The Free and Equal Elections Foundation hosted a third party debate last night in Chicago, featuring presidential nominees from four parties: Jill Stein of the Green Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.
During the event, which was moderated by talk show host Larry King, a number of topics were discussed that were not included in the mainstream presidential debates. The war in Afghanistan, term limits, indefinite detention of citizens under NDAA, the Patriot Act and green cards for foreign visitors were all part of the debate.
“The US must stop trying to be the overseer of the world,” Goode asserted in his noticeable Southern drawl, expressing his views on war. “We cannot be the policemen of the world.”
“[The National Defense Authorization Act] is the very definition of tryanny,” Anderson said. “We are on the road towards totalitarianism and that is not an exaggeration.”
“We need a foreign policy to fight for climate change, not to fight oil wars,” Green Party candidate Stein opined.
“It makes no sense to bring in so many foreign workers when we need jobs for American citizens first,” Goode stated as he discussed green cards, advising that he believes there ought to be a moratorium on the issuance of such cards until American unemployment is reduced to under 5 percent.
And so the night continued, with a variety of opinions being expressed, but with most candidates agreeing with each other.
Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, who received loud cheers from the audience upon his introduction by Larry King, was the most vocal advocate for decriminalizing marijuana.
“I have drank alcohol and I have smoked marijuana,” he said. “I can tell you that in no category is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol, yet we are arresting 1.8 million people a year on drug-related crimes.”
“Marijuana is dangerous on account of being illegal, not illegal on account of being dangerous,” Jill Stein, a medical doctor, added in agreement.
Rocky Anderson agreed as well, but Goode noted that he would not federally end the war on drugs, but believes the matter is an issue for the states.
Anderson also announced that one of his platforms is to work to support homosexuality and transgendered persons.
“Equal rights will never be abridged on the account of gender or sexual orientation,” he said. “It’s time that we have federal protection for members of our LGBT community, and absolutely prohibit any discrimination on the account of gender.”
Anderson stated that he penned an Equal Rights Amendment that he wishes to enact across the country.
“Marriage equality is a constitutional guaranteed right on par with the civil rights of the 60’s,” Johnson agreed.
For the most part, while audience members applauded or cheered speakers, at one point, Virgil Goode was booed as he spoke of his desire to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.
“I am not for funding Planned Parenthood,” he said. “I’d take that to zero.”
Goode did not further explain his views on abortion, but Johnson noted that he is “pro-choice on everything,” from abortion to homosexuality and drug use.
A number of additional third party candidates were not present at the debate, including America’s Party candidate Tom Hoefling.