Pat Caddell is cantankerous in a charming uncharming way. He’s a grump who is grumpy for very good reason and who reflects the grumpiness of an isolated and marginalized (to date) electorate. He is angry. We’re angry. And he is right, it is a travesty that the presidential debates are limited to the the Democratic and Republican nominees.
This year we should have the Dems, the GOP, the Libertarians, and the Greens represented. (For starters.) At this point one has to question seriously the very legitimacy of the debates if we don’t have more than 2 presidential candidates on the stage this fall. Many (many) Americans are neither Republican or Democrat these days and some might say that it is time for our debates to reflect this.
(From The Hill)
But the worst blight on our democracy is the conduct by the unelected, unaccountable, secretive private organization called the Commission on Presidential Debates. The CPD was founded in 1987 to ensure that the final fall debates – three for the presidential candidates, beginning this year on Sept. 26, and one for the vice presidential contenders, on Oct. 9 – “provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.” In truth, the CPD’s real agenda is to make that mission the great lie of American politics.
The true mission of the CPD is to deny independents and third-party candidates a national platform for their views and to their candidacies to be put before the American electorate. To make sure that the only two sanctioned choices are the nominees of the duopoly, the CPD is co-chaired by the former head of the Republican National Committee, Frank Fahrenkopf, and the former press secretary to President Bill Clinton, the Democratic activist Mike McCurry. Other board members are also party regulars and deep-pocketed donors. Some have been outspoken in their views that the CPD’s role is to perpetuate the hold the two parties have on our electoral system. As formerSen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo) said when he was a commissioner: “If you like the multi-party system, then go to Sri Lanka and India and Indonesia.”