I’m not going to try and convince you that Obama and Romney are exactly the same. I’m not going to make a case for not voting or voting third party. I don't yet know who I will vote for in November myself. And I like it that way. When is the last time that you remember going into an election cycle looking for the candidates to introduce themselves to you, to communicate their specific positions on issues important to you, to actually listen to you and reflect on what they can do for you as your representative? Do you remember that far back? Do you even remember that at all?
The first CPD sponsored presidential debate of the 2012 election cycle will take place tonight. By my count there are still more than two dozen citizens running for the office of president across the country. How many of those candidates will be allowed to speak in tonight’s debate?
Who gets to debate, the topics that will be “debated,” the format of the debate - all decided on and agreed to ahead of time by the Obama and Romney campaigns. So who is this CPD that sponsors the debates? The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is a private “non-profit” corporation started by former heads of the Democratic and Republican National Committees in 1987. It replaced the League of Women Voters in 1988 and has been sole sponsor of every presidential debate since that time. The CPD itself currently has seven sponsors including three companies, the largest of which is Anheuser-Busch (that's right Budweiser is sponsoring your democracy). While people mobilize across the country to battle efforts by the right to limit ballot access (a nice way to say steal the vote) , the CPD quietly acts as a limited liability shill (as corporations often do) for the censorship of any dissenting opinion at the presidential debates. It is only through the inclusion of alternative voices that the dialogue can be expanded and that candidates can be kept honest. This limiting of the number of voices at the debate by folks who are already in the debate is clearly a conflict of interest. My “more voices” graphic below includes four alternative voices (among many) that should be part of the debate: (from left to right in no particular order) Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, and Anonymous. Please feel free to “steal” it and share it EVERYWHERE. Click to enlarge image.
I could go into depth about instant runoff voting (IRV), public financing of elections, voting “no confidence,” but there is one thought that I want to draw attention to above all the others. Representational democracy is about voting for the person that best represents your interests. So regardless of who you choose to vote for in November, I sincerely hope you will remember that it is your choice and not the choice of pollsters, pundits, or the CPD.
Democracy Now! ran a great in depth piece on the CPD today - watch it here
*Democracy Now! is airing a LIVE expanded debate tonight from 8:30 - 11:30 pm ET, pausing after questions to
include equal time responses from Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky
Anderson of the Justice Party - watch it here
Learn more and get involved at opendebates.org
October 15, 2012 - Mark Halperin at Time Magazine posts leaked Memorandum of Understanding between the Obama and Romney campaigns - read it here