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Do you think the presidential debates should be open to third-party candidates?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 10, 2008

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Photo of Scott Ozier

“I believe so. It would give people access to other opinions and candidates, especially if they’re not agreeing with either party right now. We don’t often get a chance to hear their views.”

Photo of Laura Razo

“Yeah, I think they should just to be fair to everyone and to be able to hear another point of view. It might take votes away from either major party, but I think that’s fair as well.”

Photo of Kendra Lemon

“I would say no. It seems like people are rarely informed enough about third parties or even who the third-party candidates are. Why would they vote for someone with so little influence to run the country?”

Photo of Jimmy Fisher

“I think it’s a good idea. But I think it’s more important earlier on in the election; after that it should be narrowed down to two candidates for the final debates. I think it would help us find the right person, because we definitely need the right person right now.”

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Comments

more_cowbell 5 years, 6 months ago

Once the candidates make it to the debates, the percentages take care of themselves. PosseComitatus mentions Perot; he received close to 20% (!) in 1992, and about half that in 1996. But getting into the debate is the key to getting the turnout. That's why the two major parties set up the CPD, to control access to the debates and keep it a two-party duopoly.Under badger's criteria of being on the ballot in 40 states, both Nader and Barr would have qualified this year:Nader (Independent): 46 statesBarr (Libertarian): 45 statesBaldwin (Constitution): 37 statesMcKinney (Green): 32 states(the next highest candidate is on the ballot in 12 states)from http://www.ballot-access.org/Nader and Barr will likely get the highest percentage of the popular vote among the four listed, and while those percentages may turn out to be less than 5%, in some respects excluding them from the debate is an intentional tactic to keep them from getting more public attention--and thus, more votes. It's a catch-22.Of course, the events being staged by the CPD this year could hardly be called "debates". They're side-by-side stump speeches. The key is that the two major parties (again, who control the CPD) think the public won't demand an alternative.The sad fact is that they're probably right. We get the leaders we deserve.

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PosseComitatus 5 years, 6 months ago

I like the idea of a 3rd party candidate. Perots participation in the debates actually forced both parties to focus on the issues. This is where Clinton promised to balance the budget. Pickens reminds me of Perot. Can we get him in the next debate?

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sdinges 5 years, 6 months ago

Obviously not every third party candidate can be involved, but as several people have pointed out, there could easily be a set of guidelines to help weed out the less serious ones.The debates have become a useless, boring farce anyway. The two candidates sit there and ramble on about their memorized talking points, often ignoring the questions and rarely engaging in actual debate with one another. Imagine what a difference it would make to have a couple of third party candidates in there.Third party candidates are never going to be "viable" until they're properly included. If they cannot debate, how can people possibly get a realistic and educated view of them. But wishing for this is like holding my breath for a Republican party that represents small government, or a sane Democratic party. Hopes and dreams.

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kansas778 5 years, 6 months ago

Here's a simple solution--if you can get on the ballot in at least half of the states, you can be in the debates. I would love to hear from third party candidates because these two parties have failed this country.

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Mixolydian 5 years, 6 months ago

There are 13 presidential candidates appearing on this years national presidential ballot. 8 more candidates qualified to be on the ballot in at least one or more states.21 candidates on one stage? No. Underwater knife fight in a cage....maybe.

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JJE007 5 years, 6 months ago

Of course. This is the only way to stimulate ANY kind of discourse, not that it will do much. There is no such thing as a republic in this time and place. This so called election process is the worst kind of conspiracy. The mavericks and so-called agents of change are mere sycophants of power. They feed each other our blood like a bad married couple who give drugs to their unruly kids while they plan their summer vacation, investments and nanny contracts. It's despicable. Make parties illegal. Make knee-jerk dumbashers think. Make a real change. Ignore the bashing and stupidity of these arguments about whose debt is worse. We are the johns of two-faced, two party lies and thievery. We abide by the holes of these lies. Our debt is perpetuated by our ignorance and belief systems, systems feeding us just enough to purchase tickets to our own demise, the sale of our future to those who would profit from it, those who would sell our souls to another country for a few lifetimes of familial bliss. We can no longer afford to buy these lies.What was the question?~)

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 6 months ago

Gina Carano for write-in candidate!

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 6 months ago

badger,So you would rule out a free-for-all, no holds barred cage fight?

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badger 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes and no. I mean, if any yayhoo calling himself a third-party candidate can get in, then the debates get even less useful, if that's possible.However, if a candidate is on the ballot in more than, say, 40 states, let him or her in (I'd have let Nader in, if only because being forced to speak in front of something besides converts might finally have shown clearly enough that he is not a good candidate, just a candidate who sounds good on paper when you're not thinking too much about his positions). If a political party garners more than 5% of the vote in either of the last 2 elections (Presidential or Congressional), then their candidate can be in the debate.I don't want a free-for-all, though. There should be some tests for viability.

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spacehog 5 years, 6 months ago

I accept chaos, I'm not sure whether it accepts me.-Bob Dylan

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Pywacket 5 years, 6 months ago

Absolutely. I think that Nader, for one, would quickly show just how far he is from having the right stuff.

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sunflower_sue 5 years, 6 months ago

prospector, I could only wish! Alas! I have to play surrogate parent to another kiddo tonight and also have to play momma taxi to my high-schooler. sigh

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bd 5 years, 6 months ago

We need a Washington tea party!

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gogoplata 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes Yes Yes. Nader, Barr, Baldwin, and McKinney should be in the presidential debate. Neither Obama or McCain will introduce real change. The people of this country need to stop allowing ourselves to be deceived by partisan politics. Give up this Democrats vs Republicans train to nowhere and realize it is the People of this Country vs Washington Democrats and Republicans.

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autie 5 years, 6 months ago

bob, we go to my bro in laws. He lives fairly close..Our major pre game activity will be getting my wife to the stadium..she has MS. She ambulates, but not very fast..in fact very slow.. But once we get down there, I plan on migrating up towards the hill side as I have some other friends that will most likely be hanging around one of those tents. Plus a bunch of buds from high school are rendevous-ing at the game and they expect me to show up..I don't know where they will be. It should be interesting..But I be the guy in khakai shorts, blue old school tshirt and red cap, probably with a tall gangly 19 year old girl with long brown hair and glasses..my hearing translator aka daughter.

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prospector 5 years, 6 months ago

Autie,As an old friend of mine likes to say,"Pace your animal.". I believe you stated earlier in the week that the brewery was your post game destination. It is always good to keep your powder dry.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 6 months ago

Autie -Tailgating for 11:30 games are rough for the first couple of beers. Then, once it hits 7:00 and the sun comes up, it is big fun.Where do you tailgate?

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autie 5 years, 6 months ago

all in due time, prospector. Actually I must stay subdued and quite today and be very moderate. We are getting up very early to drive up to the game tomorrow..and I'll need all my wits about me driving at deer o'clock in the morning. And not feel like crap.

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autie 5 years, 6 months ago

how's about bucket o' Laphroaig? It being my favorite. and it's friday.

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prospector 5 years, 6 months ago

Sue, are you in the bucket o'margaritas already?

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autie 5 years, 6 months ago

Ms. Canada, you said YIKES. Been reading the CJOnline lately? Shirley Roper Phelps said YIKES a lot. Scotch? life blood of western civilization.

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Jcjayhawk1 5 years, 6 months ago

Reasonable and viable is irrelevent. I feel that a 3rd or 4th party can add additional value just by responding to the questions. We know where the current candidates stand. Throw a few more in there and kick it up a notch. We might just hear something different, something with more perspective on the issues and priorities the president should consider. It's just too bad that the candidates really only have time to scratch the surface of the issues. We are interviewing these people to run our country. I want them to explain to me in detail how they are going to achieve what they say they will. I don't care if it takes 2 hours just to get through one topic. I want to know. I also want to know that THEY know what the hell they are talking about instead of the automated responses to the soft questions.Vote with your heart and conscience. If you do that then no one can tell you that you're wasting your vote. Voting for the lesser of 2 evils is still a vote for evil.....and that IS a wasted vote.

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sunflower_sue 5 years, 6 months ago

prospector, does Randy drink Scotch, too? ;)

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goatdog 5 years, 6 months ago

The good cop/bad cop routine is getting old.

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JayCat_67 5 years, 6 months ago

"I would say no. It seems like people are rarely informed enough about third parties or even who the third-party candidates are."Translated: "Nobody knows these guys so no one should be able to get to know these guys." or "We should only get to know those whom we already know." I suddenly feel the urge to squeeze a lemon...

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 6 months ago

Ms. Canada -These aren't even really debates. There are just opportunities for the two candidates to recite stump speeches in snippets. A debate is when the participants actually, you know, debate. I think throwing a few wild cards in there would spice things up. Sure, Paul and Nader are bat guano crazy, but I'm all about entertainment. Nothing is getting solved on those stages anyways. Let's see something fun. Also, to add to the drama, a loaded gun should be placed in between each candidate. What would happen? Who knows? That's the rub. Prospector - Wow. Just wow.

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JustMe2409 5 years, 6 months ago

A few points.First of all the political party of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were at least as partison as our current parties. This current election reminds me of the late 19th century elections. 2 very bad major candidates. I hope the America responds the way she did in the early 20th century and spawn a "Bull Moose" party.What I am very concerned about is the proposal that the government take a partial ownership interest in the banks. The Washington Post is reporting that Obama tried to influence the Iraqi government to not go along with President Bush's withdrawal plan.

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ms_canada 5 years, 6 months ago

Sheesh - I could hardly take an hour and a half with two candidates, how long would a 5 candidate debate take? And three debates? Yikes!!

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 6 months ago

Open the debates to audience heckling.( Supply ripened tomatoes. )

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jaycat 5 years, 6 months ago

Simply put. "You betcha and lets duel."

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prospector 5 years, 6 months ago

Renaldo, They look a lot like Libertarians to me. They have my endorsement.Bob, Me think Andini started writing for the LJW. Jeez, seems like we are going to hell in a Nanny state basket.http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/oct/10/mayer_football_now_too_brutal/Sue, when I feel randy, Scotch, neat.

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Finn12 5 years, 6 months ago

To blue73harley -- not buzzing flies anymore. That's old school. These days, both the GOP and DNC are headed toward the same goal (socialism), just different routes. Obama will get us there (to a socialist state) faster than McCain. But I think both men are all talk. At least 3rd party leaders know what they stand for. Buzzing flies? Ron Paul has swarming hornets. At least, I'm angry at the political puppets, the bankers....and want to defend the "hive" called the US of A. Throw the bums out!

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BABBOY 5 years, 6 months ago

i agree with Jimmie Fisher. At this points, only the ones really in the running should be at the debate. Nader is a distraction. Nothing more.

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sunflower_sue 5 years, 6 months ago

I would very much like to see it.prospector, a fifth of what?

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sgtwolverine 5 years, 6 months ago

I know he got mentioned already, but I have to say it: only third-party candidates named Lee Mercer, Jr. I wouldn't miss a debate that included Mercer.Anyway: I think the format of the debates should be changed to table tennis matches.

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autie 5 years, 6 months ago

Celebrity death match would sell more tickets...

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Trobs 5 years, 6 months ago

Bob, I'm Rob!...ha!Anyway, yes. Bring back duels. You fight, or step down from your post. We should definitely include lobbyists for duels. "War on Drugs vs Potheads, tonight on Spike!"Ha!

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 6 months ago

"If we did that now Invictus we might have better people in power." TrobsAre you advocation duels? Hell. And. Yes. McCain - Obama socializes with a known domestic terrorist.Obabma - I do not.McCain - Yes, you do.Obaba - Do not.McCain - Do so.(this goes on for six months)Obama - Do notMcCain - Do so.Simple solution... Pistols at dawn!

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tvc 5 years, 6 months ago

Nader is on the ballot in 45 states. We should allow ballot qualified third party candidates to debate. Why don't people want choices in the presidential candidates? This is not just an issue with democrats, I am sure there are many financial conservatives that wish the party did not have to placate the social conservatives.

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Satirical 5 years, 6 months ago

I think all the liberals should vote for a third party candidate (just not the same one)

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CrazyDiamond 5 years, 6 months ago

Tom Shewmon says:...if we suffer (make it) through four years of an Obama/Reid/Pelosi Washington.Not so fast Tom. We still have to finish suffering (hopefully make it) through Junior's 8 year reign of ____ (fill in the blank)

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Trobs 5 years, 6 months ago

If we did that now Invictus we might have better people in power.

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invictus 5 years, 6 months ago

Trobs the early leaders of this country would shoot each other for an insult.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 6 months ago

"this country is supposed to be based on democracy."Someone will jump on that. I'm going to enjoy my delicious buttery toasted biscuit while thinking about the ostrii.

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Trobs 5 years, 6 months ago

"what does a man care if a woman has the right to make choices of her own? as long as dinner is on the table and the woman is naked!"Those were the days.....

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Trobs 5 years, 6 months ago

The founding fathers of this country are rolling in their graves when they see how much fighting there is between the parties. I am sure they had their own squabbles, but our country is approaching the edge of the abyss and fast. And all the Ostrii do is stick their heads in the sand.

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vlamp55 5 years, 6 months ago

this country is supposed to be based on democracy. out of 5 possiable presidential candidates we are being forced to swallow what only 2 are saying. why have the others been excluded from the debates? i watched the presidential debates. im upset neither candidates really answered any questions . the fact that the questioner kept repeating the same ones over and over is proof of that. i hate the fact that the media is only pandering to the repubs and demos. i voted for nader 2 times now. i am scared to death of what obama and maccain plan for our country. im sick of all the lies about health care . i know that whichever candidate of these 2 cannot influence the private insurance companies one way or another on what they choose to cover. glamour magazine had an interview with mccain. even in this interview he didnt really answer any questions of signifigance but he is for anti abortion and a few other issues that would throw us back into the 40's. i mean throw women mostly back into the dark ages where we have no choices of our own. what does a man care if a woman has the right to make choices of her own? as long as dinner is on the table and the woman is naked! mccain is not the way to go. and obama wants to feed more money into foreign accounts before we get our own countries finances fixed? come on!!

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logicsound04 5 years, 6 months ago

Absolutely.I can't think of one good reason why not. More parties would force politicians to work in coalitions instead of sinking back to their fellow party members.Compromise would become a necessity, rather than a buzzword.

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 6 months ago

Maybe, kidi, and I'll give you my stock statement: I'm voting against Obama. Get it? I think, after watching the carnage on the DJI, does any of this mean a hill of beans? We're in trouble and Obama will throw salt in the wound. Not that McCain is some magician that will fix things either. Strap yourselves in---it's gonna be a very bumpy ride. You know, when you fly, the pilots and flight attendants don't actually tell you, "We're all going to die, so get yourself used to the idea now" if they're in dire straits. This is the way I view our bloated bureaucratic gov't........it's just going to happen and "Poof" -------over.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 5 years, 6 months ago

T_O_B,"why isn't anyone thinking about the ostriches?"Remember, "every ostrich is a tsar".Now if we could just get the rest of the ostrii to pull their heads up out of the sand...(ostrii just sounds cooler than ostriches)

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kidicarus 5 years, 6 months ago

Tom Shewmon - What do you think of your chosen one's plan to buy out all bad mortgage loans? Why aren't you screaming socialism at that? Seems like it would qualify under your very loose and delusional definition of socialism.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 6 months ago

R-I -I am opposed to aligning myself with a single party, but the Guns and Dope Party might change my mind. I ask myself time and time again, "why isn't anyone thinking about the ostriches?"

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Trobs 5 years, 6 months ago

A Third party would be great. In fact, invite the Green, Constitution, Libertarian, Reform, and any other parties. This country is suppose to be a democratic republic. We are suppose to be able to select our leaders. It seems more and more our leaders are selected for us. The empty suit of chance and the senile old man are not who I want leading this country during a time of economical crisis. Give all candidates a voice. Not just those giving kickbacks to the media.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 6 months ago

Damn, Prospector. Get out of my head.Imagine a debate with McCain, Obama, Nader, Bobby B., Lee Mercer, Jr. and Paul. The two chosen one's wouldn't be able to keep repeating their canned lines all night. Sure, the crazy quotient just jumped about eleventy hundred percent, but it would be damn entrertaining.

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 6 months ago

I think the possibility of a very viable third party will open up if we suffer (make it) through four years of an Obama/Reid/Pelosi Washington. I really think this would be the tipping point for a third party.

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craigers 5 years, 6 months ago

I would like that. Since neither candidate is who I would really like for the president of the United States, other options to hear would be great. Third parties will never have a chance at winning if they aren't involved with the events that help people decide who they will vote for.

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autie 5 years, 6 months ago

It would certainly make things more entertaining. They could get Nader and Paul with McCain and Obama..do it in a large venue such as a football stadium, then sell tickets to help fund the failout for corporate america.

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, since McCain won't go for Obama's jugular, I'll bet Nader would, along with McCain's jugular.....yes I would love to see Nader up there exposing everything and I'm sure he would. These nicey-nice debates are a joke. I want to see a brawl up there on that stage!!! Like the guy at the McCain rally yesterday said, "I'm mad. I'm really mad." And what's going to surprise you is isn't the economy. It's the socialists taking over our country. ... We are mad! So go get 'em." I feel your pain, mister.

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Nikki May 5 years, 6 months ago

At the very least, it would make the two main ones look at other questions. It may not give a boost to the third party, but it will open more eyes.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, and give each candidate an inflated pig bladder on a stick.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

All presidential candidates should be heard in all debates that is the bottom line. Otherwise our choices are selected by the two parties,special interest money and the media. When the media decides it cuts third or fourth parties out of the news when in fact these people might be very candid on many subjects and the better candidates.Nader offers one of the most practical platforms to date and pushes public financing. Special interest money and the media controls our systems as we speak. The media takes in tons of dough.If americans wants a say in government we need to eliminate special interest financing of all elections including Lawrence,kansas elections. The bottom line. Voter/taxpayers can force the issue if we want. There are more voters anyday than there are special interest groups. Voters should be demanding these matters be placed on the ballot. AND every four to six years replace elected officials as a matter of routine providing there are no neoconservatives on the ballot.For example when are voters going to realize the USA should not marching our military around the world as if we know what is best for everyone? Number one we cannot afford this crap. Number two the world does not support this crap and wants it stopped. Number 3 it is breaking the bank don't kid yourself. Why don't we the USA pull out of Iraq? That would make some people happy with us since most of the world did not support that action. Perhaps the largest majority of the world is sick and tired of our military dominance and abuse of power.Forget Afghanistan too. If there was a real enemy in that location it is my belief BUSHCO lost that opportunity.Since the USA has the mightiest military in the world perhaps economicpressure from the world is a way to stop the PNAC mission of worldwide military domination? http://oldamericancentury.org/pnac_timeline.htmNader:Demand total military and corporate withdrawal from Iraq!Singlepayer National Health InsuranceCut the bloated and Wasteful Military Budget!(50% of every tax dollars goes to the military)No to more very expensive nuclear energy! Yes to solar and wind! *Aggressive Crackdown on Corporate Crime and rip offs! - Does anyone really believe that elected officials will do anything so long as special interest money is in the picture? Shouldn't a number of financial executives be in court instead of receiving billions in tax dollars for their activities?Where in the world do politicans always find money to invade the mideast yet claim the USA does not have the money for national health insurance,new industry thus new wealth for the USA,public schools,Vo-Tech Schools and college tuition. War is a money hole not an investment in the USA!

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canyon_wren 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, although at this point, the two dominant parties have such a stranglehold, financially and media-wise, on the campaigns that it probably wouldn't do any good. There will have to be some major changes in the way everything works for us to have a real choice. It seems almost like elections in "dictator countries," where it is essentially "set up" so that we don't really have much to say about who our candidates will be. That is so discouraging. I am sure there were equally undesirable candidates in years long past, but it seems like the whole thing has deteriorated significantly for this election.

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blue73harley 5 years, 6 months ago

Only if they are reasonably viable. Currently Nader and others are nothing more than buzzing flies.

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prospector 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, and a fourth and fifth would be even better.

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