Greens Urge Voters to Protest Debate • 09.19.16
Green Party urges widespread protest by voters against decision by the Commission on Presidential Debates to bar alternative-party nominees
(WASHINGTON, DC) Green Party leaders are urging voters across the U.S. to express their anger in response to an announcement from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) on Friday that alternative-party candidates would be barred from the debates. “Voters deserve the right to know about all the candidates who’ll be on the ballot on Election Day. The CPD has violated that right by rigging the debates. Americans should protest loudly and demand that control over the debates be taken away from the CPD,” said Dr. Cecile Lawrence, co-spokesperson for the Green Party’s National Women Caucus and 2010 candidate for U.S. Senator from New York.
Green presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka have published a call for protest and civil disobedience at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island, the site of the first debate on Monday, September 26. “The debate rules aren’t meant to block ‘unviable’ candidates. They’re designed to stop alternative-party candidates from becoming viable,” said Julia Willebrand, co-spokesperson for the Green Party’s National Women Caucus and Green candidate for State Senate in New York’s District 31. “The CPD is not an impartial nonpartisan group. It’s controlled by Democratic and Republican Party leaders who want to keep the political field limited to their own parties and nominees. That’s a gross conflict of interest. The CPD shouldn’t be running the debates,” said Willebrand.
Greens said that any candidate with ballot lines in enough states to win, if enough voters voted for him or her, should be admitted to the debates. Based on this criterion, Stein and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and their running mates are qualified to participate in the debates. The Green Party will be on the ballot in 44 states and the District of Columbia, with voters in another three states able to write in Green candidates in the 2016 election. This number surpasses the previous Green high point in 2000, when nominee Ralph Nader appeared on the ballot in 43 states and the District.
“We invite all those who supported Bernie Sander’s political revolution during the primaries to join our demand for fair and open debates. Without Stein and Baraka, many ideas expressed by Sanders, like single-payer healthcare and restoring the Glass-Steagall Act, will be censored from the debates. No movement can survive if it participates in the silencing of its own agenda,” said Bahram Zandi, co-chair of the Green Party of the U.S.