Third Parties

Third Party Debate Focuses on Issues, Obama and Romney

After starting off with a question about electoral procedure. Online instant runoff voting by the organizers of the debate will determine which two candidates meet to debate again next week


The debate between third-party candidates on Tuesday night was refreshing, inspiring, and a bit sad. The four candidates — Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, and Jill Stein of the Green Party — were shut out of events run by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which requires candidates to have at least 15 percent of the vote in national polls. Instead, they met in the ballroom of a Chicago hotel for a debate that was moderated by Larry King and only aired online and on C-SPAN. Unlike the carefully orchestrated Obama-Romney debates, the event was comically disorganized at times. The feed started while King was still figuring out which camera he should be looking at, and he accidentally skipped the opening statements, so candidates had to deliver their remarks after answering the first question. On the other hand, the discussion was much more open and unfiltered. Questions were submitted via social media and covered topics that are barely mentioned by major candidates, such as legalizing marijuana and detaining Americans indefinitely in the war on terror. The event was also much different from the major debates in that the candidates focused on explaining their policies rather than attacking each other — though they all had plenty of criticism for Romney and Obama.