Majority Support Libertarian Inclusion in Debates

Open Debates issued this press release today.

MAJORITY OF VOTERS SUPPORT INCLUSION OF THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE BOB BARR IN DEBATES

For Immediate Release

September 5, 2008

Contact: George Farah

Washington, D.C. – The majority of likely voters support the inclusion of Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr in the 2008 presidential debates.

A Zogby poll has found that 55% of likely voters want to see former Congressman Bob Barr participate in the upcoming presidential debates with Republican nominee John McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama. The Zogby also poll found that 45% of likely voters supported the inclusion of independent candidate Ralph Nader in the presidential debates. However, despite support from a majority of likely voters for Bob Barr's inclusion, Barr will be excluded from the presidential debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates, a creation of the Republican and Democratic parties, established candidate selection criteria that ensure that only the major party candidates will be eligible to participate in the debates.

“The Commission on Presidential Debates should serve the interests of the American people, not the interests of the two major parties,” said George Farah, executive director of Open Debates. “The Commission on Presidential Debates should include candidates that a majority of Americans want to see participate in the debates.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates was created by and for the Republican and Democratic Parties. In 1986, the Republican and Democratic National Committees ratified an agreement “to take over the presidential debates” from the League of Women Voters. Fifteen months later, then-Republican Party chair Frank Fahrenkopf and then-Democratic Party chair Paul Kirk incorporated the Commission on Presidential Debates. Fahrenkopf and Kirk still co-chair the Commission on Presidential Debates, and every four years, it excludes candidates that most voters want to see debate.

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I don't think enough can be said about this subject. Pundits talk endlessly, day in and day out, about The Will of the People. Shall we disregard the will of the people on this subject, then?

How can there be informed consent, or free and fair elections, when the true breadth of opinion on politics is excluded from open debate?

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