From breaking point to tipping point

Following Donald Tump's shocking election as President of the United States, his US Green Party opponent describes how Greens are leading the way as citizens start to mobilise against him

Jill Stein
Tue 17 Jan 2017

The 2016 Presidential election has left our nation reeling. More degraded than ever by big money and the corporate media, the bipartisan establishment produced the most disliked nominees on record. This toxic election delivered a toxic result: right-wing extremists, bigots and blowhards took control of government on 20 January, casting a distressing shadow over our future.

Trump's victory represents not so much a Republican triumph as a failure of both establishment parties dominated by the economic elite. A whopping 80 per cent of American voters were disgusted by this election. Vast numbers of people - including a majority of Trump voters - did not vote for a candidate they believed in, so much as against the candidate they disliked the most.

Trump's flagrant racism and misogyny repelled many Americans. But a critical mass also rejected Hillary Clinton and the Democrats for their disastrous trade deals, devastating Wall Street deregulation and endless wars. The Democratic National Committee's cynical political calculations and sabotage of Bernie Sanders made the Democratic establishment candidate unbearable even for many 'lesser evil' voters. This led many progressive voters to seek an alternative or to simply stay home. Relentless fear-mongering and widespread voter suppression, particularly in communities of colour, added to the disaster.

Ultimately, Trump's rise to power is a product of economic despair, generated by neoliberal policies of both parties that brought job loss, poverty wages, foreclosures, skyrocketing healthcare costs, crushing student debt and an eviscerated social safety net. Trump's policies now accelerate a decline long underway. His cabinet picks largely assault the institutions they are charged with serving.

As the political system hits rock bottom, crises converge across our economy, ecology and democracy. Yet powerful grassroots struggles are being waged outside the establishment parties. In fact, a majority of Americans are hungry for alternatives to the two-party system. And Green Party candidates have helped lift the voices of social movements, opening a crucial alternative space for those denied agency by the establishment duopoly.

In this emerging political space, we can begin to turn this breaking point into a tipping point to democracy and the future we deserve. Greens are uniquely positioned to help lead the way.

Recent history is full of successful resistance to autocratic and abusive regimes. Under Richard Nixon, a mobilised citizenry brought the troops home from Vietnam, created the Environmental Protection Agency, enacted health and safety standards under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and achieved women's right to choose from a conservative supreme court. Elsewhere, corrupt and repressive leaders have been brought to impeachment, prison or exile - from East Germany to Guatemala and South Korea - by organised citizens peacefully taking to the streets.

Threats to Trump's presidency emerged even before his inauguration. In addition to being the most unpopular president-elect in history, his 500 businesses across the globe are a minefield of conflicts of interest and ethical, legal and constitutional liabilities that will invariably lead to court challenges, congressional investigations, and pressure for impeachment.

Unprecedented numbers of Americans are already fighting back. From Standing Rock to Black Lives Matter, Fight for 15, Dreamers and student debtors, people are building their voices and power in the streets. Our campaign was honoured to stand with these movements on the frontlines. Together, we can build a powerful force to resist Trump and create real democracy.

Greens emerged stronger than ever from this election: three times the number of votes as 2012, ballot status in a record number of states, countless new chapters, and momentum for this year's local elections. We can build on the successes of local Greens, from Richmond, California, to New Paltz, New York, to protect our communities against Trump while cultivating the grassroots organisation and defiant leadership the American people desperately need.

On 20 January, we will begin by joining thousands of people and organisations from across the country in Washington DC to Occupy Inauguration - sending a message to Trump that we reject his dangerous regime from the start. On 21 January - day one of the Trump administration - we will be on Facebook Live with an all-day forum featuring Greens, social movements, and progressives, sharing resources and inspiration for resistance and transformation.

We will not consent to Trump's regime of hate, fear, and corruption. We will oppose oligarchy with democracy. And we will build an unstoppable movement whose time has come, to put people, planet, and peace over profit.