October 4, 2012 by kzhen
While most people watched the 2012 Presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (which obviously only included the Republican and Democratic party), Democracy Now! aired a presidential debate that included two third-party candidates. DN live-streamed the presidential debate and after responses made by Obama and Romney, Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party were allowed to add their own campaign platforms.
I though it was really great that DN did this and allowed the third party candidates to have a voice in this presidential debate. Not only do they get media coverage for their platform, which doesn’t get as much coverage or advertisements because it is a third party, but they also challenged the two main candidates. For example, Obama spoke a lot about his dedication to improving education system in the country and his “Race to the Top” campaign. Romney also mentioned his dedication to education, however it was Jill Stein who pointed out that Obama’s educational plans were only continuing to teach kids “to the test” and did not actually improve the core problems of our public education system today. Another example: Later on in the debate, Rocky Anderson spoke about his efforts to decrease the country’s deficit. He said he was going to cut down on incarceration, which is a topic that neither main candidates brought up, and that he wanted to reform our healthcare system so that we would stop relying on for-profit corporations that end up giving people poor health anyway.
Before the debate, DN had a segment on why the debate only included President Obama and Mitt Romney. According to them, President Obama and Mitt Romney signed a secret contract that negotiated the terms of the presidential debate, one of which is no third-party candidates. And although the Commission on Presidential Debates sounds like a non-partisan governmental agency, it’s actually a private company funded in part by Southwest Airlines.
I’m really glad that DN provided an alternative to the presidential debate that most other people were watching. At a time as crucial as this, where we decide who will be our future leader in this country, it’s really important that we get all access to all parties and look at alternative ways that we can eliminate the deficit, reform on healthcare, without relying on large corporate private companies etc.