Jill Stein isn’t on her way to the White House (absent a visitor pass for the normal guest tour) but she still finds ways to get into the news. Sadly, one of the most common tactics she’s using these days is to get into scuffles with the law. We already saw her charged with vandalism in North Dakota and yesterday she had to be escorted off of the Hofstra University campus where she planned to crash the debate. (USA Today)
Four years ago Stein was arrested for disorderly conduct and handcuffed to a chair at the Hofstra University debate. She tried her luck again this year and has already been escorted off campus.
In August, Stein told USA TODAY that she would be back at this year’s first debate and she was “absolutely” ready to be arrested again. Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson didn’t make the polling threshold (15%) in polls to make it on stage…
The tweet scrambled law enforcement officials and they attempted to track down Stein, who is not credentialed for the event.
According to Stein’s campaign she was on her way to do a series of interviews with broadcast outlets when they finally caught up with her.
Stein’s team said she was there “on legitimate pretenses” (which is a rather odd way to phrase it) but if it was all routine and approved, why did she need to try to sneak on the media bus? This is a pattern of bizarre behavior which is nothing new for Stein. But even with that said, the reasons given for kicking her off campus do seem a bit harsh if nothing else. Here’s how Stein described it on Twitter.
CNN explains in more detail precisely why she was asked to leave.
“She was on the college campus, we asked to verify for proper credentials, she did not have them, and she was nicely escorted off the campus,” a police department spokeswoman said.
But Stein had already said on national television that same day that, “she would try to get on the debate stage despite failing to meet the requirements needed to participate.”
I can see two sides to this, but it’s still troubling. Stein has been arrested there before as USA Today noted, and she said on MSNBC that she was going to “try to get on the debate stage.” She also lacked the appropriate credentials, so with all that in mind I suppose you could say that security had grounds to see her off the premises. But at the same time, Stein is the candidate for the Green Party. They may be a bit on the fringe side and obviously aren’t a threat to win any national elections, but they are a legitimate party with a following large enough to keep them on the ballot in most of the nation. In that sense, Stein remains a legitimate player in the election, so why is it so difficult to simply issue her some credentials on the spot and let her do some press hits at a major event? Sure, it’s her responsibility to do the legwork and get the passes, but if that doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world. Can anyone imagine either Trump or Clinton being kept out if there had been some sort of snafu in the paperwork and their credentials were lost?
Yes, Stein is an odd duck and a frequent source of campaign humor around here, but she is a candidate nonetheless. Kicking her off campus hours ahead of the debate before she’d even tried to disrupt anything (assuming she was going to) seems to be a worrying sign of media control in this election.