Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein was excluded from the third and final presidential debate as a result of the two-party system. She was not prepared to simply roll over and accept a loss, however.
Stein took to Facebook Live and Twitter last Wednesday night to share her thoughts on the matter.
More than 932,000 people viewed her broadcast in support of her alternative viewpoint, with it even being shared over 19,700 times by the time Thursday afternoon hit.
“Thank you so much for tuning in to the real debate,” the Green Party candidate announced on Facebook as she began her live broadcast, contrasting it to what she called the “sham debate” between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that took place at the University of Nevada.
“We are very excited to be able to present to you real answers to the questions after Hillary and Donald continue to duck those questions and mostly hurl mud at each other.”
Stein has always been vocal about her opinions on the two-party system. In an interview back in July, she said, “the two-party system is the worst-case scenario. In my view, the worst horror of all is a political system that tells us we have to choose between two lethal options, and that’s what we have to fight and we shouldn’t be manipulated into thinking it’s one or the other of these villains out there, one or the other evil.”
Rules set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonprofit corporation established by the Democratic and Republican parties that has been paving the way for debates since 1988, have made it possible to keep third-party candidates like Stein and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party out of debates. Current rules call for a third-party nominee to acquire a poll at 15% or higher in an average of five major national election polls.
Many, including Stein, believe this system limits voters’ options.
America is currently the only major developed country to remain limited to two parties. This makes it laughably easy for big corporations to buy out political parties. The fear seems to be that more voices would lead to more complex debates, as well as diversity and options to choose from.
“Forget the lesser evil,” argued Stein. “Stand up and fight for the greater good like our lives depend on it – because they do.”
Stein, along with many others, believes the system is broken and hinders voters from hearing from and considering all of their options, effectively locking out the diversity of voices and views that make America the powerhouse it is today. And a poll published last month by Suffolk University and USA TODAY revealed that an astonishing 76% of American voters would prefer to have more presidential candidates on stage for the debates.
Stein used her Facebook Live stream last Wednesday to host her own debate, answering all of the major questions Clinton and Trump were asked in Nevada. She went on to share her feelings on the two-party system, calling the election a choice between two criminals. Stein said if she were to become president, she would hire Supreme Court justices who would actually “stand up for labor rights, who continue to protect LGBTQ rights, who support immigrant rights, who support women’s rights, especially women’s reproductive rights, and Indigenous Americans’ rights.” She said these justices would “stand up for the rights of people and to understand that corporations are not people” by rivaling Citizens United along with other decisions that have formed “false equivalence between money and speech.”
Stein also shared her stance on things like gun control, calling for background checks and revised gun show rules. She also announced the need to end gun manufacturers’ immunity from prosecution.
Stein also claimed Clinton won’t do enough to improve women’s access to reproductive health care and abortion, and said if she were appointed, she would broaden abortion availability and oppose the Hyde Amendment. She also discussed health care, calling for universal, single-payer health care that would take place through an expanded Medicare program accessible to all U.S. residents.
Regarding Trump’s desire to build a wall as a border from Mexico, Stein said the focus should instead be on extensive reform to U.S. foreign policy. “We don’t need that wall. In fact, we need to stop invading other countries so that we’re not forcing migration of refugees. And in fact, the most important thing we can do to end the immigration crisis is to stop causing it in the first place.”
Stein wrapped up her debate by discussing the national debt, sharing her plans for rebuilding the U.S. economy. She proposed that the United States could both reduce its debt and boost its economic prosperity by halting support for expensive foreign wars, cutting back on tax cuts offered to large corporations and the rich, and ending Wall Street nonintervention:
These wars for oil are not making us safer; they’re making us bankrupt. So we need to cut the bloated and dangerous military, which is something we can do with a weapons embargo, with a freeze on the bank accounts of our allies who are funding the terrorist forces. We can ensure that we can cut the military, enforce a true peace offensive in the Middle East, and put our dollars into true security here building up our economy.