Wed 15 Aug 2012
Quotes from the website of the Commission on Presidential Debates:
“The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.”
“The goal of the CPD’s debates is to afford the members of the public an opportunity to sharpen their views, in a focused debate format, of those candidates from among whom the next President and Vice President will be selected.”
“…the CPD’s voter educational activities will be conducted in accordance with all applicable legal requirements, including regulations of the Federal Election Commission that require that debate sponsors extend invitations to debate based on the application of “pre-established, objective” criteria.”
The second criteria for inclusion “…requires that the candidate qualify to have his/her name appear on enough state ballots to have at least a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority in the 2012 general election.”
But these goals are fatally subverted by the third criteria for inclusion in the debate:
“3.INDICATORS OF ELECTORAL SUPPORT”
“The CPD’s third criteria 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.”
In light of the stated goals of the CPD and second criteria for inclusion in the debates, a well-informed electorate must, of necessity, enjoy equal exposure through the CPD debates to all of the candidates who, were this electorate to cumulatively deem them the best qualified candidate on sufficient state ballots, be elected President of the United States.
If the CPD allows other sources of information on viable candidates to afford prospective debate participants an advantage based on a certain level of popularity, it fails to keep it’s intended purpose under it’s own control.
In order for the voter to make a well-informed decision, they must be exposed equally by the CPD to all of the candidates who’s names are on sufficient state ballots, that if enough so-well-informed voters deem them the best candidate, they would win a majority of the popular vote.
Clearly, in order for the CPD to achieve it’s stated purpose, it is absolutely obligatory that it strike it’s third criteria.
All of these four candidates meet any reasonable criteria for inclusion in the debates.
The third criteria is NOT reasonable. It employs the inverted logic that a candidate must have already gained a degree of popular support to which the CPD purports to provide singular opportunity.
And it is that singular opportunity for the candidates that the public so urgently needs.
The mainstream news media, with their heavily vested interest in the status quo, focus their attention almost exclusively on President Obama and Governor Romney.
Constantly insinuating these are the only viable alternatives.
State ballot access laws, having been written by the dominant Republican and Democratic parties, are well-known to be heavily skewed in favor of the established major parties.
Yet, through great effort and dedication, the Green and Libertarian parties have overcome these obstacles.
They have created a reality most dread to the elites of the Republican and Democratic parties—
Were enough voters well-informed and sufficiently defiant and courageous, either Governor Johnson or Dr. Stein might well be elected President of the United States.
Ron Paul supporters are fond of pointing out that the Republican party elite would be much better served by the re-election of President Obama than by the ascent of their favorite.
Can anyone doubt this?
The CPD, if it is sincere in it’s objectives, must strike it’s third criteria.
Such a level playing field, I am confident, would leave objective observers of the debates wondering whether to cast their vote for Stein or Johnson.
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