This time it will be the third party candidates that will get to be heard. Appearing at the debate will be Independent Ralph Nader, The Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney and The Constitution Party’s Chuck Baldwin. Also invited were Democrat Party candidate Barack Obama and Republican candidate John McCain, but neither seemed able to fit it into their schedule. Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr is also unable to attend.
The Miami Herald stated:
Organizers say the debate is an important exercise in democracy, especially because the debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (the last of which is Wednesday night) exclude candidates scoring below 15 percent in national polls. Nader, the best known of the candidates, has an average of 2.5 percent in recent national polls, according to realclearpolitics.com, while Barr averages 1.5 percent.
Nader maintains that if he could get into the debates run by the Commission on Presidential Debates, his numbers would immediately climb because “two-thirds of the people don’t know we’re running.”
“It’s a Catch-22.”
Nader describes the debate commission as “a two-party dictatorial company that doesn’t want anybody else on the stage.” The commission, created in 1987, is a corporation headed by two former chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties.
But third-party critics of the system recently got some traction: the second of the presidential debates prompted a chorus of criticism of the “boring” format and the lack of follow-up questions.
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