The Big Runaround: My Personal Experience at the 2016 Presidential Debate at Hofstra - September 26, 2016

Anna Busser wrote this excellent article about excluding third parties in general and Jill Stein in particular. Third party election requirements in the United States are among the harshest in the world. To make matters, worse demonstrators are forced to demonstrate far away from the source of contention where the press consistently ignores them. The press is also complicit in restricting information about candidates to the two party duopoly.

Last Monday morning I and two members of the Warren County Green Party set off to the presidential debates at Hofstra to help Jill Stein demand a right to participate in the debates. In a true democracy all candidates on the ballot have a right to be heard. When the League of Women Voters were in charge this was the case. Now the Republican and Democratic Parties control the debates totally.

We were informed online by the university, the transportation dept and police that we could leave the Highway at exit M4, park in the South Campus and convene with Jill Stein and at least 4 bus loads of supporters, as well as countless people from all over the Northeast coming in cars, at the corner of Uniondale and Hempstead Roads in front of Hofstra University.

When we got to Exit M4, it was closed with police cars and blinking lights “move on please!”, they said. At Exit M5 it was the same story. Going the other way on the Highway both exits were closed. With great difficulty and time we took another exit and wound our way to a parking place at quite a distance from Hofstra.

Hofstra is a huge modern campus divided by a highway and surrounded by a wide road many miles in circumference.

When we approached this ring road it was blocked off completely (no cars) with only one pedestrian access point that we could find. 800 County Police, 400 State Troopers, the entire Hofstra University Security Force and countless Secret Agents had the place in total lock down. At least one helicopter flew above the area and a rear end shaped balloon (that the police called “eye in the sky”) was monitoring every person below with observation cameras. The one access point to the ring road led to a TSA Airport style security area.

Finally arriving at the designated corner there was no Jill and no busloads of people – only a motley crew of Greens like us, an Assange look-alike, a Debate Fraud Frog, a polar bear bearing the words “who will save me?” and a girl wearing a mask that said “reinstate the League of Women Voters” and ALL the media. It turned out that Jill had been escorted away from Hofstra and her buses were trying to find a place to park. The media, including El Jazeera English, Info Wars and many other alternative media people started interviewing the few of us (I talked to at least five journalists). All this was at what I call the Green Corner.

Very soon other people started arriving, blurring our little demonstration. At first I did not understand what was going on. Three groups converged on our corner. The first was men dressed in blue t-shirts “Hard Hats for Hillary”, the second women in pink shirts “Planned Parenthood” for Hillary and the third in red and black shirts “Black Lives Matter” for Hillary. Many of them seemed to know each other. It seemed strange that they had had no trouble arriving and meeting, marching and chanting with rehearsed and military precision. Of course THEY grabbed all the media attention from then on and of course appeared all over the internet as “THE Demonstration”

We in the meantime were trying to find Jill and the bus people. We found out that they were straight across the campus (only minutes away) HOWEVER, the police would not let us cross Hofstra to reach her. They sent us the long way around the ring road and through residential areas. As we went with our signs, chanting “Let Jill Debate” and other slogans, the people, mostly Hispanic and Black families, came out on their front lawns cheering us on or just watching. We began picking up stragglers until we were several hundred strong. At one point, at an intersection, the police cut our group in half and sent the other half I don’t know where. By the time we approached where Jill had been talking to the bus loads of people, many of them had been arrested, including the US Senatorial Candidate for New York, Robin Laverne Wilson, and the rest came walking towards us to get back on the buses which had to leave at 8:30. So there we were, standing in the dark by this time, wondering what to do. We ended up walking the rest of the way around the campus and congregating near our starting place until the lights went out at 10:30 sharp – the end of the debate. Of course we were not let in and had no way of hearing what was going on.

It was a perfect lesson in “Divide and Conquer” - “The Great Run Around”. We will not forget. We will tell those who will listen. THIS is what is happening to our country. If we vote for one of the Republocrats this will continue. AMERICA, what are you going to choose?



1-Election Reform Is Needed 

2-The Powerless Press 

3-The Illusion of Democracy 

4-The Great Debate That Never Was

5-Hundreds of Cops Divert and Foil Thousands of Protesters Outside NY Presidential Debate

6-Debate Moderator Lester Holt Asks Zero Questions About Poverty, Abortion, Climate Change





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commented 2016-10-03 15:41:55 -0400 · Flag
Sondra Miller is exactly right on the way forward. We should not underestimate the difficulty of starting or electing a third party, but the easiest way forward where you can get the most bang for your buck (ROI on effort and money) is in a Congressional District for the US House of Representatives.
commented 2016-10-02 11:32:02 -0400 · Flag
I had just read a recent article in Slate magazine about the Ralph Nader campaign when Ed’s posting of this campaign essay came over.

My first thought was, what was the Return On the Investment? Every investor estimates the ROI before the investment and calculates it after. I believe there is some value in all political actions. However, if the same time, effort and money was spent in one Congressional District we might have one new progressive in Congress right now. Repeat this every election and we will have a brand new progressive Congress.

I must add a disclaimer that my statement has nothing to do with the new national organization called “Brand New Congress” who is somehow trying to recruit and support Congressional candidates in all Districts all at once on a national scale. All Congressional Districts are unique, local and personal and require attention to detail that comes from the inside out, not the outside in. Thinking national instead of local may be the flaw in third Party strategy.