Green Party Candidates Arrested for Trying to Participate in the Debate

Politics at Play 13

woman being arrested

Tonight two Green party candidates were arrested for trying to enter the site of the second Presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Shortly before the debate, police arrested Green Party Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, after they tried to enter Hofstra University.

Stein and Honkala actually "crashed the debate party" in protest over the exclusion of all but the two major political parties, the elephants and the asses, from taking part in the debate. And really, who can blame them? Why shouldn't all parties be allowed to take part in one of the biggest political conversations of the year?

If you were wondering how this could happen and why on earth all nominees on the ballot are not included in the debate, so was I. According to The Commission on Presidential Debates, a rule created in 2000 addresses just this.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has hosted the debates since 1988. Conveniently, the Commission on Presidential Debates is a non-profit funded by the two major parties so, in order to prevent chaos, they made a rule that any candidate to be included must be polling at 15% nationally. This is why lesser-known parties are virtually shut out of presidential debates and we never get to know anything about them.

Tonight's arrest wasn't really a big surprise, of course. More a statement of protest than anything else, the arrests came after an announcement by the Green Party that Stein and Honkala would take “Occupy the Commission on Presidential Debates” action on the night of the debate.

Are the Democrats and Republicans afraid of a little healthy competition? Maybe they are afraid the people of the United States would take the other choice if they knew there was one.

I feel like the election is being run the way a mom runs her toddlers; she gives them two choices (both preapproved by her, beforehand) so they don’t veer too far out of the lines. The kids think they have a choice but really, they don't. Government is supposed to be for the people and by the people; if we don't allow the "people" to know all of their choices, how can they make an educated decision?

I say let the Green party and every other party on the ballot who wants to be a part of the debate attend. We need to know all the information to elect the best president for our people and by our people.

What do you think of the Green Party candidates being excluded from the debates? Bullshit? Or is it necessary to maintaining civilization?


Image via thisisbossi/Flickr

2012 election, barack obama, mitt romney, protests

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-Stra... -Strawberry-

They absolutely should have been allowed to attend. I love this article. 

corri... corrinacs

I am totally with you!

nonmember avatar bumbler

I agree. Here in Canada we have many political parties, not only for the Prime Minister (president), but also for the leader of each province (the premier, which I think is like.. governor?). When I lived in the states, I lived in Oregon, and tons of people there support and vote for the green party. I think multiple candidates would really help work some problems out. Everything seems to black and white, right and left in the US....

Desti... DestinyHLewis

So in order to be considered for the Presidential ballot, they instead were so incredibly smart, they were arrested??? How astute of them. ;-) Just the type of people I want on my ballot. I guess we can notch them is with Roseanne. Awesome. :-)

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

I'm with you. In the Irish presidential race, candidates from ALL parties participate. 

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

If they don't set limits we'd have all manner of jokers claiming to be running for president clamoring to be in debates and we wouldn't hear enough from the people who actually matter i.e. the ones with a snowballs chance in hell of winning.

2cent... 2centsCDN

I have never understood how a country with roughly 313 million people can be represented by only 2 parties. The bi-partisan politics of the U.S. are actually hurting your democracy. Its now a choice between multi millionaires that are in the back pocket of major corporations. Good on these women for making a point by trying to be included in the debates

mande... manderspanders

Vote third party... Not because you think they'll win , but because it's the third party gets 5 percent of the vote they'll be eligible for public campaign funds in the next election. the only way to make changes in this country is to get third parties national recognition. I'm in Kansas and the state goes red anyway so I'm not throwing away the vote.

mande... manderspanders

Vote third party... Not because you think they'll win , but because it's the third party gets 5 percent of the vote they'll be eligible for public campaign funds in the next election. the only way to make changes in this country is to get third parties national recognition. I'm in Kansas and the state goes red anyway so I'm not throwing away the vote.

nonmember avatar Christie

"If they don't set limits we'd have all manner of jokers claiming to be running for president clamoring to be in debates and we wouldn't hear enough from the people who actually matter i.e. the ones with a snowballs chance in hell of winning" .... This is the EXACT line the bi-partisans give us to dumb us down and make us not even consider another party other than the "elephants and asses" I am NOT a Green Party or Tea Party supporter/member at all. I just feel like EVERYONE should get a fair shot. There are a lot of wonderful candidates out there that will never get the chance to run because they refuse to conform to the democrat or republican platform. I am glad they stood up for themselves, no matter what is costs them. At least they have backbone and they don't backdown when they are treated unfairly. And BTW there are TONS of limits set on candidates to stop the "jokers" from running but the dems and repubs that run everything refuse to let an honest competition INCLUDING the other parties occur, they run the debates and basically gang-up on the other parties so they only have to compete with each other and no one else gets airtime to campaing fairly. Someone needs to review these so-called limits that are in place and determine without bias if they are fair to all parties or not, and if not, they need to be changed and changed now.

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