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Let third parties debate

By Lynne

Just a few months ago, John McCain challenged Barack Obama to an entire series of town-hall-style debates.

Now, he wants to delay the first debate at the University of Mississippi.

Fine. There are several qualified candidates -- Cynthia McKinney and Bob Barr have more experience in Congress than Obama -- who are ready to take the national stage and provide tens of millions of Americans with different solutions and different visions for our country.

The Green party’s Cynthia McKinney, Libertarian Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution party and independent candidate Ralph Nader are more than willing to debate.

A recent Zogby poll showed the majority of Americans want to hear from third party candidates, such as Bob Barr, with the percentage jumping to 69 percent among independent voters.

(continued) Barr, Baldwin, McKinney and Nader all meet part of the criteria established by the "nonpartisan" Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) in that they are on enough ballots that they could -- theoretically -- win enough electoral college votes to become president.

Of course, the Electoral College is an out-dated, antiquated system (designed to appease slave-holding states) that disproportionately allocates votes and can allow the winner of the popular vote to lose the presidency.

And, according to Connie Rice and her Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates:

“The CPD is under the total control of the Republican and Democratic parties and by definition bipartisan, not non-partisan.”

But until people in the United States demand third-party inclusion in the debates (like Canada just did when the Green party leader was initially excluded) the CPD gets to call the shots.

Which means the second half of the CPD criteria is that candidates must be at 15 percent in the polls.

Well, that’s kind of hard to do when you are excluded from all three of the presidential debates and the single vice presidential debate. Think it doesn’t make a difference? Tell that to Jesse Ventura, former governor of Minnesota, whose support skyrocketed after being in televised debates.

The CPD says they need to limit the number of candidates on stage.

But during the Democratic party primary, there were up to eight candidates on stage. And for the Republican primary debates, there were up to TEN candidates.

Including Ron Paul. Remember him? He recently encouraged voters to support third-party candidates and stated that, “the silent majority must become the vocal majority.”

If Ole Miss truly wants to step away from its past, and embrace integration in all its forms, they should call for McKinney, Barr, Baldwin and Nader to be included in the debates.

Tags: debate , third-party candidates , lynne serpe , third-party politics

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