The advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is hosting its first ever presidential forum on September 7, which will “focus exclusively on issues the next president will have to confront as Commander-in-Chief,” according to IAVA’s website.
The hour-long event, which will be broadcast on NBC and MSNBC is not a debate, but rather a town hall-style event featuring the two major party candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — who will not be sharing the stage but will instead “take questions on national security, military affairs and veterans issues” from NBC moderators in front of a New York City audience comprised mostly of military veterans.
Notably absent from the forum is the presidential candidate far less likely than Trump or Clinton to create more combat veterans, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, which is almost certainly how the Trump and Clinton campaigns would prefer it.
Including Johnson in the forum would present an undeniable foreign policy alternative to the major party candidates, who at their recent respective political conventions did their best to outdo each other on selling the virtues of how hawkish their administrations would be. Trump and Clinton would be forced to explain to an audience loaded with service-people who have suffered through repeatedly failed military interventions why they — and not the non-interventionist Johnson — truly have their best interests at heart.
A recent unscientific poll of over 3,000 active military members conducted by Doctrine Man found Johnson trouncing the two “serious” candidates, with Johnson polling at 38.7 percent, Trump coming in at 30.9 percent, with Clinton bringing up the rear with 14.1 percent, according to The Hill.
It also appears that the military, much like the rest of the American voting populace, is completely turned off by both major party candidates. A recent Military Times poll of 2,000 active service-people found 61 percent stating they were “dissatisfied or strongly dissatisfied” with the idea of Trump as president. For Clinton, the level of dissatisfaction jumps to 82 percent. That same poll indicated that 13 percent of those polled intended to vote for Johnson in November.
On both Reddit and Twitter, there’s an increasingly vocal push to convince IAVA to invite Johnson to appear at the Commander-in-Chief forum, which because it’s not a debate is not subject to the arbitrary rules of the Commission on Presidential Debates that keep third party candidates polling below 15 percent in five major national polls from appearing on the high profile stage beside the Democrat and Republican.
Via Reason Magazine