Presidential Debates Should Invite All Candidates that a Majority Wants Included
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In 2016 3 polls showed that a majority of Americans wanted 2 third party candidates in the presidential debates: USA TODAY/Suffolk University 76%, Morning Consult 52%, Gallup 57%
But, one inclusion criteria used by the Presidential Debate Commission is having at least a 15% average voting support in polls from five organizations, during their most recent polls. They must also be Constitutionally eligible and appear in enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance to win. The candidates from the Libertarian and Green parties met these last two criteria, but not the 15% support.
But the criteria that matters is whether a majority of voters want a candidate on the debate, not what percent would vote for them. The purpose of the debate is to help voters decide who to vote for, not to give more exposure to the top two they currently prefer. And the additional candidates will bring up a wider range of issues for the public to consider.
The Presidential Election Commission, created by the Democrat and Republican party chairs, uses a biased criteria to exclude the third party candidates. Particularly since polls typically do not include third party candidates during the period (after Labor Day) when the candidates for the debates are selected. And it is suspiciously inconsistent that Democrats and Republicans had over ten candidates in their primary debates but they limit the general election debate to only the two from their parties.
Therefore, we insist that the candidate preference criteria for selection to the Presidential Debates should be changed:
Candidates must have a level of support of at least 15% of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination.
Candidates must have over 50% of the national electorate favoring their appearance in the debates, as determined by up to five selected national public opinion polling organizations (identified in the polls by candidate name, party, or as meeting the other two criteria), using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results during the 180 days previous to the time of the determination.
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