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The system is rigged. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced today that the only candidates to be invited to the first scheduled debate are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. While claiming to be non-partisan, the CPD has again demonstrated that it is instead bipartisan — a racket designed to protect the interests of the Democratic and Republican parties against the threat of other options.
CPD’s official selection criteria are as follows:
- Candidate is constitutionally eligible to hold the office of President of the United States.
- Candidate has achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority in the general election.
- Candidate has demonstrated a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate, as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recent publicly-reported results. These polls are from ABC-Washington Post; CBS-New York Times; CNN-Opinion Research Corporation; Fox News; and NBC-Wall Street Journal.
Libertarian Gary Johnson has been endorsed by four major newspapers and is on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This means he obviously meets the first two tests but fails to achieve the arbitrary third test. The banning also applies to his running mate Bill Weld who will not be allowed to attend the first vice presidential debate. Johnson expected this result, but remained disappointed:
I would say I am surprised that the CPD has chosen to exclude me from the first debate, but I’m not. After all, the Commission is a private organization created 30 years ago by the Republican and Democratic parties for the clear purpose of taking control of the only nationally-televised presidential debates voters will see. At the time of its creation, the leaders of those two parties made no effort to hide the fact that they didn’t want any third party intrusions into their shows.
The only time a third candidate has been allowed on the stage was 1992, when both parties wanted him on the stage for their own purposes. It should be noted that, when Perot was allowed on the stage, polls showed his support to be in single digits, below where Johnson and Weld are currently polling.
Green Party Candidate Jill Stein is polling at less than half of Johnson’s numbers, but has qualified to appear on 45 state ballots and DC. For his part, upstart Evan McMullin has invited Stein and Johnson to join him for a debate, even if it is unapproved by CPD:
The Commission on Presidential Debates will never let anyone but the two major party nominees into the debate. Why? Because the “Commission” for Presidential Debates isn’t a public commission at all — it’s a corporation owned and operated by the two major parties.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is not an honest broker, and it doesn’t serve the public interest. It exists to protect Hillary and Trump — not to look out for the American people.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) September 16, 2016
What do you think, Ricochetti: Should Johnson, Stein, and/or McMullin be allowed into the official debates or did CPD make the right call?Published in