Shortly after the Democratic Party primary that put Hilary Clinton as its presidential candidate, many outraged and disenfranchised Bernie Sanders supporters joined the Green Party, finding the Green platform and Green presidential candidate, Jill Stein, best matched their own political ideals. Taking the “Bernie or Bust” movement to heart, many “Berners” left the Democratic Party altogether, registering Green.
Some, like Yahne Ndgo and Ed Higgins, did massive organizing for the Stein campaign. Ndgo, longtime activist, musician and writer, gave a rousing speech at the Green Party National Convention and has been a prominent spokesperson for the Stein campaign. Higgins from Arizona, joined the Greens campaigning for Stein, organized marches and co-founded ElectionJusticeUSA. Carlos Martinez of Texas, got most of his 70,000 Viva Bernie Facebook followers to continue with Stein. Other Sanders supporters not only became Green Party members, but also were inspired to run as Green candidates. Carmen Hulbert and Jabari Brisport both are running for city council in New York City. Kenneth Mejia ran for a seat in California’s 34th Congressional District in a spring 2017 special election.
The Green Party of the United States made efforts to work with Bernie Sanders. Jill Stein even reached out to him after the convention. In a letter welcoming Sanders supporters to the Green Party, James Lane and Margaret Flowers MD, co-chairs of the Green Presidential Nominating Committee, stated: “We want to congratulate you on the work that you have done to support Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president…Senator Sanders made it farther in the Democratic Presidential nomination process, a primary system designed to stop progressives, than any other insurgent candidate ever has in the party…You can try to reform the Democratic Party as others have tried to do for decades through Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, Howard Dean’s Democracy for America and Dennis Kucinich’s Progressive Democrats of America or you can leave it. We invite you to consider the Green Party. The Green Party platform, which has been and continues to be shaped through a grassroots democratic process for twenty years, is in line with the values of the Sanders campaign. In some ways, it goes beyond Sanders’ platform.”
Newly registered Greens tell their journey from backing Sanders to going Green all the way.
Sandy Stubing, GPNY
I have to admit that my way out of the Democratic Party has been somewhat tortured. My parents were Republicans but being a child of the 60’s it didn’t take me long to figure out that the Democratic party was preferable to the R’s. Much later I became very concerned about peak oil and climate change. It was apparent the Dems were paying lip service to voters while courting corporate donors. After reading the Green party platform, it was a no-brainer where I belonged. But then came Howard Dean with his anti-war stand so I went to work on his campaign. In order to vote in the ’04 primary I switched back to being a Democrat. Except for breaking through the race barrier, Obama never excited me much, so I didn’t work on either of his campaigns. However, when Bernie [Sanders] came along, I knew I wanted to work for him. So I stayed put as a Democrat. Even before the WikiLeaks revelations I was aware of some serious unethical behaviors out of the DNC like busing in unregistered caucus voters in Nevada and the stunts Bill Clinton played in Massachusetts. Therefore, I was pretty much resolved to leave the Dem party even before the WikiLeaks revelations. By the time of it came for the general election, I couldn’t stomach another news clip of Hillary Clinton. Jill Stein was so authentic, clear and correct that it was a pleasure to vote Green in the general election.
I hope to stay put now as a Green. Unfortunately, our archaic primary system in New York State leaves out so many people like Independents, Greens and registered WFP. I look forward to furthering the Green party presence in any way I can.
Dawn Lentz, GPDE
In 2016, I stood sentinel in the press box next to secret servicemen and surveyed over a thousand people cheering for a man with wild, silver hair. He said things to the people that no politician in my lifetime has said. This man woke me from political slumber. I worked as a volunteer in Philadelphia for the same man during the DNC. I watched as the election was stolen from him.
My despair was short-lived because I had more than two choices in the election. A lifelong activist with the smile of a beauty queen spoke similar words as Bernie. The bipartisan system is a lie. Bernie Sanders’ loss during the primaries was not only a theft from him, but from every citizen of the USA. The farce of the 2016 election made me realize that Superman is not on the way. No one is coming to save us. We must save ourselves.
The Democrats tell us “All we need to do is defeat the Republicans.” The Republicans aren’t the only evil…. The Democrats are an evil, too. I refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils. Some people tell me that my vote won’t matter if I vote Green. My vote isn’t going to matter if we keep doing things the same way we have always done them. The Green Party embodies everything that I value. It’s a party for the people and of the people.
Ask yourself: “Do I want to be on the right side of history?” I’ve decided that I need to BE the change that I want to see in the world. I’ve always been Green; I just didn’t know it. Bernie Sanders helped me realize what color my blood really is.
Tatianna Moragne, GPNY
When I started looking into the election, Bernie Sanders immediately spoke to me. I’m 22 and I’d never been involved in anything political, but his agenda made me want to get involved. Once he lost the primaries I began looking at 3rd party candidates because I was no fan of Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton. I was introduced to Jill Stein first through a friend. I began doing research on Jill Stein and found that I liked her ideas and agenda even more than Bernie Sanders’. All the while, in my own life, I was trying to create a healthier lifestyle for myself. During the election season, I’d become a pescatarian and started eating more vegetables and exercising. I liked that she valued American families having access to healthy food. I also liked Jill Stein’s agenda for reducing crime and funding inner- city youth programs. I appreciated being able to vote for a candidate that not only cared about human impact on the environment, but was educated on how we could be more efficient when reducing our impact. After I’d practically fallen in love with Jill Stein I learned more about the Green Party and decided the Green Party was the way I should be voting all the time. So, last August I registered as a Green Party voter.
Angelica Duenas, GPCA
After experiencing the 2016 DNC National Convention as a Bernie Sanders delegate, it was beyond clear that the Democratic Party is not progressive – but quite the opposite. During the 2016 Presidential primaries I became familiar with the Green Party platform and was impressed. Not only is it similar to Bernie’s platform, it is even better! More progressive, revolutionary and with a total dedication to world peace and social justice. In the Green Party I found a party that does not take corporate funding. The more familiar I became with the Green Party platform and what they stand for, the more I realized that I have been “Green” all this time. What I found in the Green Party is a party based on values…Imagine that!
I found a party that is welcoming to change and an empowerment of The People. The Green Party has shown me that we don’t have to fight our party before we can fight the injustice and corruption of the system we are currently in. It is a party that speaks truth to power. A party that stands with Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, Flint Michigan, etc.
I am proud to be a part of a party that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. We stand by our principles and do NOT concede or compromise our message, values, or actions.