Stein announced she is forming an exploratory committee to look into the possibility the 2012 candidate for president will join other 2016 hopefuls. She made the announcement to reporters, activists and supporters Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
In prepared remarks, Stein touch on a number of issues and grassroots movements.
“Workers are fighting for living wages and the right to a union,” she said. “Students are demanding an end to college debt that’s crippled a generation. Young people are leading the courageous Black Lives Matter movement to end police militarization and racist violence.”
— Green Party of LA (@GreenParty_LA) February 6, 2015
Stein won the Green Party nomination in 2012 but was refused access to the “official” presidential debates, which only featured President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
During the campaign, however, she appeared on the Brian Lehrer Show, The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann, al Jazeera English and RT, among other national and local media. She also participated in debates with other “third-party” candidates like Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, and Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party.
In the end, Stein received.36% of the national vote.
Stein said she learned a lot from her 2012 campaign but that the most surprising thing was “that there weren’t really any surprises.” She told Sputnik that she knew the two-party system had a stranglehold on the process, but added that the experience showed her the need for an alternative.
“I came out of 2012 with the realization that there is a rebellion in full swing,” she said. “As a presidential candidate you get to fly all over the nation and touch down in various hotspots. You start to connect the dots between all these students, immigrants and working people who are struggling for wages.”
She noted that the recent civil unrest post-Ferguson has helped propel the issue of racial equality and injustice into the national debate.
The Black Lives Matter movement “really brought the attention of the world to the plight of African-Americans who are victims not only of police violence but also economic violence and even judicial violence,” she said.
She blamed the 2008 economic meltdown and government reaction as being the most harmful in terms of the expanding wealth gap, especially within a racial framework. She pointed to a recent Pew study that showed that, whereas white individuals held ten times the wealth that African-Americans did in 2007, that disparity has widened to 13 times.
While white families have increased their total wealth in the last five years, black and Hispanic families are still losing ground overall.
“It has reached a breaking point,” she told Sputnik.
When added to concerns about global warming, student debt, the militarization of US foreign policy, and other issues, Stein clearly believes that reaching that breaking point means achieving a new critical mass for a 2016 run. Whereas her 2012 campaign was constantly reaching out to community leaders and asking for support, she says the times have changed.
“Now when people hear that we’re running again, they’re reaching out to us,” she said.
Those supporters include labor leaders like Richard Monje of the Chicago and Mid-West Regional Joint Board of Workers Unite, who called on unions to look outside their traditional allies for partnerships.
“As long as the Union movement allies itself with the Democratic Party only, the power of workers in general, and Unions specifically, will continue to decline,” he said.
Another reason Stein believes this year may be different: the most probable contenders for the Democratic and Republican nominations are familiar names.
“It's looking like a race of the Democratic and Republican aristocracy,” Stein said. “it's going to be Clinton-Bush. What a beautiful statement of hope and change. It’s more of the same of what’s killing our climate, our economy, world peace and our democracy.”