As she has done in the past, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! offered a real-time alternative to the narrow constraints of a Presidential debate, which constricted the scope of political discourse to that which had been presented by the two major party candidates.
Two third party Presidential candidates, Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, responded to questions posed by Presidential debate moderator Jim Lehrer following the initial responses of President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was invited but declined to take part in the Democracy Now! forum.
Where much of the post-debate analysis focused on the President's failure to forcefully respond to his opponent's deceptive claims or to point to his weaknesses, such as outsourcing in relation to his tenure at Bain Capital and his 47% remark, the scope of the two-party debate was also constricted by the questions posed by moderator Jim Lehrer. As Goodman observed, "some domestic issues went virtually unmentioned…including immigration policy, global warming, gun control, incarceration rates and poverty." One could add to that the disturbing failure to include such issues as Supreme Court appointments, Citizens United, Occupy Wall Street and issues of gender equality and women's health.
But, even within the confines of Lehrer's myopic questions, Stein and Johnson offered responses that suggest how including all Presidential candidates who have qualified to be on the ballot, into a single, extended debate, would serve to enhance the knowledge base of the U.S. electorate...