Green Party protests debate exclusion

| Breaking News Editor

While much of the media attention on campus has been focused on the presidential candidates from the two major political parties, supporters for third party candidates—such as the Green Party’s Jill Stein and the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson—were vocal with protests, marches and rallies for Sunday’s second presidential debate.

Much of the protests centered around the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has prevented third party candidates from participating in its debates for not reaching a particular threshold of support.

Stein was not present at any of her supporters’ events; managers from her campaign cited health issues.

“Jill [Stein] is unfortunately under the weather and is trying to focus on her health for interjecting herself into the debates with the livestream for democracy now tonight. She is still going to participating in what we call inserting herself into the debates, but unfortunately with the heat, with the way she’s feeling, it’s just better to save it for later,” Ben Conover, Missouri coordinator for Jill Stein’s campaign, said.

Conover noted that the protests were meant to show that people would like to see Stein participate in the debates—many of the rally’s chants centered around this as well.

“If we can’t get our message out, it’s going to be really hard,” Conover said. “But if we got into the third debate or we got more media exposure from Fox, CNN, that would be amazing, and that’s what would really propel us into the national spotlight, and then I think the platform and Jill as a candidate takes us from there.”

Supporters of the Gary Johnson also would like for their candidate to be featured at the next debate.

“We don’t really like the idea of just two polarizing views in the debates. We really are trying to get support out for Gary Johnson because we believe he really think got unfair treatment in the CPD decision,” Jeffrey Bail, a sophomore Johnson supporter, said.

Stein’s campaign manager David Cobb said that the group was planning on multiple rallies, but found the idea of Washington University’s Public Expression Zone to be ridiculous.

“I believe that this notion of a first amendment free speech zone is ridiculous. In fact, I believe that my free speech zone is wherever I happen to be standing,” Cobb said.

Stein will be participating in the debate in her own way by using internet streaming services to “insert” herself into the debate, broadcasting from the local PBS station—Cobb said that 5 million viewers tuned in for last debate, and that they are expecting 15 million for this one.

Johnson supporters also held an event off campus, which they hoped would bring out around 100 people.

“During the debate, I think 3 out of the 5 speakers during the debate are Libertarians. We have our candidate for governor here, she is going to be speaking and the whole crowd is going to be filled with Gary Johnson supporters,” junior and Johnson supporter Andrew Eichen said.

Cobb also said that Stein will be using the same time limits and questions as Clinton and Trump.

“We are working with Democracy Now, free speech TV, link TV and Facebook live, we are going to take that stream, let the moderator speak, let Clinton speak, let Trump speak, interrupt the stream, insert Jill’s answer then pick it back up. So it won’t be exactly live…but it will be a seamless experience,” Cobb said.

Junior CJ Hopkins, who was present at the afternoon rally at the Skinker entrance to Forest Park, said that he is planning to vote for Jill Stein come Nov. 8.

“I refuse to vote for someone who enables murder in every way. The importance of it is, if she gets 5% of the national vote, then she’s open to public funding, the Green Party becomes open which helps build momentum,” Hopkins said.

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