Few Americans realize that the Commission on Presidential Debates, a private corporation which controls the debates, was actually created by the Republican and Democratic parties themselves, in order to control the debates for their own advantage.
In 1988 the Republican and Democratic National Committees took over the presidential debates from the non-partisan League of Women Voters. Both parties were angry that the League refused to operate the debates the way the parties demanded, including keeping out viable third party candidates.
Upon withdrawing, the League of Women Voters declared: "...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. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."
History has proven the League correct.
Since its founding, the Commission on Presidential Debates has been chaired by former Republican Party chair Frank Fahrenkopf and former Democratic Party
chair Paul Kirk.
Yes, that's right. The former heads of the two dominant parties set the rules for who gets to be in the presidential debates, who the panelists will be, and what questions are asked.
23 September 2008
one man, one vote
or not. while most americans want to see 3rd party candidates in the presidential "debates," the people who apparently run our election process do their own thang, as the advocates for self-government point out.