BY TAMARAH WALLACE
As you hurry by, the bright, bold lettering of a talent show poster catches your eye. With dreams of making it big, you immediately pause to record your name on the sign-up sheet. However, as your hand lowers to what seems like your destiny, one thought halts your movement.
You are a third party candidate and this show of talent is famously exclusive.
Evidently, the past three presidential debates have consisted of two candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties and have covered a wide range of critical topics that ultimately give the public a quality taste of what they’re voting for. However, the four third party candidates, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Chris Keniston, and Darrell Castle, had not been included in these discussions.
“I think it’s unacceptable that [third party candidates] are allowed to be in the running yet get so little of an opportunity to represent their party,” CCHS senior Gaby Sanchez said.
While there is a system that has been put in place to invite third party candidates to these highly televised debates, it a ridiculously difficult process.
According to the Huffington Post, since the Republican and Democratically managed Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) took control of the debates in 1987, third party candidates have been shut out and even, at times, forcefully removed from them. One exception being the inclusion of Ross Perot, a third party Texan billionaire, in the 1992 debates. However, once the major candidates realized that he had the strongest third party finish since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, he was not allowed to debate again in the next election.
Surprisingly, this corruption was solidified in 2000, when CPD declared that candidates must appear on enough state ballots to “win” and muster at least 15 percent in five national polls- the same ones that regularly don’t include them.
“I think with the two main party candidates, Americans want[ed] another alternative,” CCHS Senior, Nicole Tjin a Djie said. “If the third party candidate appears on the ballot in all 50 states then they should be allowed on the debate stage and the decision be left up to the voters.”
Currently, the need for another presidential option is apparent. The 2016 Democratic and Republican candidates have been deemed the most unfavorable in the more than 30 years of ABC News/Washington Post polling and with this election already over, I believe that for the next election, voters can be more informed and realize that they have more than only two views to endorse.
“We shouldn’t limit our government to two ways of thinking,” CCHS junior Atiya Pitaktrakul said. “In a nation that’s supposed to be ‘for the people’ we should be able to appeal to as many people as we can when it comes to politics. With the inclusion of more independent candidates, people aren’t obligated to vote between two candidates.”
It is truly essential that the conditions of how a third party is included are altered to more reasonable terms so that the country can actually vote for a candidate that is in sync with their stances.
“If [the third parties are] heard, then average citizens will have the opportunity to find a candidate more suitable for them. I understand that they will never gain enough of a following to win; however, their presence is enough to sway an election,” said Tjin a Djie.
Hopefully, in the election third party candidates will be able to participate in the presidential debates and the corruption that plagues our country will cease to exist.