Americans want open debates

An August Zoby poll shows a significant number of Americans want open presidential debates, including Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and the independent Ralph Nader.

The debates, the first of which is scheduled for Sept. 26, are invitation-only and those invitations come from the “independent” Commission on Presidential Debates.  Selection criteria include:

  1. Evidence of Constitutional Eligibility
  2. Evidence of Ballot Access (In enough states to potentially win 270 electoral votes)
  3. Indicators of Electoral Support (“… requires that the candidate have a level of support of at least 15% (fifteen 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 at the time of the determination.”)

I take issue with everything following number 1.  Indeed, number 2 shouldn’t be necessary if this country had fair and democratic ballot access laws.  Then there’s number 3 — which is the obvious way that the CPD can keep out alternative voices.  It’s actually self-fulfilling.

Independents and candidates representing “third” parties would possibly see an increase in support following a debate.  Dis-allowing a candidate from debating ensures they never reach the 15% support level.  Indeed, it helps maintain the image that those candidates and their platforms cannot be taken seriously and would be “wasted” votes.  With a near-blackout of media coverage on these candidates, many Americans might not even be aware of them when polled.  Allowing them into the nationally televised debates would give them the wide audience enjoyed and “duopolized” by Republicans and Democrats.

The American people deserve to hear all of their ballot choices speak on the issues.  By dis-allowing Ralph Nader, Bob Barr, and other candidates, the CPD does the public a dis-service and actually disenfranchises voters by keeping them ignorant of all possible choices.  American voters should demand that all presidential candidates be invited to the nationally televised debates, something they apparently support from the Zogby numbers.

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~ by Daniel on 17 September, 2008.

11 Responses to “Americans want open debates”

  1. DEAD ON! This is the best post on the debate issue I have seen anywhere. BRILLANT!

    Thanks for this…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

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