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What Really Happened at Jill Stein’s Green Party “Wrong City” Rally

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

SEPTEMBER 5, 2016

Jill Stein raising her fist at the podium

So the corporate media indulged itself with the idea that Green Party candidate Jill Stein flew to the “wrong city” for a Friday rally at Capital University in central Ohio. Her lateness was in the headline, lead and conclusion of every mainstream article about the September 2 event.

As usual, they ignored the real story.

Jill originally had a speech scheduled in Cincinnati, which was moved, although the tickets weren’t. So she was in Covington, Kentucky about a half-hour before the scheduled noon start of her talk at Capital, where Harvey is in his thirteenth year of teaching (primarily UC200: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity).

No big deal. Jill hopped into a Lyft and headed north. Estimated time of arrival: about 2:30.

Compare this to when Hillary Clinton appeared in Columbus on July 31, 2016 at Ft. Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, arrived two hours late, and a dozen people had fainted in the heat in the meantime. Although the Dispatch reported on it, the article did not emphasize her lateness in the headline or lead. Buried in the middle of the article, it read: “Several in the Ft. Hayes crowd had to be treated by paramedics as they waited on the newly-anointed Democratic nominees, who were about two hours late – in part because they stopped for Grandpa’s Cheese Barn along Interstate 71 near Ashland.”

Meanwhile, Harvey told Jill’s crowd of about 100 (many of them his students) that she was on her way and took orders for pizza. Since the local media craves the details, here they are: seven cheese pies, seven with onions, peppers and mushrooms, and one vegan (for Harvey, Suzanne and two other takers) with tofu and no cheese. (Total price: $220, Harvey’s most memorable campaign donation).

We then opened the mic. Among others, long-time Green Party activist Anita Rios spoke. So did Bob, Ohio Green Party Co-Chair, candidate for Franklin County prosecutor, a professor at Columbus State Community College, and Editor of the Columbus Free Press/www.freepress.org. Bob and Harvey have co-authored seven books on election protection, dating back to the 2004 theft of the presidency by George W. Bush and Karl Rove.

At one o’clock we switched over to Harvey’s iPhone. One of Harvey’s students hooked us up to the PA and we played the Jill Stein campaign theme song, followed by a good long session from the Grateful Dead.

It was a gorgeous Friday afternoon on the large lawn at a lovely liberal arts college. People sat, talked and stretched out. Thanks to the modern miracles of the telephone, texting, email and social media, the crowd grew by half.

A klatch of about a dozen libertarians hovered in the background wearing Gary Johnson t-shirts. We asked them if it was true that Johnson, who advocates legalization of pot, had promised not to smoke it while in the White House. We told them that was a mistake.

When Jill arrived she was greeted by Capital’s much-loved President Beth Paul. Back in 2008, the school hosted an appearance from candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin. George H.W. Bush and other presidents, ex-presidents and candidates—-including Barack Obama—-have appeared here.

When Bob finally introduced her, we had a rested, happy crowd of enthusiastic students, locals and Green Party volunteers. Jill spoke of the Green New Deal and her plan to put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work to create a clean energy economy by 2030. She asked the student crowd how many had taken out student loans and more than half raised their hands. The crowd roared approval when she announced she would cancel all student loan debt, which affects 43 million Americans.

What should have been the lead was Stein’s call to cut the U.S. military spending in half. She pointed out that our nation has 900 military bases all over the world. Other than the U.S., all the other nations on the planet combined have only 30 military bases outside their borders.

We took questions after Jill’s speech, then a group photo, and a long selfie line. A good time was had by all.

By the time Jill hopped in Anita’s car to head to Cleveland for her next gig, this time just a half-hour late, the media had filed its story, but obviously missed an excellent rally.

The media are also misrepresenting Stein’s official ballot status:   A Dispatch article Monday, September 5, said:   “Green Party nominee Jill Stein is on track to make it in at least half [of the state ballots].” At the time the Dispatch published this AP report, Stein was already on the ballot in 41 states and likely to end up on at least 45 states, or 95 percent of the states. Only in South Dakota is she not on the ballot by name or as a write-in, and in only three states is she certified as a write-in only – Indiana, North Carolina and Georgia.