Should the Libertarian & Green candidates be allowed to participate in the Presidential debates?
Some are urging the Commission on Presidential Debates to reconsider their policy of allowing only candidates who have an average of 15% in the 5 national polls into the fall debate. Should they? Using this model, only Clinton & Trump will be allowed to take the stage, excluding Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson whose national polling average is 8.8% and Green Party candidate Jill Stein who is polling at 3.4%.
What if voters want to hear all points of view so they can make an educated decision? In a recent Pew Research Center survey they found that 4 in 10 voters think neither Clinton nor Trump would make a good president... and that most voters are with the two-party system. Another poll by USA Today & Suffolk University found that 54% of voters want 3rd party options. Should our democratic electoral system include all candidates in the debates or not?
As always I turn to Political Analyst Ron Faucheaux for some guidance. He's just had a piece published in the Wall Street Journal about this very topic.
"In this election, you have so much public discontent with the two major candidates... the proposal I made is that you can keep the 15% requirement for the second and third debates, but for the first debate, lower it to three percent, so that you can have both Stein and Johnson in the debate," Faucheaux said. "The idea there is that voters really need the information, and need the chance to see what all the options are. If they don't move up over the course of the campaign, then don't include them later. But at least give them some access to these public debates. Otherwise they have no chance at all of winning the election."
The two third party candidates have about 13-14% combined. If nothing else, shouldn't the commission allow that and say to Congress, there is a building movement out here that doesn't like what you are doing, and these numbers suggest you should be changing?
"That's exactly right. One national poll this year showed that 54% of American voters would like to have third options to look at in elections. Another showed 41% of voters didn't think either of the major party candidates would be a good president. So clearly voters are saying, we want to look at all of the options. It doesn't mean they're going to vote for those other options, they're just saying we want to look at them. If the minor party candidates have a voice, and the voters have a choice, I think it's healthier for our democracy."
To hear the rest of the conversation with Ron, click the link below.
FULL AUDIO: Garland talks third-party candidates with Political Analyst Ron Faucheaux
Photos via USA Today