Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein praised what she called the courage of the Austin Green Party during a rally at Huston-Tillotson University on Monday night, declaring that “Texas is on fire.”
“It is so exciting to see this movement burning across Texas,” said Stein, addressing a crowd of several hundred Texans in a chapel on the university’s campus. “Courage is contagious and Texas has a case of courage.”
Stein’s rally was part of a campaign swing through Texas that began late last week. Earlier on Monday, she met with disability rights activists who are working on get-out-the-vote efforts.
While she praised Texans for their persistence, Stein said Texas also highlights larger issues facing the nation.
“We think that Texas is the place where oil rules and it’s kind of like you’re this oil monarchy right inside of our very own United States,” Stein said. “And you’re sort of the microcosm of all the struggles rolled into one, but even more intense because you’re under this oil monarchy.”
During Stein’s event Monday morning at the Terrazas Branch library on East Cesar Chavez Street, she spoke with members of Rev Up! — Register; Educate; Vote; Use your Power — a national effort that began in Austin to encourage people with disabilities to wield their clout at the ballot box. Stein found an appreciative audience at Monday’s event.
“Diversity is what American exceptionalism is about,” said Stein, calling for a redefinition of the term away from “being a bully or taking away other people’s land or burning fossil fuels.”
Stein’s Austin events marked the end of her campaign’s visit to Texas. She attended events in Houston, San Antonio and El Paso late last week.
Third party candidates are focused on Texas in part because a minor party candidate must secure 5 percent of the vote in at least one statewide race for candidates representing that party to appear on the next general election ballot. This year, every statewide race in Texas has a Democrat and Republican running, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson campaigned in Austin in September, where he called on voters to consider supporting third party candidates rather than choosing between “two evils” — Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. For Stein, this characterization is “pure propaganda.”
“The biggest way to throw away your vote is to vote for more of what’s throwing you under the bus,” Stein told reporters after Monday night’s speech. “The system is quaking in its boots that people should actually find out about us, because the American voter is actually in revolt — they’re just looking for a place to put their vote.”