There's a discussion going on about opening the presidential debates to third party candidates. Currently, there are several efforts to open the presidential debates to third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The Commission on Presidential Debates has set an arbitrary 15% polling level requirement for candidates to be included. This is a pathological symptom of the take-over of the democratic process by the corporate owned mainstream media. The truth is, the current presidential debate system is a fraud in many ways.
Here's some background:
Roots action has its, Roots Action petition calling for opening up the debates, which Jeff Cohen has written about in his article,TV Networks Should Open Up the Presidential Debates. The article reviews the history of the Commission on Presidential debates, citing a comment by the League of Women Voters, which had long played a role in organizing debates.
" In 1988, with the CPD taking control of the debates on behalf of the two major parties, the League of Women Voters announced its withdrawal from any debate sponsorship "because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."
Cohen goes on to say,
"Public pressure and petitioning are needed to get the TV networks to recognize that they are at a crossroads regarding the upcoming debates: Will they act journalistically and independently in the interests of democracy -- or will they continue to be dictated to by a commission whose unabashed mission since 1987 has been to protect a two-party duopoly?"
And Cohen says,
"An obvious option presents itself to the networks: Tell the CPD and major-party campaigns that they no longer control the debate process and that the networks intend to present debates -- controlled by journalists -- that include all four candidates: Clinton, Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. If Trump or Clinton balk, let them know you're happy to leave their podium empty."
Popular Resistance has a Campaign for Open Debates which bases debate inclusion on candidates being on the ballot in enough states to be able, theoretically, to win 270 electoral votes.
Patrick Walker, co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy says, "What I like about the Popular Resistance petition is that it makes being on the ballot in enough states to win the Electoral College the criterion for debate inclusion, thereby avoiding fickle (and manipulable) polling results. What I like about the Roots Action petition is that it rejects appealing to the Commission on Presidential Debates, a quixotic task for starters but one that grants legitimacy to a fraudulent institution that deserves none. Delegitimizing the CPD strikes me as a worthy revolutionary achievement in its own right, one well suited to this anti-establishment election and real political revolution."
Kevin Zeese, co-director, with Margaret Flowers, of Popular Resistance, differentiated their campaign from the Rootsaction and Change.org petitions, saying,
"The Popular Resistance Campaign for Open Debates is not relying on a petition but on street-action, protest and direct action targeted at the commission, its sponsors, media and venues."
There's also a Change.org petition, which calls for the Presidential Debate Commission to open up the debate to Johnson and Stein if they qualify on enough state ballots to theoretically win 270 electoral votes.
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I love the idea of basing inclusion in debates on getting on enough ballots to potentially win 270 electoral votes. That bases the decision on candidates having the resources to build a successful campaign organization. That involves a mix of raising money and building a team of motivated supporters.
The sham model of basing inclusion in debates on polling is exposed as a fraud by the fact that the specified polling organizations the results are to be based upon are not even including the candidates in the polls.
But it's worse than that. In 2006 OpEdNews.com had a rare opportunity to work with a polling organization (Zogby) to create several polls, at a tiny fraction of the normal cost. Here's a link to the series of 18 articles that came out of those polls. It was an amazing learning experience. Polls are created, for pay, or based on funding (university polls) from media organizations. Those organizations have powerful influence on what goes into the polls-- who is polled, what the questions are, how the people polled are profiled. I've seen so many polls that are rigged by the way the questions are asked or how the targeted poll respondents are chosen.