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Third Party Presidential Debate

Third Party Presidential Debate

Third Party DebateFew voters realized there was another presidential debate on Tuesday. Even fewer watched it. The biggest “name” there wasn’t a politician, but the moderator, Larry King, who called the candidates “Don Quixotes.”

That was apt. Because the Commission on Presidential Debates excludes parties with less than 15 percent support across the country, the Free and Equal Elections Foundation held an event in Chicago for the also-runnings: Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party and Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party.

Though in a sense these candidates represent the extreme left and the extreme right of the political spectrum, they readily agreed on a number of issues that Democrats and Republicans won’t even broach—a reminder that the left/right construct doesn’t always make sense (or that it’s more circular than linear), and that the establishment parties still overlap a great deal.

Neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney mentions the War on Drugs on the campaign trail. The topic never came up at their debates. No matter who wins, the “war” will almost certainly continue apace.

But Mr. Johnson seemed to find the current system ridiculous. “I’ve smoked marijuana and I’ve drunk alcohol,” he said, not boastfully but as a matter of fact. “I don’t do either anymore. In no category is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol. The drug problem is prohibition related, not use related.”

Ms. Stein made the same point: “the most serious health impact from marijuana is the illegal drug trade.” And Mr. Anderson suggested that drug offenders not convicted of another crime don’t belong in prison. Only Mr. Goode was something of an outlier, arguing against legalization. But he called drug use “a state issue” and said he wanted to cut financing for drug enforcement (on economic grounds.)

Late last year, Congress passed a National Defense Authorization Act that explicitly allowed indefinite military detention without charge or trial. It had bipartisan support and the president signed it into law. It is not an issue in the campaign, and did not come up at the official debates.

Last night, Mr. Anderson called the Act “the very definition of tyranny,” and no one disagreed.

Everyone argued that the Pentagon’s budget is too large. Mr. Goode said “The United States should stop trying to be the overseer of the world. That would save us billions and billions of dollars.” Mr. Johnson said he would cut defense spending by 43 percent and warned that drone strikes kill “a lot of innocent civilians. “ Ms. Stein said she would outlaw drone strikes.

Other topics proved more contentious. Ms. Stein came out in support of free college for all (a GI Bill for everyone) while Mr. Johnson said he’d do away with federal college loans: “Free comes with a cost. Free is spending more money than you take in.” Mr. Johnson said it should be easier to obtain work visas, while Mr. Goode said the U.S. should stop issuing green cards until the unemployment rate falls below 5 percent.

Since the 2000 election, when Ralph Nader helped George W. Bush take Florida (Mr. Nader received almost 100,000 votes in that state), Americans have been especially wary of third-party candidates. Just mentioning Jill Stein will, in some circles, lead to angry arguments about “spoilers.” But there are downsides to excluding fringe candidates from the national conversation. Their relative invisibility means the plausible candidates don’t have to defend the views they hold in common.

If we eliminate the biggest of the two parties I'm with Johnson on this one. Before 9/11/2001 I always voted Libertarian and would again if the opportunity arose to choose between two candidates where I don't feel strongly about each. In my local elections there is quite often only Republican and Libertarian as the two choices and in that case I vote Libertarian still to keep the R's on their toes. I still classify myself as libertarian, but no longer upper case "L" Libertarian when people ask.

I tend to find my interactions with government agencies and such to be the most efficient at the local municipal level and worse and worse as it goes up the food chain to federal. As such I prefer a smaller central government and greater authority given to local and state governments. That as well as a greater emphasis on personal freedoms such as drug prohibition, gay marriage, federalism, etc leans me towards the libertarian party. There are a few varieties but I'll go with Milton Friedman on this one for my ideals "A libertarian wants the smallest, least intrusive government consistent with the maximum freedom for each individual to follow his own ways, his own values, as long as he doesn't interfere with anybody else who's doing the same."

If we take the R/D choices off the ticket what do people support? Why?

The aptly named Justice Party.

What the Democrats should be. I love how a party like this, that would be mainstream and dominant in virtually the rest of the first world, happens to be a fringe player in the States; very telling.

My father is voting Third Party this year. He hopes that Libertarians get the 8% they need for funding. He's getting rather tired of the Democrats and Republicans. I think I am too.

I've actually decided to vote libertarian as well for the same reason. I'm in NY, it's going to Obama no matter what.

Originally Posted by Nexus75 View Post
My father is voting Third Party this year. He hopes that Libertarians get the 8% they need for funding. He's getting rather tired of the Democrats and Republicans. I think I am too.
I think everyone is. That said, I'm not sure which 3rd-party candidate I would vote for. I don't know much about any of them.

I'm possibly voting green party this year. Any quiz I take puts me in line with them, though the Dems are a close second.

EDIT: Here is a quiz I've seen plenty of people taking. It says it doesn't represent any party, but I would love to hear any bias anyone has found in it. Make sure to look into the 'other options' list at times to find a more specific version of your stance on an issue.

It's biased of course, everything is colored by the author to some degree. The extent of the bias is impossible to know without knowing how they weight answers. Ultimately it gave me a pretty good return on my answer but I really had to dig to get the right custom answer.

These are my results. I'm not entirely surprised, to be honest. I knew I was kinda a libertarian/republican mix ever since I really looked at what the different political parties were.

These are mine. Pity I couldn't weight the space exploration one more, nor did they put much of the Republican stuff I object to (such as the abortion bullpucky).

I took it out of sheer curiosity given that I certainly can't vote in the election (what with neither living in nor being a citizen of the US), and was rather disappointed at the absence of certain issues, such as the PAC/SPAC nonsense, and other similar reforms that I would consider crucial to the ongoing health of US democratic activity. (in case it matters, on the questions that were asked, my results were Stein:87, Obama:82, Anderson:73, Romney:11)


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