Let's face it. Monday night's third presidential debate was a bit of a snooze-fest. Compared to the feisty exchanges in last week’s town hall debate, where Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were allowed to walk around and circle one another like two wolves competing for alpha in the pack, last night’s debate was quiet and tempered.
In otherwords ... boring.
That is not likely to be the case in Tuesday night's presidential debate between the third party candidates. The debate, moderated by Larry King and streamed online, will feature Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson. (Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were invited to attend, but both campaigns declined.)
These candidates do not have to worry about network talking heads tearing apart and nitpicking every word, gesture, and smirk. They won’t lose sleep over whether or not a misspoken phrase will explode into an internet tidal wave, featuring blogs, memes, GIFs and YouTube autotunes. And they won’t be anxious about polls.
They have been ignored by the media and are relatively unknown to the American people, which is a shame because this is likely to be the most open and honest debate you will witness this presidential election season. It represents democracy at its finest — a gathering place where multiple parties, platforms, and positions will be debated with candor.
In a Gallup presidential tracking poll released on October 22, third party candidates combined were polling at 4% among undecided likely voters and among undecided registered voters. To help you get ready, here's a brief rundown of the candidates featured in Tuesday night's debate, which will be streamed live here at PolicyMic.
Selected Issues: Reduce federal spending by more than 43% and balance the budget by cutting Medicare, Medicaid, military, etc.; legalize marijuana; end the war in Afghanistan immediately; cut subsidies to various sectors, including energy, agriculture, etc.; end the Department of Education and allow parents to choose which school their children should attend.
Election Outlook: Johnson is on the ballot in 48 states and could pull votes from both Romney and Obama. Although Republican leaders say Johnson is not a threat, the RNC fought to keep Johnson off the ballot in several states.
Party: Justice Party
Selected Issues: End corporate welfare by implementing campaign finance reform; abolish corporate personhood; end the Bush tax cuts; ban mountaintop removal mining and end enlargements to Keystone Pipeline; create single payer health system.
Election Outlook: Anderson’s position on the issues is likely to disproportionately pull votes from Obama, but not to an impactful degree.
Jill Stein, former gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts
Party: Green Party
Selected Issues: Advocates a “Green Deal” along the lines of FDR’s New Deal solution to the Great Depression by creating renewable energy jobs to address climate change and environmental issues; would fund the plan by reducing U.S. military budget by 30%, ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and increasing taxes on areas such as capital gains, offshore tax havens and multimillion dollar real estate.
Election Outlook: Stein’s policies may pull some votes from Obama. Some argue that Nader’s run on the Green Party platform is what helped Bush win the election in 2000. In 2012, this is unlikely to be the case, given the issues important to this election’s battleground states.
Party: Constitution Party
Selected Issues: Supports balanced budget and ending programs like the National Endowment for the Arts, No Child Left Behind, etc.; supports reducing legal immigration and idea of English as official language; opposes amnesty for illegal aliens and wants stronger border patrol; wants to eliminate the death tax; support the federal Marriage Protection Amendment; advocates term limits for Congress.
Election Outlook: Goode’s strong anti-immigration platform could pull ultra-conservative voters from Romney, which may play a big factor in typical conservative leaning battleground states like Virginia.
PolicyMic will be covering the third party presidential debate tonight live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.