Stein, expected to become the partys nominee at its August convention, says she has invited Sanders to collaborate: Everything is on the table
Bernie Sanders has been invited to continue his underdog bid for the White House by the Green partys probable presidential candidate, who has offered to step aside to let him run.
Jill Stein, who is expected to be endorsed at the partys August convention in Houston, told Guardian US that overwhelming numbers of Sanders supporters are flocking to the Greens rather than Hillary Clinton.
Stein insisted that her presidential bid has a viable near term goal of reaching 15% in national polling, which would enable her to stand alongside presumptive nominees Clinton and Donald Trump in televised election debates.
But in a potentially destabilising move for the Democratic party, and an exciting one for Sanders supporters, the Green party candidate said she was willing to stand aside for Sanders.
Ive invited Bernie to sit down explore collaboration everything is on the table, she said. If he saw that you cant have a revolutionary campaign in a counter-revolutionary party, hed be welcomed to the Green party. He could lead the ticket and build a political movement, she said.
Stein said she had made her offer directly to Sanders in an email at the end of the primary season, although she had not received a response. Her surprise intervention comes amid speculation that Sanders will finally draw a line under a bruising Democratic contest by endorsing Clintons presidential bid next week.
If he continues to declare his full faith in the Democratic party, it will leave many of his supporters very disappointed, she said. That political movement is going to go on it isnt going to bury itself in the graveyard alongside Hillary Clinton.
Stein said the Democratic establishment had conducted psychological warfare against Sanders and sabotaged his attempts to gain the partys presidential nomination. Many of his young, progressive supporters are now moving over to the Green party rather than fall in behind Clinton, Stein added.
Im not holding my breath but Im not ruling it out that we can bring out 43 million young people into this election, she said. Its been a wild election; every rule in the playbook has been tossed out. Unfortunately, that has mainly been used to lift up hateful demagogues like Donald Trump, but it can also be done in a way that actually answers peoples needs.
Stein, a former Massachusetts doctor turned environmental activist, is attempting to woo young voters with a promise to make college free and, beyond what Sanders has pledged, to cancel all existing student debt through quantitive easing.
With a more ambitious climate change policy (Stein favors getting to 100% renewable-powered electricity by the middle of the century) and a less interventionist approach to foreign affairs than Clinton, the Greens have also pitched at voters who have been dubbed as being Bernie or bust.
However, Stein still faces an uphill battle to reach the 15% in polling that would give her a spot in the televised debates. She may not even secure the 5% that would give the Green party federal funding in the next election.
Stein, who secured nearly 470,000 votes as the Green party candidate in 2012, is currently polling between 4% and 6%. Almost nine out of 10 voters dont know enough about Stein in order to pass judgment on her leftwing stances, and polling conducted for the Guardian has shown that a large chunk of Sanders base is prepared to back Clinton if, as expected, she is confirmed as the Democratic nominee.
The veteran political scientist Larry Sabato, of the University of Virginias Center for Politics, said he expected most Sanders voters to rally to Clinton.