I would like to offer my congratulations to you for once again stifling the opportunity of the American people to learn about more than just two candidates. This year I believe is going to be the last year that you’ll have the opportunity to operate in the shadows quietly supporting the Republican and Democratic parties and the two-party system. There is a growing sentiment in the American public that believe that a two-party system no longer represents them completely. The favorability number on Trump and Clinton are clear indications of this sentiment. In addition, the arbitrary rules that you have created to prevent another Ross Perot 1992 incident from happening appears to be in contradiction of your own mission posted on your website.
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. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates. The organization, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) corporation, sponsored all the presidential debates in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. (Source: Commission on Presidential Debates: Our Mission)
According to your own mission, you “ensure that debates … provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.” The requirement that a candidate (not part of the Republicans or Democrats) meets 15% support in allegedly random polls selected by your organization is unfairly biased and restrictive to anyone opposing the two-party system. Two of the five selected national polls were owned by the same company. I wrote about that here. This 15% rule was enacted, I believe, after the 1992 election cycle where Ross Perot had secured 20% of the popular vote that year and threatened the two-party system as an Independent. The 15% rule is too high, and, if a candidate is listed on the ballots for all 50 states, should automatically receive a spot in the debates so voters can be given the best possible information on a candidate that is statistically able to achieve 270 Electoral votes.
The CPD obtains the funds required to produce its debates every four years and to support its ongoing voter education activities from the communities that host the debates and, to a lesser extent, from corporate, foundation and private donors. Source: Commission on Presidential Debates: An Overview
As I’ve not reviewed the tax records for the CPD, I’m only theorizing as to the sources of funds required to produce the debates. It’s stated here that corporate, foundation and private donors provide a smaller portion of the funds required. Corporate donors as in large mainstream media corporations? Foundation donors as in The Clinton Foundation? Private donors as in oligarchs such as Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers? I’ll leave this one for others to think about.
The final sites and dates for the debates are chosen by the CPD board of directors and announced approximately one year in advance; this allows for complete logistical preparation by the CPD and the media, and for the sites to take full advantage of debate-related curricular additions. (Source: Commission on Presidential Debates: An Overview
Although the dates were selected for this year over a year ago, they interestingly fell on dates that traditionally had other major events going on:
- September 26th: Monday Night Football
- October 9th: Sunday Night Football
Why wouldn’t all the debates take place on a Friday or Saturday to maximize complete viewership and accessibility? It just seems odd to me and I’m sure I’m not the only one that has made this complaint. Case in point: Trump Complains About Debates Conflicting with NFL Games, ABCNews
As a registered voter and an American, I’m disappointed with the CPD and their obvious manipulation (with their own rules) to ensure that the people don’t have everything they need to be as informed as possible. I agree that the CPD is required, however it should have membership with people who are not affiliated at all with politics to remain as nonpartisan as possible. I support Gary Johnson’s and Jill Stein’s fight against the Commission on Presidential Debates, however the system had prevailed and blocked them from being able to participate unless they met the 15% polling requirement (which they didn’t).
It would appear an informed electorate is frightening to the rulers of the “used to be” Democracy.