Jill Stein Becomes the First Presidential Candidate to Court the Harambe Vote

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Harambe is dead (R.I.P.), and no longer running for president, but Jill Stein wants to remind you that she still is.Photo: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden/Facebook

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein released a statement on Sunday marking the three-month anniversary of the controversial death of Harambe, a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla who was shot and killed after a child fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo:

In her statement, Stein goes on to cite the Green Party’s position that “non human primates should have the legal right to live freely or, when necessary, in sanctuaries only for medical rehabilitation or ecological assistance for endangered species.” (She also basically calls for the banning of zoos.)

While there’s no question an environmentalist party would likely hold this position and consider the very famous Harambe a fitting poster-animal, it’s hard to view Stein’s effort as anything other than social-media opportunism. Harambe is not just a gorilla, after all, but has quickly become one of the year’s weirdest and most multifaceted internet memes, and Stein’s presidential campaign hasn’t gotten much traction up until this point.

Then again, at least in Texas, Stein has a reason to pander to Harambe devotees since the dead gorilla was out-polling her there last month: