RT America gives Green, Libertarian candidates a voice with 3rd-party debates
Left versus right. Democrat versus Republican. Liberal versus conservative. American politics appears to be a two-sided affair with no room for other opinions. But RT America refuses to toe the line, hosting two third-party presidential debates.
With Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seemingly locked in a battle to be the most hated presidential candidate in history, and Bernie Sanders fighting the system for the Democratic nomination, many voters are feeling disenfranchised, disenchanted and disaffected – and they are checking out of the political process. Americans may be surprised to know, however, that there are other candidates vying to sit in the White House ‒ but that the so-called “third parties” just don’t have the political clout of the Democrats and the Republicans.
RT America is stepping in to fill the void that the major parties ‒ and the mainstream media ‒ have created this election season. Watching the Hawks co-hosts Tyrel Ventura, Tabetha Wallace and Sean Stone will host two live third-party presidential debates: the Green Party on May 9 and Libertarian Party on May 12.
“In 2016 it’s time the illusion of choice offered by the Democrats, Republicans, and the Washington, DC power brokers must be challenged,” Ventura said. “Thankfully, there is a cable news channel in RT that has the courage to show US citizens and the rest of the world that there are more than just two brands of politics within the United States.”
Green Party candidates Jill Stein, Kent Mesplay and Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza Curry will face off on Monday, while Libertarian Party candidates Darryl W. Perry, Austin Petersen and Marc Allan Feldman will debate next Thursday. Both debates will cover foreign policy, domestic issues, and electoral reform.
“It is all but illegal to participate in US politics outside the twin titanic business parties. A majority of US citizens are disgusted with the status quo and want something new,” Mesplay said. “By nurturing real discussion and debate, RT America reveals an insistent international movement of polite dissent: the Green Party. Such visibility emboldens would-be voters who want a viable ‘third party’ in the United States.”
RT is “breaking the two-party stranglehold on debates and beginning the open discussion the American people are clamoring for,” Stein said in a statement.
She added that she’s excited for the Green Party debate, which she sees as “a step towards real democracy and an inspiration for the millions of Americans who are ready for a new politics that puts people, planet and peace over profit.”
Third parties face an uphill battle on numerous fronts when it comes to gaining national recognition. According to the Green Party, those barriers include “unfair ballot-access rules designed by Democratic and Republican lawmakers to block alternative-party candidates; election coverage by news media that perpetuates the myth that voters have only two choices; exclusion from forums and debates, including the two-candidate charade hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).”
The CPD – a private nonprofit corporation jointly run by Democrats and Republicans – requires that candidates must not only appear on a “sufficient number of state ballots” in order to prove their likelihood of winning the majority vote in the Electoral College, but must also attain “15% of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations” in order to appear on stage in any post-primary presidential debates.
That doesn’t sit well with millions of Americans tired of choosing between the lesser of two evils to run the country. Not only will RT America offer a third way, but it will give viewers a chance to “question more” and ask candidates the hard questions.
“One of the goals of my campaign has been to promote the ideas of liberty as boldly and as often as possible,” Perry said in a statement. “I'd like to thank RT for putting together this debate which will give a platform for the ideas of liberty and self-ownership to be promoted to such a wide audience, and that will also show voters there are alternatives to the two major parties.”
“I'm excited our presidential candidates will get the chance on RT to show the world the Libertarian Party's plans to take over the government, so we can leave everyone alone!” Petersen said in a statement.
While it’s not the first time that the channel has hosted a third-party debate, it will be the first time RT America will moderate party-specific presidential primary debates.
In 2012, RT America, RT.com and RT's YouTube Channel offered a third-party debate between Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson.