It was held in Chicago, and moderated by Christina Tobin, founder and chair of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, and Larry King.
The 2012 Third Party Presidential Debate participants included Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson.
Topics I was happy to see discussed, or at least mentioned:
- The Patriot Act
- National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA)
- specifically section 1021
- Super PACs
- 2010 Citizens United ruling and corporate money in politics
- Civil Liberties
- Climate Change
- The "War on Drugs"
- Higher Education
- cost and access
- The Military
- The Role of the Military Abroad
- Military Drones
- Military Spending
- Balancing the Budget
- Term Limits
- The Federal Reserve
Even if you have never considered voting for a third party candidate, I encourage you to watch the debate.
A Few Notable Debate Quotes:
"What we have seen through the Bush years, and now Obama, has been absolutely subversive and anti-American. There's been no more anti-American act in our history than the NDAA. And in 2009, President Obama asked for the power to indefinitely detain people without charges, without trial, without legal assistance and without the right of habeas corpus. We are on the road to totalitarianism and that's not an exaggeration." - Rocky Anderson
"If we don't adopt term limits, you will always have a Congress that is always worried about the next election instead of what's best for the country," - Virgil Goode
"My concern is that even with term limits, unfortunately corporations and big money can still buy what they want, and are still buying our candidates...I want to pass the amendment that will clarify that money is not speech and corporations are not people." - Jill Stein
"Wasting your vote is voting for somebody you don't believe in. That's wasting your vote." - Gary Johnson
That last quote from Gary Johnson sums up why I think it is important to vote your conscience. When I experienced political exhaustion and took a break from following politics in August, I was frustrated. The break was a good thing, but the frustration came back as I returned to my regular political involvement a few weeks later, and only increased as I watched each presidential debate.
Watching these third party candidates last night reinvigorated me. It was wonderful to see them talk about subjects that have been largely ignored (NDAA, anyone?) by the media and the two main presidential candidates.
I was also happy to see a female candidate being given the same amount of time to speak and the same questions as the male candidates. And unlike a recent New York Senate debate, she was not asked sexist questions like, "Have you read 50 Shades of Grey?" (This is a true story. I'm not messing with you - sexism is still alive.)
If you are happy with one of the two main presidential choices, I encourage you to vote for that candidate. If you are unhappy with the two main presidential choices, and you feel that neither one represents you, but you refuse to vote for a third party candidate who stands for the things that are important to you, you are a part of the problem. If you don't vote for someone because they can't win, then you never allow that person a chance to win.
The important thing is to vote for the candidate who best represents you, and the candidate you would like to see as president.
If you aren't sure where these third party candidates stand, please watch the debate video linked above. You can also check out iSideWith.com, and take the quiz to see which of the six candidates you most line up with on the issues that are important to you.
You get one vote.
Please don't waste it on a candidate you don't really believe in.