It's time to open up the presidential debates by including four candidates.
The U.S. public is 42% Independent, 29% Democratic, and 26% Republican. Donald Trump is polling at 61% unfavorable, and Hillary Clinton at 53% unfavorable. These are all virtually record-breaking statistics.
Allowing the Democratic and Republican parties to jointly control debates is unjustified and undemocratic. Nothing requires television networks to do so.
Click here to sign a petition that we will deliver to ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Broadcasting, PBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Univision, and Telemundo.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that ended on August 3 had Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson at 10 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 5 percent. Among registered voters under 30, a recent McClatchy-Marist poll had Johnson and Stein ahead of Trump.
Both Johnson and Stein offer stark policy alternatives to Clinton and Trump, especially on issues of foreign policy and civil liberties. Both are expected to be on the ballot in almost every state.
Click here to sign a petition to network executives, urging them to serve the public interest.
It wasn't always done this way. In 1988, with the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates seizing control, the nonpartisan League of Women Voters announced its withdrawal from any debate sponsorship "because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions."
Can television networks be moved to act journalistically and independently in the interests of democracy? Sign the petition and we'll find out.
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-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
RootsAction cofounder Jeff Cohen's in-depth column on debates