Letter: Open debate stage to third party presidential candidates

Open debate stage to third party candidates

To the editor:

One important piece to our democracy that is lacking is that not all presidential candidates are equally viewable or accessible to the public. How could this be?

The Commission on Presidential Debates, which was created and is funded by the established Democratic and Republican parties to weaken political opposition voices, has established unjust and almost impossible rules to limit those who can stand on the debate stage. This has severely squandered Americans' power to elect into office those who most align with their values.

As it stands, a candidate must meet an oppressive threshold of 15 percent in just a few major polls AND be on enough ballots to win the election. I can understand the latter rule, but the first is almost impossible to meet when mainstream media does not allow third party candidates to spread their party's platform during prime time.

The American people deserve to know all of their options this November, and that includes opening the debates to every candidate who is on enough ballots to win in November. In 2016, this includes not only the Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton, but also Green Dr. Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

It is time for the American public to take back its democracy by fighting the Commission on Presidential Debates to allow all four candidates to discuss the real problems facing this country and the rest of the world in front of everyone before the election this November. The debates are a crucial piece to democracy as they allow for a free exchange of ideas that inform the public, and our votes mean nothing unless we know who we can vote for, which is not only two candidates!

We the people have the right to make informed decisions about our country and that starts with the ability to weigh all of our options. I encourage people to start petitions to send to the commission, calling the commission directly, or visiting Jill2016.com and signing the petition to open the debates. The time is now, let's make some noise as it is in our hands.

Sean Pease, Pittsfield


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