Flint’s Mott Community College was the venue on Thursday for a broadcast forum of third-party and independent candidates for US president. The Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate, Jerry White, participated, along with seven other candidates, five of whom were independent.
In addition to White, participants included: Robert Dionisio (United Party USA); John Johnson (Independent); Lynn Kahn (Independent); Lloyd Kelso (Independent); Scott Smith (Independent); Emidio Soltysik (Socialist Party USA); and Terry Wheelock (Independent).
The host of the event was Tom Sumner, a local radio and online talk format broadcaster. The three-hour program was called “Off The Beaten Path To The White House.” The full broadcast is available online on the program’s archive.
A panel of area journalists including Rick Pluta from Michigan Public Radio and Bryn Mickle from MLive asked a series of questions to which each candidate responded in turn, given a fixed time period to answer. Candidates were allowed to make opening and closing statements, also within a time limit.
Sumner’s introductory remarks made reference to the hatred felt by the population for Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump: “Rarely in recent history has there been a presidential campaign cycle where dissatisfaction with the nominees of the two dominant political parties has would-be and likely voters looking for more choices.”
During the first round of questioning, Mickle asked, “The Congress has been debating for months about a federal aid package for Flint in the wake of the water crisis. What do you see as the federal role in helping the city?
A total of ten questions were asked to all the candidates. Views on terrorism, gun violence and declining living standards were some of the subjects covered.
White focused his remarks on the growing danger of war and the crisis of the capitalist system. His closing statement is cited here:
“The most critical question in these elections, which is being ignored by the media and both candidates, is the preparation for a massive escalation of military violence in the aftermath of the elections. The Union of Concerned Scientists notes that seven days a week, 365 days a year, the US and China are only one mistake away from a nuclear war. The very fate of humanity is at stake.
“But the biggest danger is that the working class is not aware of how well-advanced these war plans are. We are fighting, the Socialist Equality Party is fighting, to build a mass movement against war, based on the working class—the class that creates collectively all the wealth in society… We are fighting for the working class to take political power in our own hands and reorganize society on the basis of the principle of production for human need and equality.
“Capitalism has failed. Twenty billionaires in America have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 150 million Americans. That has to end. Workers and youth are sick of these wars, sick of inequality, they’re sick of government indifference and government spying and police killing.
Join our campaign, SEP2016.com. Thank you very much.”