AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, when you listen to these candidates giving their responses, third-party candidates, your thoughts?
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, I think you see exactly why it is that those candidates have been excluded. And I think, actually, what you’re doing in having these debates in a way that includes them is really quite innovative and important and really brilliant, because it illustrates two things. Number one is, when you have these candidates on the stage who are credible, who, as George said, represent parties who have ballot access and have been funded and recognized by lots of people, what it does is it illustrates just how mythological this idea is that the Democrats and Republicans are universes apart, that in reality they share all kinds of policy premises and, most importantly, serve exactly the same interests. Only by excluding those candidates and having the two parties focus on the tiny differences that they have and vociferously fight about them can this mythology be maintained that we have massive and real choice in this country.
The other aspect of it is, is that if you have, for example, Gary Johnson, who is the Libertarian Party candidate, and even a couple of other candidates on the right, who oftentimes are far more—far greater advocates of what progressives have long claimed to be their values—antiwar, pro-civil liberties, anti-harsh penal policies, anti-drug war—what then begins to happen, as well, is that the ideological and partisan spectrum begins to blur a great deal. Loyalties break down. Cultural identities can be subverted. And that, more than anything, is what the two parties do not want. They want both of their—their followers to think that the only way that these views can be represented is by clinging to either one of the two political parties. And introducing these third parties into the debate shows that actually the ideological spectrum is far less rigid and linear than these two parties insist on perpetuating. And that’s why they’re joined together at the hip and have a common interest in keeping this process as it is and why this collusion exists so smoothly, as George described, because they both want to keep these candidates out for the same reasons.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Glenn Greenwald, you’ve also talked about the fact that the vast majority of the most consequential issues facing the United States today will not be addressed during this debate process. Can you talk about some of those issues that will be and have been excluded?
GLENN GREENWALD: Oh, yes. I mean, the list of consequential issues that will be completely ignored by these debates because the two parties agree on them is vastly longer than the list of issues that they disagree on and will be talked about. Obviously, if you look at foreign policy, you see President Obama engaging in endless war; attacking various countries with drone, killing innocent people; claiming the right to assassinate American citizens without a whiff of transparency or due process; waging an unprecedented war on whistleblowers in the United States here at home, prosecuting more than all previous presidents combined; the United States’s vast, massive penal state, where we imprison more of our fellow citizens than all other country—than any other country in the world. We have a policy of punishing people for drug usage that is racist in both its application and design, putting huge numbers of minorities into prison for no good reason. There is massive poverty in the United States, a huge and exploding income gap in between the rich and the poor, greatest in many decades. None of these issues will be remotely addressed, because there’s nothing for the two parties to say on them other than the fact that "we agree." And it’s by excluding those issues, some of the most consequential policy debates that the United States faces, including things like union rights and climate change—the list goes on—only by ignoring them can this myth be maintained that the two parties have some vastly different philosophical approach. And it’s the inclusion of third-party candidates, who would insist on talking about those, that would give the lie to this mythology.
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