Candidate Stein: Republican Presidential Spectacle More Debacle than Debate.

Pausing during a campaign swing through Southern California, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein called the recent Republican debate a glaring example of voter manipulation. “The Republican debate provided a glaring example of what’s wrong with U.S. Presidential debates, and shed light on a democracy on life support,” said Stein.

Stein observed, “Let’s be clear. This was a sham debate. With debaters backed by super PACs, or in the case of Donald Trump, super rich themselves, the participants represent a tiny slice of the political spectrum – the billionaire-friendly slice. The audience that provided the appearance of enthusiastic public approval should not be mistaken as representative of the public, given that tickets for the event were not even available to the public. And Republicans from the get go account for a small and shrinking portion of the American electorate, registering 21% in a recent Wall Street Journal poll.”

She continued, “People who were dismayed and disgusted at the display of buffoonery and mean-spiritedness can take comfort in the fact that the Republican debate represents a much smaller portion of the electorate than they purport to represent. The staging and tabloid-like media hype should be seen as part of the campaign to make everyday people feel powerless. It’s important not to accept this propaganda at face value, and to redouble our efforts to dismantle oligarchy and build real democracy.”

“The Republican debate provided a three and a half hour extravaganza of shameless self-promotion, greed and fear mongering that characterizes the current political and economic elite. The candidates extolled ideas and values far afield from the experience and struggle of broad sectors of the public. They appeared largely oblivious to the burning issues of economic inequality and insecurity that most Americans are grappling with.”

“Former Governors bragged about balancing budgets (austerity) and tax cuts (for the wealthy). There was not a single mention of the high costs of college, crippling student debt, racism, police violence, the school to prison pipeline, unemployment or temporary jobs that are the bulk of new job creation. And there was no substantive discussion of poverty, school privatization or mass incarceration. Much of the discussion focused on dehumanizing, fear-mongering, anti-immigrant policies that deny the essential role that immigrants are playing and have always played as the backbone of our communities, culture and economy. Instead, several debaters supported a deplorable proposal to create a massive police state to track down undocumented Americans and cruelly rip them from their families and communities and deport them.”

Stein noted, “On the subject of climate change, the Republican candidates showed their ignorance of the science of climate change and the serious threat it poses. They swore their allegiance to the long-disproved idea that moving to clean, renewable energy would somehow hurt the economy. In fact, we have the potential for a Green Jobs bonanza that will save us billions of dollars each year."

“Ironically, the press insisted on trying to pick a winner, as if being the head of such a disreputable gathering was a badge of honor. In fact, the Republican candidates demonstrated convincingly why none of them are qualified to lead the nation."

Stein concluded, "Opening up the presidential debates is not about politics, it’s about the survival of our nation and world. Our future depends on letting the American people know that desperately needed answers to our problems are being kept off the table by the two establishment parties. Our presidential debates shouldn't be an exercise in voter deception. We need to make them a meaningful exercise in open, constructive, empowering dialogue."

Stein and the Green Party launched a petition drive this week to open up the presidential debates in the general election, in conjunction with two lawsuits for this purpose against the Commission on Presidential Debates, the organization run by the Democratic and Republican Parties that controls these debates. Stein is plaintiff in one of these lawsuits, which are also supported by both the Green and Libertarian parties.