In the closing months of the 2016 presidential election campaign, the Green Party calls itself the “Real Difference” and has invited supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to consider the party as a political home.
The Green party is based on green principles, those of an ecologically sustainable society, such as environmentalism, non-violence and grassroots democracy. But the party is also fighting for basic access to voters.
“We are fighting to open up the debates, so the American people can know who their choices are,” Jill Stein, one of Green Party’s presidential hopefuls, said in June. Presidential debates are usually between the candidates for the two main parties, the Republicans and Democrats.
Stein also called for state ballots to be opened to all candidates. “We’re calling for a common-sense rule for participation," she said.
As of June 2016, the Greens were on the ballot in 20 states and were working towards getting on the ballot in most others. Requirements for ballot access vary from state to state and can be stringent.
What the Greens stand for
The Greens say they are committed to social justice, renewing a democracy without the support of “big money” corporations, and long-term environmental sustainability programs. The party also supports raising the minimum wage, election reform and addressing climate change.
“The American people are tired of the rigged economy and rigged political system that created it. The presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees are the most disliked and mistrusted of all times,” Stein said.
On foreign policy, the Green Party calls for the end of nuclear weapons by declaring a no-first-strike policy and a commitment that the “U.S. will never threaten or use a nuclear weapon, regardless of size, on a non-nuclear nation.” The party also pledges to support peaceful negotiations in the Middle East.
“We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations,” reads the party's 2014 platform.
On the domestic front, the Greens demand universal health care with a “single-payer national health insurance” that guarantees treatment to all Americans, and support women’s productive rights by urging clinics to be accessible, and offer free contraceptive and abortion consultations.
The Green National Committee approved its party platform in 2014, but an official said it is "being revised." The official platform is will be presented to the party’s presidential candidate during the Greens' national convention set for August 4 to 7 at the University of Houston in Texas.
Besides Stein, William Kreml is also running to become the party's presidential nominee.
Here is where the Green Party stands on other issues:
• Supports electoral reform
• Supports the labeling of foods with genetically modified organisms
• Advocates to eliminate student debt
• Opposes corporate campaign contributions
• Believes in renewable energy sources and the use of low-cost wind and solar power
• Supports the reduction of the military budget
• Encourages programs as an alternative for incarceration
• Supports the release of prisoners who are “too old”
• Opposes the death penalty
• Wants to eliminate gun law loopholes and extend background checks to all private gun sales
• Fully supports the Social Security system
• Believes in the adoption of a living wage and right to organize