This is probably breaking news to a lot of people: there was a presidential debate on Tuesday night. No, I don’t mean Monday night. That was the presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. I mean Tuesday night’s debate in Chicago among the third-party candidates: Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, and Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party.
And as msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out in Wednesday’s Rewrite segment, the candidates talked a whole lot about things you have never heard President Obama and Mitt Romney discuss, like the war on drugs (three out of four are in favor of marijuana legalization) and a bill signed into law last year allowing for indefinite detention without charge or trial (they were all against that).
O’Donnell explained his own history of supporting third party candidates:
Having spent my lifetime in states irrelevant to the electoral college, I have mostly voted for third party candidates for president, and I was always told I was wasting my vote. When I voted for Democrats for presidents who lost, I was never told I was wasting my vote. I have actually voted for the winner of the presidency exactly once, so please don’t try to tell me that voting for a candidate who loses is wasting a vote in a democracy. If you live in a battleground state, voting for a third party candidate can be a bit dicier.
The Washington Post reports that the Free and Equal Elections Foundation is now planning a second third-party debate for October 30.