a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use our votes to promote the “greater good” rather than simply choosing the “lesser evil” because we’re too afraid of the “greater evil” prevailing.