Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein appeared on the campus of Hofstra University Monday, seeking to bring attention to her candidacy and the exclusion of third party contenders from presidential debates .
According USA Today reporter Eliza Collins, Stein appeared on a press bus that was transporting media members to the debate site in the morning, which alerted Nassau County, N.Y., police of the candidate’s presence.
After conducting a series of interviews with various media outlets, Stein was put into a law enforcement vehicle and escorted from the premises.
— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) September 26, 2016
Dr. Stein later returned to the gates of Hofstra to demonstrate along with “hundreds of supporters”, who also tried to escort the candidate back onto campus — an effort that was ultimately unsuccessful, but stirred enough trouble to gain the attention of authorities.
— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) September 27, 2016
Later in the evening, the Green Party candidate appeared on Periscope answering debate questions in real-time, refuting the responses of major party candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which oversees the current process, is a private, non-profit group created by the Democratic and Republican parties in 1987. Starting in 1976, the League of Women Voters (LWV) organized the debates, but withdrew sponsorship in 1988 after the George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis campaigns colluded with each other and demanded that they be able to select the debate moderator(s), audience members, etc.
In October 1988, the LWV President Nancy M. Neuman issued a statement saying that, “the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”
“It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and honest answers to tough questions,” Neuman’s statement continued. “The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”
In 2012, Stein and then-running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested for blocking traffic while protesting their exclusion from the second Obama-Romney debate at the same Hofstra site.
In a later interview with Democracy Now!, Stein described how she and Ms. Honkala were then taken to “a facility especially created for detaining protesters at the debates. It appeared to be a warehouse which had been specially equipped.” Stein says they were handcuffed to a chair for eight hours and then released to a Secret Service car that was waiting outside the make-shift detention center.
Green and Libertarian Party candidates Stein and Gary Johnson filed an anti-trust lawsuit against CPD in 2015, also claiming First Amendment infringements for excluding them from the debates. U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer dismissed the case in August, ruling that the plaintiffs had no legal standing.
[USA Today] [The Daily Dot] [Photo courtesy commondreams.org]