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Should Third-Party Candidates Be Allowed In Presidential Debates? [Poll]

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

The presidential debates are now over…wait, no they’re not.

There is a “third-party” debate in Chicago at 9:00pm EST tonight, October 23.

Tonight’s third-party debate, moderated by Larry King, will give third-party candidates a rare chance to be heard.

Should third-party candidates have been allowed in the debates with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? 

Not since Ross Perot in 1992 has a third-party candidate been in a presidential debate with the Republican and Democratic candidates.

Why?  Because the “nonpartisan” Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which ran the debates that included Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, sets rules which are designed to keep out third-party candidates.

The League of Women Voters sponsored the presidential debates before the CPD took over in 1988.  That change brought another…corporate sponsorships of presidential debates.

But some corporate sponsors have begun to question the fairness of the debates themselves.  Last month, three sponsors withdrew their support of the CPD.  Philips North America, BBH New York, and YWCA are no longer sponsors of the debates.  YWCA CEO Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron said:

As a nonpartisan organization dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all, we have decided to withdraw our sponsorship effective immediately.

Of course, third-party candidates don’t like the CPD either.  Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president, sued the CPD on anti-trust grounds.    

Johnson will be joined at October 23rd’s third-party debate by the Green Party’s Jill Stein, the Constitution Party’s Virgil Goode, and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson.

Learn more about the third-party debate and watch it here.


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