Commentary, Elections

Gary Johnson: It’s Un-American to Allow GOP and Democrats to Control Presidential Debates

It’s just wrong.

Go to the websites of major polling organizations and look at their measurements of “party identification”. You’ll find something interesting: Sometimes the graphs will show two lines: one for Democrats and one for Republicans. But sometimes, they show three lines. Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

A funny thing happens when they include that third line. More often than not, those who don’t identify as either Democrat or Republican almost always equal or exceed those who do. In Gallup’s most recent tracking — conducted just a month ago, independents are 40 percent of the electorate. Thirty percent call themselves Democrats and 29 percent Republicans.

If you are among the tens of millions of people who watch the general election presidential debates every four years, you wouldn’t know that the largest group of American voters are actually neither Democrats or Republicans. And you certainly wouldn’t see that the overwhelming majority would like to have more choices than just the two “major” parties.

The two ‘major’ parties own and operate the presidential debates

You don’t see anyone other than the Republican and the Democrat because, for all practical purposes, the two “major” parties own and operate the debates. Though the name sounds official, there is absolutely nothing official about the Commission on Presidential Debates — the private organization that sponsors the only general election presidential debates. The CPD was created by the two major parties, it is funded by their friends, and it is entirely partisan.

Why are the CPD debates the only debates? It’s simple: The Republican and Democratic national parties require their candidates to agree to not participate in any other debates. And the media, left with no real alternative, plays along. If that sounds like a monopoly, that’s because it is.

It’s wrong. This two-party ownership of the most important events of the election is, as the League of Women Voters said decades ago, a fraud perpetrated on the American people.

Our America Initiative has been fighting to break up the presidential debate monopoly

That’s why the Our America Initiative, of which I am Honorary Chairman, has been fighting for more than five years to break up the debate monopoly. We won’t change policies in America until we change the politics.

And there is no single better way to change the politics than to let voters see and hear that there are new ideas and potential leaders other than the worn out partisan approach that has given us a $20 trillion debt, endless wars and the steady loss of liberty.

In the next few weeks, we will be taking that fight for fair debates to the Supreme Court. It has taken years and hundreds of thousands of dollars, but our historic federal lawsuit to break up the debate monopoly has finally reached the point at which we can – and will – ask the highest court in the land to act. And the Supreme Court must act.

Allowing Republicans and Democrats to limits America’s choices in the presidential debates is Un-American

As we are seeing almost daily, the choice America makes each four years has very real consequences for our safety, our freedom and the futures of our children. The presidential debates are the single most important events in the presidential campaigns, and allowing the Republicans and Democrats to limit Americans’ choices is simply un-American.

That’s why, on October 26th, at 5:00 pm ET, I will be on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, to lead a rally for fair debates.

In the days leading up to our rally, there will be a “money bomb” to help ensure that we have the funds necessary to take our fight to the Supreme Court. It won’t be easy, and it will be expensive.

But it is a fight that we must carry on and win. America deserves better. America deserves real choices.

(Photo of presidential candidate Gary Johnson talking to a crowd of supporters at a rally on August 6, 2016, in Salt Lake City, Utah, by George Frey/Getty Images.)

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson is an entrepreneur, served two terms as Governor of New Mexico, and in 2016, as the Libertarian nominee for President of the United States, garnered more votes than any third party or independent candidate in twenty years.

In addition to his success in business and public policy, Governor Johnson has reached the summit of the highest peak on each of the seven continents, including Mt. Everest, competed in numerous Iron Man Triathlons, and tackled some of the most grueling cycling challenges in the world.

Governor Johnson currently serves as the Honorary Chair of the Our America Initiative, out of a deep desire to insure that future generations of Americans have the same opportunities for personal and financial freedom that he has enjoyed.

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