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Debates, Media, Money, and Green Revolution

by Sanderson Beck

      Given the persistent polls showing that the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidate Donald Trump both have a majority of registered voters with negative views toward them on favorability and trust, the presidential debates in September and October 2016 are likely to be the strongest factor in determining the next President. With the United States and the world facing an unprecedented global crisis of continuing wars, widespread economic injustice with extensive poverty, and global warming, American voters have the right to know more than the mass media have been presenting so far about the four candidates who will be on the ballots in almost every state. The Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and the Green candidate Jill Stein have the right to be heard on major media without commercials because they both will be on the ballots in enough states to win the election. Background on how the presidential debates were taken over by the Democratic and Republican parties from the League of Women Voters and the unfairness of their current rules is well presented by Jeff Cohen in his article “Networks Should Open Up the Presidential Debates.”
      Why do the major networks let the stories about Trump and Clinton dominate their news programs while Johnson and Stein are practically ignored? This has been going on for more than a year, and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders also was neglected by most news programs. Yet networks were willing to televise debates with commercials for a profit, though the upcoming Presidential Debates are to be shown without commercial interruptions. Many people are disgusted by the candidacies of Trump and Clinton as they both strive to destroy each other’s credibility. In the last year or so Trump and Clinton have received media access worth billions of dollars while Johnson and Stein have been almost completely shut out from viewing by the American public. Despite this news blackout they are rising in the polls well above the 3% Bernie Sanders had when he started his presidential campaign. In 1992 Ross Perot was running about 8% just prior to the debates in which he was included. Access to the debates enabled him to get 19% of the vote in the election even though he had no political experience.
      The Libertarian Johnson is raising money from large corporations to pay the media for advertising, but the Green Stein, like Sanders, is refusing to accept large contributions from corporations and the rich. Because Sanders and Stein want to get big money out of political elections, they both threaten the massive profits the major media make from selling advertisements. In this way the rich 1% are dominating and corrupting the American political process which is supposed to be democratic, not plutocratic, which is rule by the wealthy, as it has become.
      The platform of the Green Party for the past twenty years or more has had the best policies to reform a corrupt political system in order to solve the tragic problems of massive violence and militarism, economic injustice, dysfunctional health care, and ecological disasters. As these problems get worse under the current system, people will inevitably come to realize the value of Green solutions. To relieve the festering of these social ills the American people must wake up and demand that candidates like Dr. Stein have a voice that can be heard so that the American people can decide for themselves who has the best ideas. I encourage the Green candidates to debate the Libertarians as soon as possible and in as many ways as they can even if Clinton and Trump refuse to join those debates. We cannot afford to wait for the mass media to propose a way to solve this democratic crisis.
      For those who are concerned that supporting the Green candidate Stein might damage Clinton and thus help Trump to win, please consider the following. No one has to decide who to vote for until that vote is cast. Wise voters will support Stein as much as they can because in the long run American government needs the best policies, not the lesser of two evils which will mean continuing wars. If on the day of voting, polls show that Trump has a chance of winning the election and if Clinton is his closest rival in the state where one is voting, then I can understand a vote for Clinton to defeat Trump. Yet I believe this situation is unlikely because Trump will probably fade. If it does occur, it would only be in a few states. Meanwhile those who supported Sanders should consider joining the Green revolution because those policies are much more likely to save our civilization on this planet.

Copyright © 2016 by Sanderson Beck

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