Saturday, August 13, 2016

Vote to End Hunger: The Third-Party Candidates

In a post we published this past week, we examined the platforms of the two major political parties and posted videos from four candidates--two Republicans and two Democrats--about their approach to address hunger and poverty. 

We now want to look at the alternatives. In our two-party system, any political party that offers an alternative to the voters is labeled as "third party." Two of those third-party candidates, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party, are likely to appear as blips on the electoral radar screen.  Neither is likely to win and perhaps not even appear on the debates. Since media coverage is centered on their role as "spoilers," we wanted to take a look at what each says about the issues, specifically hunger and poverty.

Gary Johnson (Libertarian)

Since the polls show a higher level of preference for Johnson, let's start with him. There has been no direct statement from the former New Mexico governor on how he would address hunger and poverty. And the issues section on his official website makes no direct mention of  those issues. A Libertarian, by definition, is one who wants a reduced role for the government. (The online news site The Street examines how a Johnson presidency would look). Therefore, the approach of Johnson and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, would be to grow the economy by emphasizing the private sector, which in turn would lead to job creation. Here is what the Jobs section of the Johnson-Weld site says.
"Governors Johnson and Weld believe that we must allow a regulatory and tax environment that incentivizes fairness. Not one that picks winners and losers. The purpose of government regulation is to protect citizens from bad actors and the harm they might do to health, safety, and property. But regulation should not be used to manipulate the economy, to manage private lives and businesses, or to place unnecessary burdens on those who make our economy work."
There is no mention of helping poor countries in the Foreign Policy and National Defense Section of the official website. There is, however, a mention of non-intervention in the affairs of other nations, but that probably deals with military and political actions. The other important issue is immigration.  This vague declaration sums up the Johnson-Weld philosophy: " Solving immigration problems is not as easy as building a wall or simply offering amnesty."

Jill Stein (Green)
Green Party candidate Jill Stein, in contrast to Johnson, offers a very hands-on approach to ending hunger and poverty in our country. Her Pledge to End Hunger in America contains two key points: creation of environmentally related jobs and support for a plan put forth by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in October 2015.

Here's what she says on the first proposal.
The best job creation program is a Green New Deal, an emergency transition to a green economy that meets our urgent needs, ecologically and socially. Not only will it reduce the negative impacts of climate change but it will put tens of millions of Americans to work installing solar panels and wind turbines, creating a healthy sustainable food system, building mass transit and inter-city rail roads, and meeting our needs for housing and social services.
And here is her statement on support for the FRAC plan.
The Food Research Action Center re-released their Action Plan to End Hunger today, outlining 7 key areas where action is needed. The Plan includes strengthening the federal SNAP and TANF programs, including raising SNAP (food stamp) benefits to a more realistic level. Stein said she supported free school lunch and breakfast for all American children, eliminating the stigma that reduces participation especially among older children. Dr. Stein also called for making school meals locally sourced, to help jump start healthy sustainable food systems.
Her platform makes no direct mention of foreign aid, but she talks about enacting a " a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law, and human rights. She also mentions a general proposal to "improve economic and social conditions abroad to reduce the flow of immigrant refugees." For immigrants already in the U.S., she advocates halting deportations for law-abiding immigrants and de-militarizing border crossings throughout North America.

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