Sorry for my absence in recent days, family time on Thanksgiving takes precedence. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.


A reader sent this in and I think it’s worthy of a discussion. Since 2008 and 2012, many voters have complained that the current presidential debate system, spearheaded by the Commission on Presidential Debates, is a “closed process” which excludes candidates outside the two major parties. Several ideas have been tossed around but here is, as described by the author, Zak Carter, a “4 point plan to restore open and honest debates in 2016 and let alternative voices and ideas be heard.”

  1. More celebrity moderators. Larry King and Thom Hartmann generated significant amounts of press for those debates, and we plan on bringing in more names the entire world knows and cameras can’t help but follow to moderate the debates in 2016. (Agents for both Jon Stewart and Phil Donahue were interested if we had been in NYC, as were Ricki Lake and Martin Sheen’s agents had we been in LA.)
  2. Build a massive coalition. We intend to expand on the 57 media and organization sponsors F&E had for the 2012 debates,(These sponsors paid nothing, but helped spread word of the debates before they aired) and we believe that America’s presidential debates should be run by a diverse coalition that well represents America and the world rather than any single organization. In addition, RT America, Al Jazeera, Free Speech TV,, Link TV, Stitcher Radio, and CSPAN all broadcast the 2012 debates, and we’re going to work hard to get at least one of the major networks to join that list and more in 2016.
  3. In the summer of 2012 a handful of Gary Johnson supporters were able to get through to 2 companies and 1 organization (Phillips, BBH New York and the YWCA) that had been sponsors of the Commission on Presidential Debates and educate them about their debates being closed. We were late on the ball in trying to bring them on as sponsors of the debates in 2012, but we plan on really promoting this approach in 2016 to starve the CPD of their sponsorship dollars, and doing all we can to welcome these companies and organizations on as coalition members of the open debates. If we can get just one of them to join us, it will create an opportunity for a national news story.
  4. At least 10 debates. We’ll start the 2016 debates in the early summer, and space them out so that the last one takes place right before the CPD’s start. Last year viewers could vote online for their favorites, and I plan on expanding that to voting via text message, with one candidate going home after every debate until 2 are left at the last debate. The plan is to create demand for the candidates to be included in the CPD’s events. If they don’t allow them to their debate, the American people will become very aware of the fraud, and we’ll publicly invite the D/R candidates to our platform while we continue hosting debates with our remaining candidates on the same nights the CPD’s are held to include the VP’s. We would ignore them just as they’ve ignored the disenfranchised party candidates.

So, what do you think? Can something like this ever win the support and blessing of the major parties to participate in or does that even matter? Is 10 debates too many or not enough? What about celebrity moderators?

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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