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Stein Is a Presidential Candidate... and a Vegetarian?

And on the subject of third-party candidates, Jill Stein announced yesterday that she's running for the Green Party presidential nomination in 2024. Since she's probably the most famous Green in the country, by virtue of her other two presidential runs, she'll presumably get the nod.

That's not to say she's entirely on a glide path, however. After she announced yesterday, an old controversy promptly reared its head. There are quite a few Greens who want their candidate to be vegetarian, at very least, while vegan would be better (and raw vegan would be better still). Back in 2016, Stein was asked about her diet and responded, in a Reddit AMA session: "I have been vegan or vegetarian for 45 years. Currently, I am vegan + fish and occasional dairy for health reasons."

That was a suboptimal answer, as it turns out. Obviously, someone who consumes fish and dairy is not a vegan, and should not be claiming to be such. In fact, they should not be calling themselves a vegetarian; her diet is quite clearly pescatarian. This had (and has) some Greens upset about her eating habits and had (and has) others upset about her dissembling.

We pass this anecdote along because it illustrates that the people who might vote for Stein include some sizable number who concern themselves with things somewhat outside the mainstream of American political discourse. In other words, people who probably aren't gettable by the two major parties. To put a finer point on it, in 2012 Stein collected 0.36% of the vote. In 2016, she got 1.06%. We suspect that she'll land in between those in 2024, if she gets the nomination, because some Greens are anti-vaxxers who will vote for RFK Jr. and some are anti-corporate types who will vote for Cornel West.

Whatever happens, we think that whether it's Jill Stein or it's some less famous Green, it doesn't change things much. Whoever they are, the Green candidate will primarily be one of several vessels for protest votes. The real question is how many people will feel the need to cast such a vote; right now, thanks to the Israel situation, not to mention weariness with the two major-party candidates, that number looks like it will be unusually high. That said, there's no great way to know for sure until the votes are counted. In both of her previous campaigns, Stein—as is usually the case for fringe candidates—consistently polled at two-to-three times the level of support she actually got when it came time to cast ballots. (Z)

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