Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate for president, but she wasn’t invited to the debate last Tuesday night. In fact, when Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala protested their exclusion from the official debate held at Hofstra University, they were hauled off to jail.
Joining a throng of supporters gathered outside the debate venue to protest the two-party hegemony of the presidential election process, Stein told the crowd, “We are here to bring the courage of those excluded from our politics to this mock debate, this mockery of democracy."
The demonstration was part of a program promoted by the Green Party to “Occupy the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).” The CPD is a joint venture of the two major political parties, created in 1987 to establish the rules for the management of presidential debates.
According to the CPD website:
Those candidates qualify for debate participation who (1) are constitutionally eligible to hold the office of President of the United States; (2) have achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority in the general election; and (3) have demonstrated a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate, as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations' most recent publicly-reported results.
After addressing the rally, Stein and Honkala walked onto the area cordoned off as the official debate venue where they were “stopped by police officers.” In defiance, the Green Party ticket sat down and refused to leave the area.
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Photo: Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, left, and vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala sit at the entrance to Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., Oct. 16, 2012: AP Images