As Americans get ready or tonight’s presidential debate, there’s one candidate they won’t be seeing on television and may not even have heard of: Jill Stein, a Harvard-trained doctor and Green Party candidate. Stein is promising a Green New Deal that she says could create more than 20 million jobs, 16 million through a government-sponsored program for full employment and millions more due to the increase in demand that would come from the new investments. She wants to expand Medicare coverage for all Americans and sharply reduce military spending, and says her policies would reduce the deficit by boosting tax revenues. She spoke to Reuters recently by telephone. What follows is an abbreviated transcript of the interview.

The Green Party does not appear to have realistic chance to win a major election at the moment. What is the goal of your candidacy?

An election is a wonderful time when people get involved and have a much broader conversation than usual. My hope is that we can drive some really critical solutions that already have majority support from the American public, that we can actually drive them into a political system that has been terribly hijacked and disconnected from the interests of everyday people.

I think it is beginning to spread like a little bit of a wildfire. I’m not holding my breath that we are going to turn the White House into a Green House. Someday that will happen, I’m not sure whether it will happen this time or not.  But regardless I think, if we don’t win the office we still can win the day by driving these critical issues forward and into the public dialogue that are otherwise just going to be completely swept off the table. Really creating jobs. Medicare for all. Public higher education for free. A Moratorium on foreclosures. Bringing home our military.

How difficult would it be to accomplish these things politically given the resistance that, say, the Obama administration faces when it attempts anything that even edges close to the word stimulus. Why do you think the political system continues to support leaders that work in a way that’s so different from the vision that you have?