- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

While Republicans and Democrats duke it out, the political process percolates in the alternative realm. The “United We Stand Festival” at the University of Colorado at Boulder on Tuesday is somewhere between presidential debate, cultural event, and music extravaganza.

Three alternative White House hopefuls will be on stage for the two-hour “people’s presidential debate”: Constitution Party nominee Darrell Castle, Rocky De La Fuente, representing the Reform Party and America Delta Party, and Gloria LaRiva, representing the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Veteran actor Ed Asner is the moderator, with Jesse Ventura and former U.S. Attorney Ramsey Clark weighing in live by video. Nine musical acts are also on the program.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, along with Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and Evan McMullin, were all invited to the event, organized by Free & Equal, a nonprofit based in California advocating that “all ballot-qualified candidates” enjoy a fair public forum. None of the five big-name candidates have accepted, though they might twice about it. Colorado is, after all, a battleground state.

“All of those nominees are welcome. And maybe they’ll show up at the last minute, you never know. This is a significant event,” organizer Christina Tobin told The Washington Times, adding that 2,000 free tickets have already been distributed.

“I’ve been watching the rigged political system ever since my own father got knocked off a gubernatorial ballot in 1998 running as a third party candidate. So now I ask, why don’t we have alternative voting methods, and why do we have closed presidential debates?” asked Ms. Tobin, who added, “Our ultimate goal is to actually inspire people to get involved in local elections. Real change starts from the bottom up. The media may think the presidential race is the most important. We disagree.”

The debate itself will be streamed live at FreeandEqual.org at 7 p.m. MT

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