Why are there only 2 candidates in the presidential debate?

It just occurred to me that there are more than two parties in the USA, so how come there was only the representative of the democratic party and the representative for the republican party in the debate?

Doesn’t this exclusion of Nader and others constitute a bias that is distorting the view of the voters and is hence unhealthy for the democratic process?

Or is there a rule that your party needs to have won previously at least once, in order for a candidate to be eligible for the presidential debate?

Because the Commission on Presidential Debates is a bi-partisan group, created by the Democrats and the Republicans, for staging Presidential Debates. It’s their party, so they get to decide who gets invited.

Prior to 1987, the Presidential debates were run by the League of Women Voters, who were open to inviting third-party candidates (note that the 1980 debates included Reagan, Carter, and John Anderson). That was why the Big Two created the CPD, because they don’t want third parties to get involved…

No, I think the rule that the Democrats and Republicans set up is that any candidate who is drawing more than 15% in the polls is invited to attend. Ross Perot did participate in 1992.

The American electorate would be unable to cope with more than 2 opposing points of view? :smiley:

Cuz there’s only 2 candidates in the presidential election.

Sincerely snarky,
(son of elucidator)

P.S. Note that “candidate” typically applies to somebody who has a chance, or is a viable possibility. I don’t believe someone who announces they’re Jesus, and I don’t necessarily believe someone who announces their candidacy.

Most of the polls claim a margin of error of around 3% Nader generally has around 1-2%. Why include a candidate that’s getting beat by Margin of Error? If the margin is true, he might even have negative 1% support.

Realistically, you’ve got two guys that might win. Nader and the Lib and the Green all have a better chance of getting pregnant than getting elected. They haven’t earned the right to be on the stage.

The 15% rule was established in 2000. The exact rule (from The Appleseed Citizens Task Force on Fair Debates at http://www.fair.org/articles/appleseed.html):

“a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recent publicly-reported results at the time of the determination.” The CPD will make this determination after Labor Day but “sufficiently in advance of the first-scheduled debate to allow for orderly planning.”

As the link points out, if this rule had been applied to Venturas campaign in Minn, he wouldnt have been able to debate. And his poll numbers didnt begin to rise until after the first couple of debates.

Fair has a whole lot of stuff on the issue for the 2000 election:

Its pretty clear the debate commision is just another tool of the two parties. Im sure theyre thinking up ways to rig things in a less transparent manner even as we speak, which will be hailed as some kind of bi-partisan reform package or something.

Bush adequately fills the incoherent idiot category, as the first debate amply demonstrated.

Therefore, Nader simply isn’t necessary.

There is NO law that prohibits Nader or any other candidate from having a million debates if he or she wants to do so. They can invite Bush, Kerry, or the Pope should they choose to do so. If I have a party, I don’t have to invite every single one of my friends. If I get an invitation to someone’s party who I barely even know and turn it down, that is also allowed.

Nader isn’t going to win a single state. He is running a vanity campaign and the debates are right to exclude and ignore him.

Margin of Error for President!

Kerry counts as two candidates since he’s on both sides of every issue… :slight_smile:

The cutoff point has to be set somewhere or you’d get every crackpot in the country declaring himslef as a candidate. 15% might be a tad high, but even if you set it at 10%, which I think is reasonable, you’d get the same result.

I agree you have to set a cutoff point, but myself I tend to think the same 5% as needed for fed funds would be more consistant, and would keep it down to the 5-6 average number of candidates that appear accross most of the US. Either that or party ballot qualification in a certain number of states, like 2/3rds or 3/4ths.

Well, I think many believe Nader’s errors have exceeded the margin.:smiley:

If you have plenty of time on your hands, try to find precinpts where Nader got into double digits last time. (There are a few)

In 2000, Nader wanted to be a pimple on the ass of the Democratic party and he exceeded that goal. We really don’t know what his goal is this time but he needs to move on to this else.

I believe the agreement between the CPD and the Big Two candidates prevent them from debating in any non-CPD-sanctioned venue. Nader can invite whoever he wants, but they won’t show up.

Me, I’m just pissed at the piddly number of debates. If I had my druthers, we’d spend all of September and October every election year with weekly Presidential debates, just to have the major candidates really slug it out and show us what they’re worth.

Y’know, I think I’ve actually got a bit more to say on this one. Do any of you even know who the fuck Nader IS?! I thought I did, then I realized that all I really know about him is… what he’s said about himself. For an independant, and fairly non-partisan take on his skeleton closet (non-partison at least in the sense that I can’t figure out what their agenda is), check out www.realchange.com.

Beyond that, what do we honestly think Nader could bring to the debate? Aside from making a big spectacle of himself, and getting as much mud in Kerry’s eye as possible. And all just so he can… actually, I have no fucking clue what Nader’s trying to do.

Sometimes I wonder if he even cares anymore.

But here’s my idea, maybe we SHOULD have a third debator. One who isn’t on any side, and isn’t even running. Just a wildcard thrown in to keep the other two honest. Once again, jut my off-hand idea.

Not a bad idea at all. BTW, I’m available.

I don’t get this whole Nader thing. He’s nothing. Let him run for Mayor of Berkeley or Cambridge or something. President? It’s to laugh. IIRC, he isn’t even showing up for the 3rd party candidates’ debate. I don’t even know why the media bothers with him as much as they do.

Damn. Stole my thunder right outta the sky. […saluting Rjung, with whom agreement is rare and special…] :wink:

I won’t argue with that. I don’t know what the “right” cutoff point should be. But pretty much however you sllice it, Nader doesn’t belong in the debate.

Is Nader really and truly the third most likely candidate? Isn’t the Libertarian candidate on more state ballots?

The Libertarian candidate is routinely on every state ballot.