RT | There’s a blackout by the mainstream media and the US political elite on coverage of third parties, but RT covered and broadcast this year’s third-party presidential debate, hosted by Larry King and featuring a panel including our own Thom Hartmann.
On Tuesday night, RT was one of only a handful of media outlets to broadcast the debate, moderated by award-winning broadcast journalist Larry King. Organized by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, candidates from the Constitution, Green, Justice and Libertarian parties sounded off on the issues facing American voters, without having to worry about towing party lines for the Democrats or Republicans.
The third-party candidates’ debate statements, diverse as they were, were a change of pace for the growing number of Americans who see little substantive difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Though they often disagreed, there was near unanimity on one general concept: The Democratic and Republican parties represent corporate interests, not the average American.
Speaking to RT, Free and Equal Elections Foundation founder Christina Tobin said, “We’re going to shift the power back to the people, back to the origins of the Constitution, which doesn’t even mention parties or corporations.”
Despite having their voices and positions largely shut out of the two-party system, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson plan to continue their campaigns until Election Day. Largely ignored by the mainstream media, the candidates had few opportunities before this debate to air their positions on critical issues, and their visions for America.
At the outset, the four dove into a set of questions submitted through social media – after the debate’s hosts forgot to allow time for opening statements. The debate went smoothly after that, and the audience breaking into applause after each candidate’s answer. On one occasion, an answer was even met with boos – hardly the stuff of traditional presidential debates.
Before taking the stage, each candidate was interviewed by a panel that included RT’s Thom Hartmann and the event’s organizers.
If you missed RT’s live coverage, make sure to check out our full video of the debate – and our in-depth breakdown of the four candidates and their positions, below.
Rocky Anderson – Justice Party
Representing the newly-formed Justice Party, Ross Carl Anderson served two terms as the mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah. A former Democrat, Anderson focused on income-related issues facing Americans, specifically mentioning the “corrupting influence of money” in American politics. The result, he said, was that American officials end up representing whoever floats them the most cash – instead of their constituents.
As for the two-party system, Anderson was clear: it’s putting a “stranglehold on our democracy.”
Looking at Anderson’s comments as a whole, you see a candidate fighting for lower-income Americans who often fall victim to both financial interests and law enforcement. In that connection, he was adamant that the US must help the students who face crippling debts and working families who face foreclosure while Wall Street gets an unlimited zero-interest credit line from Washington.
As for domestic policy, Anderson said the US Constitution has been “shredded” at home under George W. Bush and Obama, with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allowing US presidents to “round up” anyone they want and imprison them for the rest of their lives – without trial or even a charge.
Anderson insisted on the right to education for all Americans, saying “we cannot afford not to provide” the higher learning that leads to “equality of opportunity.” While Washington pushes austerity, he said, Americans must demand prosperity, getting behind the workers and students he says will build the country’s future.
The War on Drugs was a hot topic at the debate. Anderson was clear that he sees it as a waste of national money, and a “source of unbelievable human tragedy.” He noted examples of Americans who will sit in prison for decades simply for selling marijuana, which he said should be legalized. He used the example of alcohol, which was formerly under prohibition, and said drugs should be issues for education and health issues – not law enforcement.
Anderson continued that the US has more people in prison on drug charges that Western Europe has in their prisons on all offenses combined. If elected president, he said, he would immediately pardon anyone in jail on a drug offense that did not include any other charge.
When it came to foreign policy, Anderson told the audience that under both George W. Bush and Obama, the US has engaged in foreign wars based on a “pack of lies.” He noted that while the Pentagon warns that climate change is a bigger threat to national security than global terrorism, American elected officials are “sound asleep” asking for money to beef up weapons systems.
He explained to viewers his stance on foreign wars in greater detail: that the US should have no wars of aggression, and should only attack another country if American soil has been attacked first. Anderson noted that wars of aggression are illegal under the UN Charter – and that the US has lobbied for the prosecution of foreign leaders who commit the same crimes US officials have committed.