The Presidential Debates: Giving Voice to Douchebags

Recently, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced that only Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will participate in the presidential debates. While the CPD made the criteria clear in order to qualify, I can’t help but feel bitter about the situation. There are millions of people who support Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. These candidates deserve a platform! I smell douchebaggery afoot…
Why have the criteria in the first place? Third party candidates are in a Catch-22 type of situation when it comes to these debates. The debates would help them reach so many people and increase their name recognition, potentially making them viable on the national stage. However, they need a certain level of name recognition in order to qualify for the debates, so credible third party candidates rarely reach enough voters to be relevant.
As someone who is tired of choosing between two douchebags, I desperately urge the CPD and similar organizations to waive these requirements or at least make them easier. Our electoral system is inherently designed to produce two dominant parties. Consequently, any third party candidate faces a huge hurdle before he or she starts campaigning. I contend that if a candidate can attract several million followers without the resources or name recognition of the two major parties, that candidate is worthy of consideration. Democracy is strengthened by the exchange of differing ideas. The public, the Dumbocrats and the Repukecans would benefit from having a debate with third party candidates.
Our two major parties may be too nearsighted to see the potential benefit, but I contend it is straightforward. Too often in American politics, issues are boiled down to a struggle of one polarizing view versus another polarizing view. Nuance is lost in the discussion. Strong third party candidates often provide views in the middle, a safe haven for those who feel abandoned by the two major parties. Embracing that perspective head on would remind Repukecans and Dumbocrats how alienating the two party dichotomy can be and make their nominee a better, more representative candidate.
Of course, the douchebags strike again and we have to choose between two delightful specimens this November. Ironically, this exclusion may galvanize a third party movement that can genuinely compete with the Repukecans and Dumbocrats. If the elites continue to suppress the voice of the people, the American public will punish those responsible. I hope for a day when the presidential debates feature third party candidates again! It has been 20 years since Ross Perot participated, if you can believe it. Don’t be afraid to vote third party this year! Send a message to those Repukecans, Dumbocrats and the Commission on Presidential Douchebaggery!
Thank you so much for reading! Please like, comment and/or share if you would be so kind.

Originally published at on September 18, 2016.