The Presidential Debates belong to the People, not Political Parties.

I am Asking the CPD to Have at Least One Additional Candidate Besides the Republican and Democratic Nominee
in the Presidential Debates.

2,031 Have already pledged their support. 

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Read the letter

About the Commission

47% of Americans refuse to identify with either major party and 62% say they would vote for an independent or third party for president in 2016. 

So why are there only two candidates in the debates? 

Everyone knows you can’t win the presidency without being in the debates. But did you know that a private organization called the Commission on Presidential Debates (“CPD”) is controlled exclusively by Republican and Democratic Party insiders?

Since the CPD took control of the presidential debates in 1988, only one candidate, Ross Perot, has qualified to participate in the national debates. That was in 1992 and Perot was polling at 7%.

After that election, the CPD changed the rule to require a candidate to get 15% in three national polls taken just 7 weeks before the election, making it impossible for anyone other than the Republican or Democratic Party nominee to qualify. It is estimated to cost $260 million to build the necessary name recognition to get to 15%.

This is not fair, and a lack of competition in the debate process deprives the American people of a substantive debate with independent viewpoints. 

Let’s break the two-party stranglehold on who can become President. Let's make room for another voice.

“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 honest answers to tough questions … the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”

- League of Women Voters President, Nancy M. Neuman (1988) in withdrawing from their position as debate moderators.

Control of the Commission 

Parent Organizations:

Republican National Committee 
Democratic National Committee


Frank Fahrenkopf
former Chairman,
Republican Party


Michael D. McCurry
former Communications Director, Democratic National Committee

Dear CPD Board Member,

By self-identification, almost half of the electorate does not feel represented by either major party. And it is no secret that our election process has become more polarized than ever.

This is the consequence of an election system, including presidential debate rules, that serve to divide the electorate into two increasingly unrepresentative “teams.”

Our American democracy is not a game. And our republic cannot be representative if our election process does not incentivize candidates to speak to all the members of the electorate.

In short, the polarization of the political process is a natural consequence of rules that restrict the competition of ideas into a two-sided debate.

We all benefit when ideas are challenged, including the major political parties.

This is why I am asking you to include a third candidate in the presidential debates.


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