We’ve said before that if the presidential debates don’t include viable 3rd party candidates the very validity of the system is legitimately in question. It is obvious that the American people are looking for alternatives to the 2 “major” candidates. And it is entirely possible that many voters will actually VOTE for a 3rd party candidate in November. Indeed, given how weird this presidential race has been to date it doesn’t seem all that crazy to think that a 3rd party candidate could even win. It doesn’t seem that much of a stretch these days. It’s seems less and less a stretch with each passing day in fact.
Consider what would happen if Bernie Sanders became the nominee of the Green Party. Instantly he would become viable. There is no doubt that he would poll high enough to be included in the presidential debates.
Gary Johnson the Libertarian candidate is already polling well into the range of viability. He’s in double digits already and deep into the teens in some states.
Both Sanders and Johnson represent large and important constituencies which have been marginalized (purposefully) by the GOP and Democrats. But both Sanders and Johnson represent people who are no longer on the margins. Both “progressives” (the Bernie kind), and libertarians probably collectively represent more than ⅓ of the electorate. Maybe much more than a ⅓. (This is just my observation which is in absolutely in no way scientific.) These people should have representatives in the presidential debates. To deny the progressives and the libertarians such representatives is to shut out a huge portion of the electorate and to call into question–again–the very legitimacy of the system.
This is something America absolutely doesn’t need at this moment in its history.
The presidential debates need to be opened up. They need real reform. We need to see candidates which represent parties other than the GOP and Dems. The “major” parties think the debates are their little club. And they have been. But they shouldn’t be going forward.
Consider that in a 4 way race the electoral math suddenly becomes much more interesting. This scares the Democrats and Republicans to death. For the rest of us this new political reality should be considered very seriously. There may be real opportunity to give the political cronies a shot in the teeth in the coming election.
The lock of the duopoly on the presidential debates needs to end and it should end in 2016.