Alternative Presidential Candidates Debate will be streamed live tonight

According to

An Alternative Presidential Candidates’ Debate will be held in Nashville from 7 to 9 pm (central time) on October 6th, one day prior to the McCain-Obama debate in Nashville. The debate is open to all third party candidates for President in the United States as well as the major party nominees.

The debate is being organized by the Coalition for October Debate Alternatives (CODA), the Nashville Peace Coalition, and Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence. The moderator for the event will be Bruce Barry, a professor at the Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt. The debate will be held in room 4309 Stevenson Center, on the campus of Vanderbilt University; it is free and open to the public and the news media.

The participants who have confirmed are

Brad Lyttle: US Pacifist Party
Charles Jay: Boston Tea Party
Frank McEnulty: New American Independent Party
Brian Moore: Socialist Party USA
Darrell Castle: Constitution Party (VP candidate standing in for Presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin)
Gloria La Riva: Party for Socialism and Liberation

The event will be streamed at and available afterwards at

In a recent release to the press CODA indicated that is was organizing the alternative debate because it believed that voters deserve to hear from all the candidates if they are going to make an informed choice at the ballot box, ” While we want to hear what the major party candidates have to say on issues related to the war, health care, the economy, gas prices, the future direction of the military, civil liberties and the environment, we do not believe that most issues of concern to American voters will be touched by the Democrat-Republican debate. That is why we are organizing an alternative debate so that voters in Nashville, Tennessee and beyond may be informed of all their choices as they participate in America’s electoral process.”

Chris Lugo, one of the organizers, said that the Democratic and Republican candidates have also been invited to the event, but have not indicated an interest in attending, “We believe that voters should make a fully informed choice about who they vote for and we do not believe this is possible if they are only hearing from two candidates. We have invited Barack Obama and John McCain in the interest of fairness, but we are intending to highlight this alternative debate as the most egalitarian possible event by including all the candidates and promoting this as an event to which everyone is invited.”

Another proposed alternative candidates debate, which has invited only those candidates listed on enough state ballots to have a chance of winning, has 8508 people pledged to donate on October 8th, 2008.Their goal is 10,000 people.

18 thoughts on “Alternative Presidential Candidates Debate will be streamed live tonight

  1. JimDavidson

    I think it is great that the stalwart Libertarian Party members have put their presidential nominees on the ballots in states like New Hampshire (not one, but two!) and many others. How excellent.

    The Boston Tea Party is still working the onerous requirements for write-in registration where that is required. Meanwhile, by my count, we currently have access to 141 electoral votes.

    I don’t wish to upset you, but I do want you to come to grips with the possibility that Charles Jay and Bob Barr are each going to win exactly the same number of electoral votes. Zero.

    I know it makes you feel better to sneer at the candidates who aren’t on enough ballots to win the election. But, you know what, being on enough ballots to win the election didn’t actually win the election for Harry Browne in 1996 or 2000, or Michael Badnarik in 2004. So, is it any reason not to run, not being on enough ballots to win?

  2. paulie cannoli Post author

    Not me. Didn’t know about that until you just told me.

    BTW, I just tried it out. I can’t get anything to load in firefox 3 except the front page with the song snippet/video. Clicking on any of the subpages does not do anything.

  3. JimDavidson

    No luck here. Neither the Windoze box running the latest RealPlayer, nor the latest Windoze Media Player can connect to the stream. The Linux box also cannot connect. Can’t seem to get the Mac to boot tonight.

  4. Ross Levin

    Jim – can I ask you what the point of the Boston Tea Party is? I’m not trying to be sarcastic, I’m genuinely interested. Why not just work as a caucus within the Libertarian Party, or within multiple parties?

  5. Thomas L. Knapp


    The Boston Tea Party’s “point” — i.e. purpose — is explained in Article 3 of its bylaws:

    There’s nothing to prevent BTP caucuses from forming in other parties, and as a matter of fact the BTP endorses (in some cases through its national committee, in others through its state affiliates) a bunch of other-party and non-partisan candidates for office in its 2008 voter guide:

    In another article, you posit that the Modern Whig Party might be the fourth largest. This is highly unlikely, as its criterion for “membership” seems to include anyone who requests information by email. Even the BTP requires an affirmation of intention to join the party in order to be counted as a member.

    The LP’s high “membership” point of 33,000 or so was based on people who paid $25 per year in dues. If those who register or vote Libertarian are counted as members, then we’re talking hundreds of thousands in the former case and millions in the latter case.

    Tom Knapp

  6. JimDavidson

    The point for me is to work on gathering the remnant that Albert Jay Nock talked and wrote about. I don’t know who those people are, entirely. I don’t know what they are willing to do, nor what they are doing. I do not know where they are, nor how to find them. And I don’t know what they are going to do about the situations we find ourselves in.

    What I do know is that the remnant who have decency, sincerity, and care about liberty exist. And I know that if I stand for freedom, if I find ways to wave on high the banner of liberty, if I withdraw my support for tyranny and say “no more!” the remnant shall find me.

    I also know that it is not about being a part of a corrupt political system, it is not about being a part of a corrupt political party, it is not about working within the system, it is not about party loyalty or team players or finding new ways to make principled things corrupt, it is about individual sovereignty, and being who I am in the matter.

    The Boston Tea Party is, to me, about stabbing tyrants to death where they stand. It is about saying to the people I meet that I am a free, sovereign, self-responsible individual, who cares deeply about the world around him, and I’m okay. So it is okay to be free, sovereign, self-responsible, individualistic, unique, difficult, obstreperous, ornery, and caring.

    It is not about fitting in, it is not about looking good, and it is certainly not about getting votes. It is about standing for something real, something true, and something pure. The Boston Tea Party is saying “You can have something good, decent, pure, and true. You are good enough, you are brave enough, you are worthy. It does not matter if you are tall or short, old or young, man or woman, child or elderly, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, gay or straight, black, white, brown, red, or yellow, legal or illegal, convicted or un-indicted, Christian, Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Pagan, Wiccan, atheistic, agnostic, deist, or transhuman. You are just fine the way you are, and you are, and you of right ought to be, free, sovereign, and independent. And I, Jim Davidson, as the guy who happens to be chair of the Boston Tea Party will spit in the eye of anyone who says different.”

    That’s what it is about, for me. And your mileage may vary.

  7. Jeremy Young

    Since we’re talking about debates, live video of Barkley’s first debate with Franken and Coleman is available here. I watched the first half last night, and my take is that Barkley thumped them both soundly. Franken, for a guy who makes his living talking in public, is a terrible debater.

  8. steshka

    That debate was good. I hope next time we can have a bigger venue and more people out! The ones I talked to after the debate were really nice. I think I am changing my vote now.

  9. José C

    I don’t wish to upset you, but I do want you to come to grips with the possibility that Charles Jay and Bob Barr are each going to win exactly the same number of electoral votes. Zero.

    But the same number of votes? No. Will it be close? No. A “landslide” for candidates Barr, McKinney, Baldwin, and Nader. Yes. The same number of electoral votes received by Libertarian Presidential candidate Hospers? No.

    It is great we have many choices this election. But in any Presidential debates I would advise Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin, Cynthia McKinney, and Ralph Nader, and so on not to attend a debate which includes candidates that are not on the ballot in enough states that they could theoretically win the Presidency.

    According to Wikipedia there are 38 candidates for President that are on the ballot in at least one state. Do you include all 38 candidates in a debate? According to the FEC there are many more (100+) candidates that are running for President. Do you include them all in a debate (138)?

    If those candidates that do not meet my criteria want to participate in a debate among them that is great. This is after all America. But as to the others, who are on the ballot in enough states that they could theoretically win the Presidency, no.

  10. Ross Levin

    Jim Davidson and Tom Knapp – I was more trying to ask why the BTP is a party. The LP has essentially the same purpose, but it has better ballot access and name recognition. And the Dems and Reps are wide open to anyone who wants to join them. Why form your own party to fight for these ideals of yours? Why not just remain in the available parties?

    What I’m saying is that it seems a bit futile and divisive to form a very small party that has a very similar purpose as the LP. What exactly is the purpose of CREATING the BTP?

  11. JimDavidson

    I didn’t create the Boston Tea Party, Tom did. He made his concerns very clear. He was horrified, as many of us were, when the LP chose to eviscerate its own party platform in 2006. So he started a new party. He was interested in a certain approach to inclusiveness, so he crafted the world’s smallest political platform. He wanted openness, so he made sure all deliberations are public. He wanted to stay away from corruption, so he forbids the national party to raise more than a total of five thousand dollars ever. And he wanted rule of the members, so he organised a rule where any member can poll the members to reconsider any action by the national committee.

    Why did he do those things? Ask him. I think he was unhappy with corruption in the LP. I think he felt that by abandoning its principles in 2006 the LP had invited bad people to take over the party and lead it to ruin.

    Why am I involved? I was a member of the LP. I stopped sending national my dues in 1998. I continued to be involved in several states, and worked for LP activities in North Carolina, Kansas, Texas, Wyoming – and I still do things in many of those places. So why did I leave the LP?

    Over the Perry Willis scandal.

    And why haven’t I come back to the LP? The Shane Cory scandal, the Bob Barr scandals, the irritating treatment of Angela Keaton who ought to be thanked for her live blogging work, repeatedly, by more LP members, on a daily basis.

    The LP is a broken thing. It is not something I can fix. I was involved, I worked on fixing it, and I gave up. I moved on.

    The Boston Tea Party is a bright shiny new thing. It works. I don’t need to fix it. I wanted to be a part of it, so I joined in 2006. I wanted it to keep going, so I agreed to help Tom keep it going earlier this year. Clearly, it was something many people felt was needed after the Barr nomination, and many people joined after the recent LNC meeting.

    If you are not against the formation of new parties, then why not form new parties? If the parties we have are corrupt and don’t work, then where should we go for one that isn’t corrupt and doesn’t work? I think the obvious answer is: someone goes to the drawing board, he designs one, and when it is ready, we make something of it.

    Tom did the design part. I’m doing part of the make something of it bit.

    Now, to the insulting part. The LP does not have essentially the same purpose. The LP may claim to have the same purpose, but I don’t think they do, so I find it a bit rude of you to say so. Rather, I think the purpose of the LP is to swindle money from members, like me back in the day before I wised up, and use it for corrupt behaviors. Use it to make Perry Willis happy. As John Fumalaro points out, Willis wanted to abuse the membership measurement in order to secure more money for Willis. Use it to make Harry Browne the nominee, whether I as a member wanted Harry or Neil Smith or someone else to be nominated.

    This year, as LP co-founder David Nolan points out, the members funds were used to promote Barr as the candidate before the nominating convention. If the LP headquarters staff are going to pick the candidate, why bother having members? Why have the pretense of an election, the sham of a nominating process? Why allow a guy like Andrew Davis to continue getting a paycheck after he released the pro-big-government anti-Ruwart press release, with himself quoted within it?

    These aren’t questions for me to answer. These are questions for you to answer. Obviously, I’ve already walked away from the LP. I’ve weighed it in the balance and found it wanting.

    Do I regret the extra work involved? Not a bit.

    Jose is right to point out that we got started late with Charles Jay nominated in June. We haven’t had hundreds of members for many weeks, and we didn’t have our ballot access process organised. We also didn’t organise it all from above, but we invited people in the several states to form state affiliates if they wanted to and work on ballot access if they wanted to. And we got three states done.

    We’re working on write-in registrations, too, and I think we have Charles up to 141 electoral votes, now. We might get a few more, which would be great.

    But, we obviously have to do a lot of work that the LP has already done. We have to fight the same ballot access laws. We have to plan for future elections. We have to organise state affiliates – though we might get some already formed ones that are tired of the LP as much as we are.

    So, maybe what you are asking is, why bother? Why bother doing all that work over again when we could just close our eyes to the corruption, ignore the scandals, hold our noses, and be part of the LP? And the answer is: because we have principles. I have ethics that prevent me from ignoring corruption and abuse of power.

    That’s why the abuse of power by Tom Stevens went a very short time before it was answered, vehemently. He is no longer vice chair of the Boston Tea Party because he was abusing his power. Tom Knapp and I took actions to get him off the national committee once it became clear that he was willing to abuse his authority, deleting a poll of the members to reconsider an action of the national committee. See, we react to corruption and abuse of power by taking action.

    Which the LNC does not. And the LP members do not. Which means that I can’t be a part of that party. So, if I am going to be a part of a party, it has to be designed better. And attract better people to it.

    Maybe the Boston Tea Party won’t be better for long. Maybe corruption is inevitable, and all things bright and pure are degraded over time. Maybe some sleazy characters are going to get in and change it.

    Thomas Jefferson noted that one revolution cannot fix everything for all time. One political party won’t be the best forever. If the BTP changes beyond recognition, someone will make something better. And this process of competition and renewal is part of the free market. Like all market driven solutions, we compete where appropriate, we cooperate where we see common interest, and we find ways to make a better order out of what is at hand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.