Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein declared the Commission on Presidential Debates, which sets a 15 percent polling threshold for candidates to be included in the three primetime face-offs, to be “illegitimate.”
“It is not a public commission and its name is very deceptive,” Stein told reporters at a press conference today. “And we think that 15 percent is a disservice to the American public, especially at a time when people are saying that they are extremely unhappy with the two choices and with the two political parties in the presidential election.”
“We think that there should be another basis for inclusion, and that is the right of voters to know about who their choices are, and that any candidate who’s on the ballot in enough states that they could numerically win the election, voters have a right to know about those candidates.”
Stein noted that her party mounted a legal challenge against the debate rules “without great expectations that that was going to go anywhere, and it hasn’t, but there’s still the court of public opinion.”
“In the last election my running mate and I were arrested simply for trying to get into the grounds of the college where a debate was being held, and I think there will be — in the future we won’t be going alone,” she said.
Stein argued that too many Americans “don’t have a clue who we are or even that we exist” due in part to extensive coverage of the other candidates. “Donald Trump had received $2 billion worth of free coverage, Hillary Clinton $1 billion, Bernie Sanders about half as much and we had received essentially zip, yet we are still running four to six percent in the polls without any coverage, which is pretty unprecedented in our history,” she said.
She argued that “Trump says terrifying things” while Hillary Clinton “actually has an extremely troubling record,” including appointing “the best friend of fracking” former Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) to her transition team.
Calling the issue of Clinton private email server “sort of the elephant in the room,” Stein asked, “Why did she put national security information and the names of CIA secret agents — why were they put at risk?”
“But this is the really disturbing thing: Where did her personal family financial business end and where did the official business of the state begin? … To my mind, the continuing revelations about the influence of the Clinton campaign donors, the special deals that they got, the lucrative favors, the weapons deals, for example, to Saudi Arabia, who we’re now seeing, you know, all else aside, but just looking at Yemen alone, the incredible war crimes being committed by Saudi Arabia with our weapons, not to mention our assistance, this is really a national scandal.”
In a four-way race in the RealClearPolitics polling average, Stein has 3.4 percent. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has 8.9 percent.
“We could potentially win this race — I’m not holding my breath, but I’m not ruling it out,” Stein said. “This is a crazy election; it’s not over till it’s over.”