From the Green Party Stein campaign, the announcement of an effort to get into the presidential debates organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates:
Spread the word far and wide! This morning (September 12), dozens of community leaders, artists, and academics — including Tom Morello, Leah Bolger, Richard Wolff and Medea Benjamin — and thousands more joined together to launch Occupy the CPD.
The Occupy the CPD site is “Paid for and authorized by Jill Stein for President.” The argument to open the “nonpartisan” debates — the description offered by the CPD — to other candidates isn’t new or unique to Stein, of course, but it is interesting that her campaign is taking this step.
The presidential debates are the first opportunity for millions of voters to see the presidential contenders themselves, not just their advertising campaigns. These debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) – a supposedly ‘nonpartisan’ corporation which is a puppet of the national Democratic and Republican parties, and the big corporations that fund both of them. The CPD’s criteria to be included in these debates are designed to exclude independent contenders who promote ideas that challenge those in power.
From the CPD, their “Mission”:
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates. The organization, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan.
It’s difficult to reconcile providing the “best possible information” with their obvious bipartisan understanding of “nonpartisan.” Only Republican and Democratic candidates, apparently, are capable of providing such information.
The letter referenced in the Stein announcement, via the Occupy the CPD release:
We demand debates of, by, and for the people . . .
Not the corporations:
We, the undersigned, demand presidential debates that include the real choices before the voters this November.
The debates must include every candidate who is on enough ballots to win the White House and who has demonstrated a minimal level of support — meaning either 1% of the vote in a credible national poll, or qualification for federal matching funds, or both. In 2012, the Green and Libertarian party candidates both meet all of these criteria.
We call on the national news media, the League of Women Voters, and every other civic organization that speaks up for the rights of regular people to organize a 2012 presidential debate that includes all the qualified candidates.
We call on the Commission on Presidential Debates to change its arbitrary rules to include all the qualified contenders. And we urge our fellow Americans to rise up and demand democracy in our presidential elections, beginning today with the presidential debates. These debates belong to the people, not the politicians or Wall Street.
Changing the so-called presidential “debates” to something that would actually be a serious conversation, not a series of sound bites and gotcha lines, and changing the rules so that Green, Libertarian and other party candidates could participate could be a step toward breaking the hold of the Duopoly. It will, therefore, by strongly and consistently resisted by those — Blue and Red — who like things just the way they are.
If you’re so inclined, you can sign the letter here:
Yes, I demand presidential debates that include all the national candidates. These debates must include every candidate who is on enough ballots to win the White House and who has qualified for federal matching funds, or has polled 1% in at least one credible national poll. I will act to make sure that the voice of the people is heard in 2012.
(Occupy the CPD graphic via Occupy the CPD)