Open the Debates!

Millions of Americans have tuned into the Presidential debates this year, and millions more will be tuning in to the Vice Presidential debates tonight. Ideally the debates would provide the American people will be able to take stock of their options, review the candidates, and make an informed decision.

Unfortunately, the current structure of the debates makes this all but impossible.

First and foremost, the debates focus only on two presidential candidates (Although as we’ve argued, when you look at their stances on the issues it’s not even two candidates). Did you know there are over eight candidates running in addition to the two corporate-backed candidates?

Probably not, and who could blame you? There isn’t any media coverage of the non-corporate candidates. Now why would that be?

Starting the late 1980s, the Commission for Presidential Debates was established. This “Commission” is nothing more than privately run corporation, operated by the former heads of the Democratic and Republican Parties. It receives funding from both parties as well as from major corporations, and its task is to systematically exclude from the media any candidate without explict ties to the political and commerical elite—which is to say any candidate who is not a Democrat or a Republican.

Does this seem fair to you? Even if you disagree with the third party candidates, do they not deserve a chance to speak? To address the American people on an equal level as the corporate-sponsored candidates? Can we truly call America a democracy when dissent is deliberately and systematically silenced?

The Commission justifies this policy of exclusion by stating that only candidates with 15% of the vote are allowed into the debates. But this is a self-perpetuating criteria. How can candidates be expected to gain 15% or more when most of the country doesn’t realize they are running?

Here’s the thing: when candidates are allowed to debate, they can and do increase their percentages. More than that, they can actually even win the election. A concrete example: former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. In the primaries, Ventura was polling at around 10%. Because he was allowed to enter the debates, Ventura’s percentage dramatically increased to 27%—a huge percentage in a three way race. Moreover, apathetic voters who would not otherwise have voted went out and voted for Ventura. He won the election. And this is exactly what the Commission on Presidential Debates is afraid of: candidates without ties to the entrenched elite might win the election and enact policies which put the people of America first. So they do everything in their power to prevent such candidates from gaining visibility.

The debates are no longer designed to let you see all of your options. On the contrary, they have been made to eliminate all of the options.

How can you change this? There are several ways.

First, you can email Janet Brown, the Executive Director for the Commission on Presidential Debates. Give her a piece of your mind about the sorry state of democracy in this country, and her corporation’s role in perpetuating it. Her email address is

Second, support Trevor Lyman’s Third Party Debates. Lyman was the genius behind the Ron Paul money-bombs, and he is currently trying to raise enough funds to sponsor a third party debate in New York. Donate to Lyman and watch the Third Party Debates. Incidentally, Congressman Paul has called on his supporters to vote third party this year.

Thirdly, see who’s running for President. Compare the candidates on the issues, weigh them against each other, and make an informed decision. Don’t vote based on who you think will win, vote based on who you want to win. Remember your 9th grade Civics class and vote for the candidate who will do the best job. This, and this alone, is your civic duty.

The following candidates are running for President in 2008:

Ralph Nader/Matt GonzalezIndependent (with endorsements from multiple independent parties)

Cynthia McKinney/Rosa ClementeGreen Party

Bob Barr/Wayne Allyn RootLibertarian Party

Charles Baldwin/Darrell CastleConstitution Party

Gloria La Riva/Eugene PuryearParty for Socialism and Liberation

Brian Moore/Stewart AlexanderSocialist Party (USA)

Alan Keyes/Brian RohrboughAmerica’s Independent Party

Charles Jay/Thomas L. KnappBoston Tea Party

Gene Amondson/Leroy PlettenProhibition Party

And lastly:

Tweedle-Dee Barack Obama/Joe Biden – Republican Democratic Party

Tweedle-Dum John McCain/Sarah Palin Democratic Republican Party

Sorry about the last two; I get them confused.


~ by Kimchi on October 3, 2008.

One Response to “Open the Debates!”

  1. […] my previous post, I have provided links to all third party candidates in 2008. Study their platforms. Compare them on the issues to McCain and […]

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