DESPITE THE GLIMPSE of a different kind of politics suggested by the nationwide movement behind Bernie Sanders, we're back to 'politics as usual' with the two presidential candidates of corporate America about to face each other for the first time on prime time television. America - you can have either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Since neither are liked by the American people, it ain't much of a choice.
The real progressive candidate, the Green's Jill Stein, won't feature in the debates. That's because for the nearly 30 years, the Commission on Presidential Debates,a private company controlled by the Republicans and Democrats, has directed the debates and has required candidates to earn a minimum of 15 percent in the polls. It's a steep order for third parties who don't command anything like the financial resources of the Democrats and Republicans.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is not a neutral arbiter. As the The National Review says:
"Don’t expect the Commission on Presidential Debates to be sympathetic to the lack of other voices in their nationally televised debates. The Commission, financed largely by corporations and law firms, was set up in 1987 by the Democratic and Republican parties for the express purpose of seizing control of the debates from the League of Women Voters and making sure the two parties could control their terms. “I think they’re trying to steal the debates from the American voter,” Nancy Neuman, then the league’s president, told reporters at the time."
It also does not help when the corporate media focuses on the candidates it prefers. This has seen both Jill Stein - and the Libertarian's Gary Johnson - effectively ignored. Bernie Sanders also suffered the same fate, receiving vastly less media coverage than both Clinton and Trump.
Jill Stein and the Green Party estimate that Trump has received $4 billion of free media and Clinton $2 billion during the election cycle.
A recent USA Today poll showed that 76 percent want the presidential debates to be opened out to include Jill Stein and the Libertarian Party's Gary Johnson. They want to hear from candidates other than Clinton and Trump.
Says Jill Stein: 'I'm expressing the urgent demand of the American people fro a real democracy. Because the two leading candidates, the establishment candidates, have been the most disliked and distrusted ever in our history, according to polls. And the American people are tired of this rigged political system that’s created a rigged economy.”
The reality is that the presidential debates often establish the political agenda, bringing to the fore the issues that will be debated. But American politics has been crippled by the dominance of the two political wings of corporate America and any movement for real change rests with the development of the third parties. But they must be allow to be heard - and Jill Stein is being a denied that platform by the Commission on Presidential Debates on behalf of its corporate backers.