Did you know there are other Presidential candidates besides President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney? Well, there are several, including Santa Claus (Thomas Patrick Oâ??Connor, who legally changed his name), as a write-in candidate in Nevada.
Last night in Chicago, four of the lesser known third party candidates, Jill Stein (Green Party), Rocky Anderson (Justice Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party), and Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), squared off in a debate that aired on C-SPAN and streamed on-line.
The debate, supported by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, was moderated by former CNN anchor Larry King and the foundation's Christina Tobin.
The goal was to offer the public an opportunity to see the lesser-known candidates and allow them (candidates) to make their cases in a forum that was, according to Tobin, "good and real and honest and open, without debate contracts and private interests."
The four candidates had some agreement on several issues such as ending the war on drugs and reducing military spending. Three of the four said they would legalize marijuana. Goode said he would keep marijuana illegal but would cut spending on drug enforcement as part of his plan to deeply reduce federal spending in his first year in office.
The Christian Science Monitor reported other notable offerings unmentioned by the two major-party candidates included:Stein, a physician, promised a "New Green Deal" of 25 million jobs in fields like sustainable energy and mass transit and bailing out American student loan debt.
Anderson, a former two-time Democratic mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, said the major candidates had all but ignored two significant issues: America's poor, with poverty at its highest level since 1965, and climate change.
Goode, a former six-term congressman from Virginia, argued for a "near-complete moratorium" on new immigration to the US until unemployment fell under 5 percent.
Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, vowed to not bomb Iran and to repeal the Patriot Act.
The "two-party" system will probably be the norm for a while, but there are other options out there. Just in case you didn't know.
For a complete list of 2012 Presidential Candidates click here.
Would you ever consider voting for a 3rd party candidate?