Original article published on Independent Voter News by Shawn Griffiths available here
According to a recent Facebook reaction poll, approximately 60% of IVN readers say they want to see a GOP debate between the current contenders for the Republican nomination: Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, former Illinois US Rep. Joe Walsh, and of course, incumbent US President Donald Trump.
At the time of this writing, 718 people reacted to the poll. The number of responses continues to increase. However, the breakdown remains relatively unchanged. Just under 60% of respondents answered”Yes” when asked, “Should the RNC hold a presidential primary debate?” Just over 28% answered “No,” with the remaining respondents giving a thumbs up or other Facebook reaction.
“Yes, the voters should be given the opportunity to hear from ALL candidates,” said one commenter.
Many voters clearly want more options in presidential elections outside what the two major parties give them. But, there is arguably no greater example of how the two major parties control the narrative in elections more than presidential debates.
The DNC held round 4 of its presidential debates on Tuesday, October 15, with 12 candidates vying for time and throwing out one-liners that might get them a headline.
Those who watched the debate got the same fight between the more “moderate” candidates and the Warren / Sanders wing over Medicare for All that has started every debate so far — nearly verbatim. And then there was 2 more hours of what Tulsi Gabbard called “reality television.”
It is no wonder that Bernie Sanders said these debates were “demeaning to the American people” back in August. No room for nuance. No room for substance. Just the same talking points and fights repeated over and over and over again.
Meanwhile, despite three Republican contenders entering the 2020 race, the RNC has made no plans to host a debate. Four state parties have canceled their primaries. Many state parties have made it harder for anyone but Trump to get delegates, and plan to silence any opposition on the convention floor.
And, with the general election now just over a year away, it is important to look back and recognize that over 70% of voters said they wanted a third option in presidential debates ahead of the 2016 election. But they didn’t get it. They only got to hear from the two most unpopular candidates in modern US history.
Why? Because the Republican and Democratic Parties make the rules. They control the process and intentionally make it near impossible for any third party or independent candidate to get on the debate stage.
Voters deserve better. They deserve more choice. They deserve greater competition in elections.
That is why Level the Playing Field filed a lawsuit challenging the very rules and institution that protect the two party duopoly in presidential elections. That is why nonpartisan organizations like the Independent Voter Project support this lawsuit.
Opening the presidential debates to alternative voices is a major step in ending the competition crisis in US elections.