MELBOURNE – I’m a Green. I’ve twice been the Australian Greens’ candidate for a seat in Australia’s federal parliament. But on November 8, all of the good that the Green political movement has done since it was founded could be outweighed by the Green Party in the United States if Jill Stein, its candidate for president, brings about the election of Donald Trump.
We’ve been here before. In 2000, Al Gore would have become president if he had won Florida. George W. Bush won the state by 537 votes, while 97,241 Floridians voted for Ralph Nader, the Green candidate. Nader subsequently wrote on his website: “In the year 2000, exit polls reported that 25% of my voters would have voted for Bush, 38% would have voted for Gore and the rest would not have voted at all.” If we divide up Nader’s vote in that way, the result is that, without him in the race, Gore would have won Florida by more than 12,000 votes.
Before the election, a group of former activists for Nader published an open letter calling on him to end his campaign. “It is now clear,” they wrote, “that you might well give the White House to Bush.” Nader refused, saying that there was no significant difference between the two major party candidates.
We now know how wrong that was. If there had been no Nader candidacy in Florida, the US would have elected the strongest advocate of urgent action on climate change ever to have held the presidency. Already in 1992, in his book Earth in the Balance, Gore had argued for such an agenda.