|Scholar's Mate (C) Karophyr|
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
presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and
educational activities relating to the debates.
The CPD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(c) (3) corporation. United
Pursuant to the criteria, which were publicly announced on October 31, 2011, those candidates qualify for debate participation who (1) are constitutionally eligible to hold the office of President of the United States; (2) have achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority in the general election; and (3) have demonstrated a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate, as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations' most recent publicly-reported results.
Who is the CPD?
Co-Chair: Frank J. Fahrenkkopf – RNC Chair 1983-1987
Co-Chair: Michael D. McCurry - Press Secretary,
Administration, Director of Communications. DNC 1988-1990 Clinton
Co-Chair Emeritus: Paul G Kirk – DNC Chair 1985-1989
Howard G. Buffet: Eldest son of Warren Buffet
John C. Dansforth: Republican Senator, UN Ambassador
John Griffen: Who is John Griffen, International Man of Mystery?
Antonia Hernandez: President & CEO California Community Foundation a $1.24B philanthropic organization, former Kennedy campaign coordinator.
Rev. John I. Jenkins: President of the University of Notre Dame
Newton N. Minow: JFK Campaigner appointed to the FCC, former FCC Chair. Senior Counsel
Sidly Austin, recruited Barack Obama to the firm.
Richard D Parsons: Former Chair & CEO Time Warrner, Former Rockefeller and Ford
staffer, economic advisory staff for Obama
Dorothy S. Ridings: President & CEO Council on Foundations
Alan K Simpson: Republican Senator, Republican whip 1985-1995
Executive Director: Janet Brown – Republican staffer (John Danforth, Elliot Richardson)
At a 1987 press conference announcing the commission's creation, Fahrenkopf said that the commission was not likely to include third-party candidates in debates, and Paul G. Kirk, Democratic national chairman, said he personally believed they should be excluded from the debates
While rule 1, constitutionally eligible, and rule 2, on the ballot in enough states to actually get elected president (270 electoral college votes) make sense, rule
3, a 15% showing in an average of 5 national
polls would appear to be solely to exclude third party candidates from the
debates. This leads one to the
conclusion the the CPD is bi-partisan not non-partisan.
As far as third party candidates go, the only discussion on CPDs website is a fairly ambiguous paragraph titled Voter Ambivalence About Third Party Candidates: “The authors here focused on the first three-way match-up in a general election presidential debate. Participant reaction to Ross Perot and James Stockdale's presence in the debates suggested that the dynamics, content, and tone of the exchange during the debates were distinctly affected by their presence. Focus groups found this element impacted their attitudes about independent candidates.”
Catch-22: Until third party candidates can actually participate in the national election process, there is little chance of them ever meeting the participation criteria of the CPD. How can the CPD claim to “provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners” when they exclude all but the Republican and Democratic candidates for office?
Can it be that the CPD’s true agenda is fostering the status quo? In my humble opinion they do a disservice to the American people and Democracy itself.