In a predictable decision, the Democratic and Republican Parties have ensured that only their voices will be heard by the American people. How? Through their private corporation named the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). The CPD was created to ensure the debates serve the interests of the two-party system, and it is working precisely as intended.
Despite today’s decision by the Commission, Green Party nominee Jill Stein said she and her running mate Ajamu Baraka intend to go to Hofstra University on the night of September 26th, accompanied by hundreds of supporters who will do everything in their power to uphold the principles of democracy in this election. “We will be at the debate to insist that Americans not only have a right to vote, but we have a right to know who we can vote for,” said Stein.
In response to the decision, Jill Stein urged people to join her at the gates at Hofstra University. She went on to say: “The commission is fooling the voter into thinking the commission is independent and non-partisan. They created an arbitrary 15% polling barrier to stifle competition, and prevent a real debate about the future of this country. That’s two-party tyranny, not democracy.”
The Stein/Baraka campaign considers the 15% polling barrier to be illegitimate, and calls for the debates to be open to candidates who are on ballots in enough states to achieve 270 electoral college votes.
A USA Today poll found that 76% of voters in the United States want a four-candidate debate that includes Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. Green Party Vice presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka added: “This commission is standing in the way of three-quarters of US voters. How can a self-created ‘commission’ representing the two parties stop the public from hearing from all four candidates? The two pasrties are making this decision even though they represent a minority of voters. Independent voters make up a plurality, maybe even a majority, of the US electorate. This makes a mockery of democracy when two big business parties decide who can participate. That is an oligarchy, not a democracy.”
“The United States is facing a crisis in democracy,” added Stein. “The people have lost faith in public institutions. They are losing confidence in the integrity of elections. Now the people are being told that only two choices can be heard. And to add insult to injury, these are the two most disliked and distrusted candidates in US history. The Stein/Baraka campaign believes it is time to restore power to the people – and we will be there on September 26 to make it happen.”
The Stein/Baraka campaign has held three protests so far, most recently at the headquarters of the CPD in Washington, DC. The campaign plans to continue their demands through all four debates in the hopes of opening them up.
The Stein/Baraka campaign thanks the League of Women Voters for their sponsorship of past Presidential debates, and calls on them to sponsor at least one debate with all four candidates who are on enough ballots to achieve 270 electoral college votes. The League of Women Voters ended their sponsorship of the debates in 1988, saying that they had “no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”
Engaged citizens are calling for an Occupy Debates movement, beginning on the 5th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, outside of the commission’s offices. Protests are also being planned around the country.