Third-party candidates press on with their own debates
Despite being dismissed by at least one of the country’s two major political parties, third-party presidential candidates engaged in their own debates this week.
Saturday, the National Public Radio program All Things Considered hosted a discussion between Green Party candidate Jill Stein and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who represents the Libertarian Party, a few days after Democracy Now granted Stein and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson the chance to address the same questions Jim Lehrer asked Barack Obama and Mitt Romney did at their own discussion.
Stein and Johnson agreed Saturday that both Obama and Romney would lead the U.S. in the wrong direction; Johnson predicted that no matter which one wins, the country would continue to have “a heightened police state,” while Stein said that if voters go for “either Wall Street-sponsored candidate, [they] are giving them a mandate for four more years of the same.”
On Wednesday, Anderson assailed the national security policies of the Obama administration, which he called an “imperial presidency.”
“Even when there was illegal spying under the Bush administration, what did the next president, President Obama do? He said, ‘Let’s not worry about those who violated federal laws when they spied on American citizens, let’s just move forward and not look back,'” Anderson said. “The Patriot Act needs to be repealed. We need to follow due process. We have a president who is targeting U.S. citizens for assassination. Where is the due process in that or indefinite detention?”
All three candidates criticized both the Republican and Democratic approaches to health care, but while Anderson and Stein, herself a medical doctor, called for a single-payer system covering all American citizens, Johnson said Saturday he would repeal both Obama’s Affordable Care Act and Medicare.
“I would not have insurance to cover myself for ongoing medical need if we had a genuine free-market approach to health care,” he told host Guy Raz. “And by the way, health care in this country is about as far removed from free market as it possibly could be. But I would have insurance to cover myself for catastrophic injury and illness, and I would pay-as-you-go in a system that was absolutely competitive.”
NPR’s debate between Stein and Johnson, aired Saturday, can be heard here. Highlights from Democracy Now’s debate between Stein and Anderson, originally aired Wednesday, can be seen below.