(CNN)Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein missed the cut for the first presidential debate because of low polling, but on Friday she released an op-ed arguing she and fellow third-party candidate Gary Johnson should be included, writing, “Democrats and Republicans should not exclude their competitors.”
In USA Today, Stein urged that all four presidential candidates — herself, Johnson, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — should be on the stage for the debates: “every candidate who would win a majority of the electoral college.” She cited the growing appeal of independent candidates and seized on voters’ displeasure with the major parties’ options in 2016.
“Democrats and Republicans nominated the two most unpopular candidates in history, both parties are shrinking, and the largest group of voters are independents. Four candidates should be included,” she wrote.
Stein also sharply condemned what she called efforts by the parties to “silence their competition.”
“The Democrats and Republicans should not exclude their competitors,” the Green Party candidate wrote. “The debate commission is a deception created by the parties to keep competition out. It undermines democracy for two parties to silence their competition.”
Stein also rebuked Clinton and Trump and sought to cast herself as the only candidate discussing key issues like climate change and college affordability, even arguing that “only I discuss systemic racism.”
Stein missed the cut for the first presidential debate, failing the reach the requisite 15% polling average in surveys approved by the presidential debate commission. At the time of the cut, Stein’s average was 3.2%. Johnson, also excluded, averaged 8.4% support.