Ajamu Baraka, Jill Stein’s Vice President
In case you haven’t been following the Vice Presidential game, both bipartisan parties and both “third” party spoiler candidates have chosen their presumptive second-in-commands.
Gary Johnson Party was the first to decide upon a Vice Presidential nominee. William Weld, former Governor of Massachusetts and disgruntled Republican, was chosen by the party after Gary Johnson begged for his approval at the Libertarian Convention in Orlando.
Donald Trump followed months later, picking Indiana Governor and raging homophobic Mike Pence in an attempt to unify the base of his party. Trump felt relatively uncomfortable with his pick, and tried to back out of it when it was already too late. His gut feeling was probably for either Christie or Gingrich.
Hillary Clinton decided to play the safe game. She chose Tim Kaine, an establishment white guy who’s got more than enough negative qualities to make me despise her choice. From originally accepting the TPP to pushing for bank deregulation, Kaine is Clinton’s last middle finger to progressives in her party.
Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party nominee, has just now decided upon her Vice Presidential candidate. After being rejected by Nina Turner (who didn’t want to ruin her political career in the inevitable conclusion that Jill Stein doesn’t win the election), Stein turned her attention to Ajamu Baraka.
For those of you who follow my site, you already know my opinion and prediction for third parties this election cycle. If you’re new to the site, you should check out my recent post on Gary Johnson and his speculated impact on the 2016 election. If you don’t have time, I’ll summarize it in two words: fat chance.
Now, I’m going to admit that I didn’t know who Ajamu Baraka was prior to Jill Stein’s announcement. A writer, international activist, and organizer with “commitment to the political revolution”, as Jill Stein described him, has been given the Green Party’s bid for VP.
Ajamu is an “internationally recognized human rights activist” and an excellent geo-political analysist. A founding executive director of the United States Human Rights Network, Baraka has served on various boards for human rights. A member of the Green Shadow Cabinet, Ajamu has dipped his feet into Green Party politics in the past, as well. He’s an editor of the Black Agenda Report and has been on multiple media outlets throughout his life – from CNN to Telemundo.
So, from what I can see, Jill Stein has chosen the best Vice President out of all four candidates. Weld made the Libertarian Party somewhat unsure of the Johnson ticket; Pence is the perfect example of everything wrong with the Republican Party; Kaine was a horrendous choice for Clinton’s Democratic Party; but Jill Stein’s pick of Ajamu Baraka seems relatively stable and interesting.
Now, the Vice President on every ticket is usually supposed to be an attack dog for the President. A VP is supposed to grab votes that the ticket wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Think of Eisenhower/Nixon and Kennedy/Johnson, for example. Nixon’s young age and negativity counterbalanced Eisenhower’s old age and positivity; and Johnson’s respect and popularity in Texas helped Kennedy’s ticket win the election.
Look at the VP candidates this round, though.
William Weld is a decent pick, not really unifying Libertarians but able to draw moderate, disgruntled Republicans away from their party.
Mike Pence may have helped unify the Republican base, but he doesn’t draw a single external vote thanks to his homophobic rhetoric and anti-science speeches.
Tim Kaine won’t help with progressives, but he does bring Virginia (an important swing state) to the Democrat’s side.
What does Ajamu Baraka bring to the Green Party ballot that Stein didn’t really already entertain?