It has recently been reported that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have failed to make the cut for the presidential debates. To many of their supporters, this has been harsh news. With the unfavorability ratings of the two major party candidates at an historic high, this seemed to be the year of the third party.
But I have to ask the question. Why is everyone so shocked?
Everyone who even moderately follows what goes on in the political realm knows that the Republicans and Democrats are corrupt, and that the presidential debates are one big charade designed to keep them in power. I could’ve told you that this would happen. However, there is a solution that people need to start considering. And that is competition!
As libertarians, we talk a lot about how competition is for the benefit of all, and that it increases quality and drives down cost. In this day and age it has become so much easier, not only for entrepreneurs, but for alternative political candidates, because of the internet. It allows for them to reach millions of people with just a click of a button. Even running ads online is incredibly cheaper than on television, and most people don’t watch T.V. anymore. You no longer need a billion dollars and the right connections to run a successful campaign, and you don’t need the main stage presidential debates either.
Now that third parties are beginning to get more recognition and support, they hold political power that I’m not sure they realize they have. It is in the best interests of The Libertarian Party, The Green Party, The Constitution Party and any other third party, to form their own alternative debate commission, in which they have debates hosted by major networks to promote voices outside of the two party system.
It would work.
The public is craving something different, and the major networks love anything that would give them ratings. Looking at the results of the Libertarian and Green Party town halls, third party politics is a gold mine. But even if the major networks don’t pick up on it right away, they could turn to alternative media such as, OraTV, The Young Turks, RT or Democracy Now to livestream it on YouTube. Give it sometime and eventually old media will catch up.
The best way to take power away from these institutions is to stop giving them power.
If the Commission On Presidential Debates doesn’t want third parties, that’s great! We’ll start our own commission. If major networks don’t want to give us airtime, splendid! We’ll turn to new media. If we don’t have billions of dollars to waste on T.V. ads, fine! We’ll advertise online. This is the kind of attitude we must have, and we must think outside of the box. That along with principled candidates and messaging will force them to conform, or they will crumble.
I personally would love to see a debate between The Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, The Green Party’s Jill Stein, The Constitution Party’s Darrell Castle, and the Independent Evan McMullin. Let’s make it happen!