Debate begins at 03:14:30 of video
The “Free and Equal Elections Foundation” is an organization dedicated to the works that give all ballot-qualified local and presidential candidates the opportunity to debate important political issues in public forums. ‘Free and Equal’ invites all 3rd Party Presidential Nominees to debate that have achieved substantial ballot access.
In 2012 four 3rd Party Candidates participated in the debate: Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, Green Party’s Jill Stein, Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode, and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson. Larry King moderated that debate and it received global media coverage according to Free and Equal’s website.
Tonight the organization kicked off its 2016 Debate with Ed Asner moderating, alongside Free and Equal’s Founder and Chair, Christina Tobin. The top eight candidates in ballot access were invited while only three accepted. Unlike 2012, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein ungratefully passed up the offer. The candidate with the 8th most ballot access, moderate neo-con Evan McMullin, snubbed the event as well.
Accepting the invites, in order from most to least ballot access, were Constitution Party nominee Darrell Castle, Reform Party nominee Roque “Rocky” de la Fuente, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation nominee Gloria la Riva.
Anyone watching the live event would’ve had a tough time determining whether they were watching a Flower Power Hippy Fest, a Poetry Jam, or the worst cable channel on Earth for the first hour. The guest speakers wreaked of marijuana through the computer screen… when the live stream was actually functioning. Surprisingly for those who hung around, however, the debate was actually substantive and refreshing, given the level of maturity displayed in previous debates this year.
The first few questions involved issues such as the TPP, foreign intervention, and the criminal justice system; all of which the three candidates oddly disagreed on very little and Castle light-heartedly joked about not having much to disagree about with his socialist friends. The last few questions involved topics in which the candidates held far more oppositional views, such as the government’s role in education and healthcare. Ed Asner seemingly wanted to debate, himself, at times but managed to refrain.
The moderators and the candidates savored the opportunity to chastise their absent 3rd party counterparts for their priggish dismissal of the debate, especially considering they were shunned by the mainstream debates that brought about the need for Free and Equal’s existence in the first place. Perhaps Jill Stein is not accustomed to having fellow progressives actually running to the left of her, Johnson is only comfortable with having a more libertarian candidate on the stage with him at a libertarian debate, and Evan McMullin would have been exposed for being a moderate in the midst of Darrell Castle. In other words, they likely felt as though their mortality would have been on display on the stage and their façade of nobility revealed as a scam.
At any rate, Darrell Castle and his sane, conservative, small government, liberty loving platform were the oasis in the night’s desert of progressivism. The adult behavior of its participants was a breath of fresh air after having observed the traveling circus of debates starring Donald Trump for the past 26 months – despite the stench of cannabis from the festival’s soi-disant entertainment. Free and Equal is to be commended for their attention to the minor parties in American elections.
by Clint Bishop
Featured image credit: http://www.winetravelmedia.com