A lawsuit filed on September 26, 2015 in Washington D.C. (and its eventual outcome) may turn out to be the most important event of the 2016 presidential election.
Virtually ignored by all but a handful of alternative media outlets, this suit has the power to destroy the existing political power structure ─ much like the ridesharing firms, Uber and Lyft, threaten the antiquated taxi industry. If successful, it will permanently expand the number of candidates on the debate stage during the general election by proving that the Commission on Presidential Debates is in violation of current anti-trust law. Politics is not just free speech; it’s also big business.
In a nation that prides itself on choice, with endless varieties of almost anything imaginable, why are we limited to hearing from just Republicans and Democrats when debating our nation’s future? The reason is that you, as a citizen, are being subconsciously herded under the guise of “preventing confusion.”
Libertarians, Greens, Reform, Constitutional, and Independents are allowed, to a point, to voice their issues, but the most important qualifier has always been the official debate stage. Inclusion on this stage is, in effect, the social proof that says to the American voter: this candidate is for real and should be considered.
National debates, being the most important forum to present a candidate’s ideas to the American voter, have the most restrictive qualifiers for inclusion. These qualifiers are conveniently set by Republicans and Democrats masquerading as unbiased arbiters. These biased members are deciding the rules, rather than using an independent organization like the League of Women Voters, because they fear competition.
The existing debate rules state that a presidential candidate must “have a level of support of at least 15% (fifteen percent) of the national electorate as determined by five national public opinion polling organizations selected by CPD, using the average of those organizations’ most recent publicly-reported results at the time of the determination.” This 15-percent hurtle leaves out important criteria, such as how polls should be worded, which polling organizations will be used, and when these polls should be taken. Cherry picking polling companies and adjusting the timing are just a few ways to tilt the outcome.
More significant to the discussion is that the Commission fails to address the most vital element, which is that polls are becoming increasingly unreliable each year in the cell phone age. Polling has become so untrustworthy that renowned pollster, Gallup, is getting out of the presidential polling business because it admits it can’t get accurate results. If an organization such as Gallup is throwing in the towel, then the reliability of every poll is in question.
In the 2012 election, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein were not included in approximately 90 percent of the popular polls. Most of the time, these polls used “none of the above” or “someone else” rather than disclosing their names, even though they were listed on the ballot. The average voter would be hard pressed to find any poll that covered third parties in any meaningful way.
Republicans and Democrats may not agree on much, but there is no dispute between them that only their two parties should be competing for Americans’ votes. The political establishments in both major parties do everything within their power to squash nontraditional viewpoints.
Voter suppression is not about a 98-year-old black woman in Mississippi without a driver’s license; it is about restrictive laws (written by Republicans and Democrats) to prevent anyone but their respective parties from ever showing up on the ballot. Numerous ballot access laws act as barriers to entry but are sold to the public as a way of bringing order and preventing confusion. It sounds fair but, in reality, is far from it. This lawsuit hopes to rectify some of these injustices.