Watching the televised US Presidential debates, one would be forgiven for thinking there were only two candidates running. As I mentioned on my previous post, in Pennsylvania there are two others on the Ballot (Dr. Jill Stein and Mr. Gary Johnson). I think there are others on the ballots in other states as well (Justice Party and Constitutional Party, I suspect). Why are these candidates not included in the presidential debates? Even if they never won, they’d expand the public discourse.
I think there ought to be a popular campaign to require that all candidates who are legally on x-number of states’ presidential ballots to be included in all presidential debates. I’d suggest 1/3 of the states, but even 50% of the states would be fairer than now. All it would require is a law which stated any network, whether TV, Radio, or Internet, which hosted a presidential debate among candidates, would be required to invite all candidates on the ballots of x-number of states. This would inevitably include the Democratic and Republican candidates, but in this election would also likely include the Greens and Libertarians (if not others as well).
The public discourse would be widened with a greater array of perspectives, smaller parties would get more press, and perhaps better candidates would be chosen. The only people likely to suffer would be the elephants and asses… which means such an effort would probably require an extensive popular campaign, perhaps via internet. Could we do it, pressure congress to pass such a rule?
If you like the idea, reblog it, send it around to the kinds of people who are internet-savvy.