Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein visited Santa Barbara’s De La Guerra Plaza on Saturday for a morning rally filled with music and environmental activism.
The event began at 9:30 a.m. with a tribal dance by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Stein was then introduced by Ben Manski, a Green Party member since 1990 who was Stein’s campaign manager for her 2012 presidential bid.
Stein began by speaking about the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would run through the land of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota. Contamination from the pipeline, she said, would be environmentally and culturally disastrous for the indigenous people.
She added that a warrant is out for her arrest following her involvement in the protest at Standing Rock, prompting applause from a crowd of approximately 100 people.
She focused mostly on environmental issues and the importance of voting for “the greater good, not the lesser of two evils,” and she frequently alluded to both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.
Stein was well received by the moderately sized audience and several individuals frequently chanted Stein’s name and applauded for her speaking points.
Commenting on Stein’s policy earlier this week in an interview with the Nexus, Green Party Spokesman Mike Feinstein said it would be useless for Californians to vote Democratic in this election, given the state’s history of voting for Democratic leaders.
“It’s a wasted vote if you’re a progressive and you’re voting for Hillary Clinton. You’re not gaining anything by doing that, on a policy basis,” Feinstein said.
Per Hoel, a 32-year-old freelance videographer and local activist who attended the rally, was skeptical of her choice to focus primarily on the environment and other big ticket issues without delving fully into the issues with the two-party system.
“I found the speech kind of underwhelming,” the rally attendee said. “I was expecting a reason to vote for her, not the things that I wanted to hear.”
Mariah Clegg, a first-year sociology graduate student also in attendance at the rally, said she was undecided on whether to vote for the Green Party candidate and expressed that at the moment she did not know what was best for the movement.
“It’s important that progressives don’t split along this line of people who are voting for the lesser of two evils and people who are doing the righteous thing,” Clegg said.
Because Stein could not be on stage with Democrat and Republican presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Sunday, she live-streamed answers for the presidential debate at democracynow.org.