Jill Stein announced Thursday that she is entering the 2024 presidential race as a Green Party candidate, reviving a role she played in a 2016 campaign that some Democrats say cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.
“The political system is broken,” Stein said in a video posted on social media, announcing her bid for the nomination. “The bipartisan establishment failed us, and we need a party that serves the people.”
Stein is the highest-profile person now competing for the Green Party nomination following scholar and activist Cornel West’s decision last month to instead continue his presidential bid as an independent. Stein helped run West’s campaign before his decision, calling him “the right person for America.”
In 2016, Stein drew 1.4 million votes nationally as the Green Party nominee — a small fraction of those received by Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. But Democrats accused Stein of being a spoiler in a number of battleground states where the race was close. Clinton lost Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to Trump by fewer votes than Stein received. Had Clinton won all three, she would have been president.
Some scholars have argued, however, that many supporters of Stein and other minor-party candidates would have been more likely to stay home than vote for Clinton if Stein were not on the ballot.
The potential impact of the Green Party in the presidential race next year remains unclear. The party is on the ballot in 17 states, according to its website, and is working to gain access to others in coming months.
Representatives for Stein did not immediately return messages Thursday seeking comment.
“Democrats have betrayed their promises for working people, youth and the climate again and again, while Republicans don’t even make such promises in the first place,” Stein said in her announcement video. “And both parties are a danger to our democracy — expanding censorship, criminalizing protests, throwing competitors off the ballot, suppressing debates, rigging their primaries.”
Stein got nearly twice as many votes in 2016 as the Green Party nominee got in 2020. That 2020 nominee, Howie Hawkins, an environmental activist, praised Stein for entering the 2024 presidential race.
“I think she can run a serious campaign, from the Green Party perspective,” Hawkins told The Washington Post on Thursday. Stein, a medical doctor, can “raise some money and get out there,” he said, adding that she “is sorta coming to the rescue because Cornel West had stepped up, but he stepped away.”
West launched his presidential campaign in June as a candidate for the People’s Party. He quickly abandoned that strategy and sought the nomination of the Green Party, which has ballot access in more states. But last month West announced he was quitting that effort, citing the Green Party’s complicated nomination process, and said he would run for president as an independent.
Violet Zitola, co-chair of the Presidential Campaign Support Committee for the Green Party, said four people — including Stein — announced campaigns for the party’s nomination for president, but just one has gathered enough signatures from party members and donations to qualify for consideration: Jorge Zavala, a businessman in California who produced eco-friendly products.
Zitola said she expects Stein to also qualify.
The Green Party will select their nominee next year at a convention, though the date and location have not been finalized, Zitola said. Green Party members from different states will serve as delegates to the convention.
Hawkins welcomed Stein to the 2024 race but said the Green Party’s outcome “depends on the larger dynamic than the particular candidate.” The 2016 race, he said, “was good for third party candidates” because the Democratic and Republican nominees that year — Clinton and Trump — were deeply unpopular with voters.
“2024 may be similar,” Hawkins said, before adding, “Anything can happen in 2024.”