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Addressing the Invisibility of Third Parties

March of 2012 is here at last and while we wait for the crowds to settle in, I would like to thank Firedoglake and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee for organizing our first ever online Skype debate among the major third party candidates.  As your moderator tonight, I would like to go over how this event will work.  As you can see on your screen, all of the candidates will be participating via Skype and the entire event will be liveblogged at as well as other sites.  Thanks to the organizers at Drinking Liberally, the event will be livestreamed to bars and restaurants across the country and you can find the nearest location by entering your zip code in the thirdpartytracker widget at any of the progressive blogs.

Each candidate was asked to complete a questionnaire of the top twenty questions from the progressive community as submitted by commenters at our sister site  The answers from each candidate have been available for the past week at that site.  If you haven’t been to the site yet, I highly recommend it.  There are links to each candidates webpage as well as video interviews posted by the FDL team, analysis of the candidates background and past voting record, and a listing of the party platforms among other information.

The questionnaire answers were evaluated by the Firedoglake debate team and from that information a set of questions for this debate were created.  We hope to elucidate the differences between the candidates tonight and to give you a good sense of where each candidate stands on the progressive issues that you care about.  So, without any further delay lets begin the opening statements …

update–this is not a post suggesting we create a third party.  This is meant to encompass all of the other parties which are not called Democrat or Republican like Independent, Libertarian, Green, etc…  We need to give them a larger role in our elections and the first step is giving them a unified voice.  That unified voice my only be “We are not Republicans or Democrats,” but that should be enough to get people to pay attention in this next election.

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