After October 19th’s third-party debate was canceled due to issues with candidate schedules, several of the third-party candidates came together for a debate of the issues facing Americans during this election season. The debate was completely ignored by major media, as expected, so here is the entire video with a report for our readers who aren’t satisfied with McCain or Obama.
Of the 4 or so third-party candidates running for President only Ralph Nader, running as an independent, and Chuck Baldwin, running under the Constitution Party, participated in the debate.
Here is the entire 90 minute debate video via YouTube which was aired earlier tonight on C-SPAN:
A report from The Nation:
Eight years ago, Sally Soriano helped pull off one of Ralph Nader’s end-of-the-campaign “super rallies” in Seattle. Thousands of people showed up, cheering and chanting as much for Nader’s “politics of joy and justice” as for Eddie Vedder. When she remembers it, Soriano–now Ralph Nader’s campaign manager–grins wider than Barack Obama. “It was unbelievable.”
On Thursday, Soriano and the smallish staff of the Nader/Gonzalez campaign walked into a much smaller event in the basement ballroom of Washington’s Mayflower hotel. (Matt Gonzalez, a former Green Party member of the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, is Nader’s running mate this year.) A tiny but ambitious group called Free and Equal had invited Nader and any other presidential candidate who was on enough state ballots to theoretically win the White House to a “real debate.” Nader and Chuck Baldwin of the far-right Constitution Party signed on; the other candidates passed. The man of the left who was filling arenas eight years ago took a night to face a C-Span 2 camera, several foreign news agencies, and ninety chairs for spectators. What happened between 2000 and now to make Nader’s audience so small?
“It’s the political climate,” Soriano says. “It’s been interesting how some of the people who were in the streets in Seattle, fighting against the WTO can convince themselves to vote for Kerry or Obama. They fall right in line.”
Nader didn’t spend any time actually scrapping with Baldwin, a Baptist minister and radio host who defeated Alan Keyes for his party’s nomination. Hedges’ questions were better framed for the five-time candidate of the left. Asked why Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky had both endorsed Barack Obama, Nader called them misguided. “We know that Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky agree far more with the Nader/Gonzalez ticket, but they want to cast tactical votes.” (Both men live in blue Massachusetts.) “People living in slam-dunk states for McCain or for Obama can vote Nader because it doesn’t affect the least-worst outcome, which would be an Obama victory.”
“Imagine that you’re a first century Christian,” Baldwin said. “Do you vote for Nero or do you vote for Caligula?” The question of a spoiled vote was irrelevant for his voters, anyway. “I don’t believe that John McCain can anymore win this election than Bob Dole could win against bill Clinton. If Christians and evangelicals want to waste a vote, they can vote for McCain.”
Asked about the state-level chances for third parties–one of the ostensible reasons for Nader’s 2000 run–the candidate attacked third-party politicians like Vermont gubernatorial candidate Anthony Pollina, who refused to appear with him. “He didn’t want to alienate the Democrats,” Nader groused. “You have people like Zinn and Chomsky supporting Obama, who is warmonger.” He lit into Obama for only spending twenty-five minutes in the West Bank during his summer visit to the Middle East, and for speaking before AIPAC. “I accuse Obama of anti-Semitism against the Arab people,” said Nader. “They’re both part of the Semitic people. It’s time that people know that.”
For more detail, read the rest of The Nation’s report here.
Sound off, how did you like this debate compared to Obama/McCain?