This year’s election calls historic rules set by CPD into question


Out in the cold:  Should third party presidential candidates be allowed to participate in debates?


In 1987, the Commission on Presidential Debates established two straightforward rules for debates between presidential candidates: the candidates must be constitutionally eligible for the presidency and run in enough states to have a chance to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win.

In 2000, they added an additional rule: the candidate must achieve a polling average of at least 15 percent of the total vote.

For the past 29 years, the rules have worked, at least to some extent, but this year’s presidential election is straining these traditional rules.

Not only is this year’s election controversial but it has declined into a race between two extremely unpopular candidates, leaving most voters to choose between who they dislike the least.

This type of voting means people are no longer voting for someone they believe in. Rather, they are voting for what they consider the lesser of two evils.

Because these are such abnormal times, new measures, such as eliminating the polling average of at least 15 percent, should be taken into account when choosing which candidates are able to participate in the debates.

Because of email scandals, racist remarks, sabotage within the Democratic Party, constant conflict within the Republican Party and an awfully divided country, expanding the bipartisan system appears to be the most logical change we can make.

And some are striving for that change. Independent voters have reached an all-time high, but the increase has not transferred into more choices.

While social media has furthered the reach of unconventional candidates, there still remains an inequality between the coverage of all presidential candidates by mainstream media.

The results of last week’s debate changed little and was, to say the least, a train wreck.

In the wake of the debate, sadly the polls remained essentially the same, and many voters trying to find an alternative to send to Washington were left with a taste of hopelessness.

Neither Jill Stein nor Gary Johnson were present to give their input, and no media outlets asked for their opinions on contentious subjects. Consequently, the voting public is less informed.

We are left with candidates who either have the conventional faces with the same proposals or new faces with the same proposals.

Either way, the politics stay the same.

This year shows that it is time the United States approaches democracy in a democratic way and that the argument to uphold traditional debate rules no longer hold water.

It is not only fair to give attention to candidates who bring new ideas into the socio-political panorama, it is also necessary.

The American political setting is a struggle of powers that does not come even close to serving the interests of the people.

However, because of an almost non-existent field for third-party growth, the current situation is unchanging.


Stephanie Sanchez is a sophomore  classics, journalism and political science major from Quito, Ecuador.

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