On Tuesday October 23in Chicago, four people running for president of the United States will debate each other ,and none of them are Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. Larry King will host the debate between Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party. It will be streamed online by Ora TV for free, among other places. The debate is a unique way to see a true clash of beliefs, as well as a chance to hear some policies that would never be mentioned in the political mainstream. Of course, if any of these ideas end up gaining traction, it may not be long before they are incorporated into the political mainstream.
After mounting frustration at not getting a chance to be a part of the debates between the Republican and Democratic candidates and one day after the Green Party candidates were arrested trying to enter a Republican and Democratic debate it is announced that the third party candidates will have a debate of their own. The debate will cover a wide variety of issue foreign and domestic, giving the candidates a chance to air their extremely disparate views.
Broadly speaking there are two parties for the left and the right, though each party has large differences with their fellow left or right leaning comrades. The Libertarian Party and Constitution party are both broadly right leaning though they differ largely with respects to the level of free market and social conservatism. The Green Party and the Justice Party are both left leaning and the differences between the two are less pronounced than those between the Libertarian and Constitution parties. This may be because the Justice Party is an extremely new party having being formed in Missouri in December 2011. Though from the look of it the Justice Party is a somewhat toned down Green Party focusing it's efforts on repealing many of the anti-labor and pro-big business and financial sector laws that have come to pass.
The debate will be a breath of fresh air for voters who are used to seeing two candidates argue over differences that are often mere minutia of detail. The fact that it happens so close to the end of election season is good for the third parties. Many voters are sure to be experiencing election-coverage overdose, and may be looking to entertain the thought of a third party candidate out of annoyance at the other two main candidates if not out of principle. It also represents third parties doing what they do best: playing your own game when the main parties won't let you play in theirs.
The debate will be free, interesting, and fresh. It has the chance to infuse some new ideas into politics and possibly energize a new generation of voters. With the realization that using the internet they can hold their own debate to a mass audience, and not worry about getting support from a major network, we can be sure that this will not be the last debate of this kind. Hopefully next election cycle, instead of hearing complaints about being shut out of politics we hear them taking up the challenge and making their own politics.