Gary Johnson

Growing Media Chorus Says Presidential Debates Are 'Rigged'

Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, L.A. Times, Charlotte Observer and others question the 'integrity' of the bipartisan, Libertarian-thwarting Commission on Presidential Debates

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Yesterday, for a second time, the Chicago Tribune editorialized in favor of letting Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson into the three presidential debates scheduled between Sept. 26 and Oct 19. "The hurdle in Johnson's way," the editorial board correctly observed, "is the terms set by the private, nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates."

Those terms, first announced last October and then further clarified two weeks ago, include averaging 15 percent in five pre-selected national polls as of "mid-September." While the CPD's five polls have heretofore been good to Johnson, averaging 10 percent compared to an overall national average of around 8.5 percent, it's also true that the 15 percent threshold itself is an arbitrary creation of an organization created and staffed by the Democratic and Republican parties, and is so high that, if applied retroactively (the CPD was established in 1987 and began applying the 15 percent criteria in 2000), would have excluded every third-party candidate of the last 44 years with the exception of Ross Perot in 1992. "American voters would benefit from hearing [Johnson's] views," the Tribune concluded. "Let's respect the wishes of a dissatisfied electorate and open up the first general election debate to Johnson. Once on that stage, it will be on him to make his mark."

The World's Greatest Newspaper is hardly alone in casting righteous aspersions in the general direction of the Commission on Presidential Debates. The L.A. Times editorialized three weeks back that blocking Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein "would be a disservice to voters," and contribute to the perception that "the debate system is rigged" by the participants: "Rules that limit participation to Democrats and Republicans, while excluding candidates who have a small-but-not-zero chance of winning might understandably be construed as self-dealing." And the Charlotte Observer was even more blunt: "The election isn't rigged, but the presidential debates seem to be."

If it sounds like the CPD has a problem of basic democratic legitimacy, that's because it does. Over at The Atlantic, Nora Kelly has a well-reported piece spelling out the contentious history of the commission, and concluding:

Third parties and their sympathizers have been arguing for years that this shut-out is deeply unfair. And in 2016, their points resonate more than usual. […]

When voters head to the polls in November, most will see Johnson's and Stein's names listed on their ballots. They can't—and shouldn't have to—hear from every candidate running for president; hundreds of varying degrees of seriousness have filed this cycle. But when an election creates exceptions to every campaign rule, it may be worth reviewing whether debates should have exceptions, too. […]

Perhaps no amount of justification […] will stop third parties from questioning the debates' integrity. And […] they may have a point: The commission released its rules for debates in October 2015, well before the first primary contest. In the ensuing months, Trump has remade the GOP, dooming pre-primary favorites like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Senator Bernie Sanders' backers were legion, and cut into Clinton's support. In a norm-defying election year, perhaps the normal 15 percent threshold doesn't work.

You can expect to hear both old parties and their hand-picked commission lament sadly in the coming weeks that rules are rules, etc. But no one died and made the CPD god of our political discourse, or of our scheduling of presidential debates. (This is one of many reasons why the decision by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to exclude Johnson from its Sept. 7 candidates' forum is so galling.) If Democrats and Republicans insist on blocking out third-party candidates in a year when both of their nominees are historically unpopular and untrusted, and a Libertarian is polling higher at this stage than any third-party candidate since Ross Perot in 1992, then they are inviting Americans to confer upon them even less legitimacy and respect than we already do.

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    1. Gary Johnson opposes religious freedom for small business owners, and supports various statist, politically-correct federal mandates:

      http://libertyunyielding.com/2…..m-charges/

      His Vice Presidential nominee William Weld is a statist, politically-correct progressive troll who supports campus speech codes and opposes repealing Obamacare:

      http://libertyunyielding.com/2…..obamacare/

      1. The best thing you can say about William Weld is that at least he hasn’t called Obama an “Uncle Tom” like Jill Stein’s running mate Ajamu Baraka (yes, that’s his real name).

        1. Maybe Ajamu Baraka knows a thing or to about being an Uncle Tom? 😉

          1. No, he thinks “Je Suis Charlie” is a white supremecist rallying cry. He’s thoroughly established his racialist street cred.

      2. If I recall correctly, Weld claimed that AR-15s and handguns are “weapons of mass destruction” and at the very least considers their availability to civilians to be a problem. Can’t you just taste the libertarian moment?

        1. Weld 2020!

      3. Well, I had zero respect for the CPD, so Now it’s in negative numbers.

    2. While I’m no Johnson fan, I find it sick that you’re joyous over this particular issue. The more parties involved in debates and our national elections the better. Johnson may be a weak candidate, but libertarians ought to be glad for every push to bring new ideas (even Jill Stein’s bullshit) to the public.

      1. He’s all Trump, all the time.

        1. I know it. Does he even pretend to be a libertarian?

          1. He used to. Gave up on it to slobber on Trump’s knob 24/7.

            1. The appeal of a man like Donald Trump, I will never understand. I understand the concept of the “cult of personality”… but Donald Trump? Just bizarre to me.

              1. Trump is the unleashed Id of a certain sort of aggrieved voter; he is victim politics for people who claim to hate victim politics.

                1. Agreed. What I’m fascinated by are the people (acquaintances and friends of mine) who fall into that category… people I’d otherwise never expect it from.

                  1. True. Of course, enthusiastic support of Hillary is no less of a mystery.

                    1. True. Of course, enthusiastic support of Hillary is no less of a mystery.

                      This I chalk up to stupidity. I know no serious-thinking Hillary supporters (personally).

                2. He’s a big orange middle finger, and very little more.

                  1. ^this. He’s popular because his answer to “Are you PC, bro?” is “Fuck off”

                    1. Citizen X|8.30.16 @ 1:35PM
                      “He’s a big orange middle finger, and very little more.”

                      Perfectly succinct. And perfectly accurate.

                      The issues may be complex, and the sources of dissatisfaction numerous, but the response can be simple. As a clear expression of how a LOT of people feel about our government, our developing crony-kleptocracy (all the more horrible for its corrupt prog mask): a big stupid orange middle finger sounds just right. Does to me.

                      I’m really sorry it’s Trump tho. But maybe the gesture would lose some of its’ necessary fuck-youishness if it were delivered by a less repugnant herald.

                3. People see what succeeds in our society, and being a victim is a successful strategy.

                  You get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish.

                  Reward being a victim, and you get more victims.

                  1. ^ This

              2. The only appeal I see for Trump is unleashing him as an attack dog on people I hate even more. Sadly that is just his shtick. He wouldn’t actually bite anyone.

            2. Gave up on it to slobber on Trump’s knob 24/7.

              You should expand this concept into one of your full length slash-fic epics.

              Here, i’ll get it started (not that you need the help):

              “GET BACK DOWN THERE, ‘LIBERTARIAN!'” snarled the hat at SIV after he stopped for a few seconds to catch his breath. “No one told you you could stop sucking,” added the hair…

        2. Which is really funny if you considered that

          a) Trump has little chance of beating Hillary, and being a relatively ideological fascist of the Pinochet variety, is far more a statist fuck than Gay Jay. (I hate to admit this, because my wife has told me she will be enforcing the terms of our bet and she’s betting Hillary beats Trump)

          b) If Trump were to drop out, Gay Jay would kick Hillary’s ass to next Tuesday.

          The only libertarian case for Trump is that it keeps Hillary out of the white house. On that front, Gay Jay beats Trump hands down.

          It’s not like Trump has announced that he is going to get a law passed that preempts state laws and legalizes cock fighting (although given Single Issue Voter’s zeal for Trump, maybe he has inside info that Trump is exactly going to do that).

          1. b) If Trump were to drop out, Gay Jay would kick Hillary’s ass to next Tuesday.

            I had not thought of this, though it should be blatantly obvious. For months we’ve been tossing around the idea that Trump is in the tank for Hillary. What if he’s actually in the tank for Johnson! /asif

          2. I have a lot of sympathy for the reluctant Trump voter. Voting for Trump just to keep Hillary out of the White House is acceptable to me. But the enthusiastic Trump voter just baffles me. And screeching at libertarians for daring to vote for an LP candidate–even a squishy and piss-poor one–is just trolling.

            And don’t worry about the whole “SIV” thing. He’ll have to slink back on the board under a different handle when the worse Democratic nominee ever trounces Daddy.

          3. >Trump has little chance of beating Hillary

            How do you figure? He’s beating Hillary by 3 points in the latest LA Times poll.

            1. ^This is a joke, right?

              1. Um… saying “Trump has little chance” when he is winning in the polls is pretty dumb.

            2. http://www.realclearpolitics.c…..-5952.html

              Trump being ahead in one poll is rather meaningless, Hillary is pretty consistantly leading when all of the polls are averaged together but more importantly the White House is not won with popular vote but rather electoral college votes and when you look at the polling inside each state things look really grim for Trump…

              http://projects.fivethirtyeigh…..-forecast/

              Even though the popular vote split is likely to be under 6% difference and odds are starting to look pretty good that Johnson will more than cover the spread between them it is starting to look like a landslide in favor of Hillary from an electoral college perspective

              1. “winning in the polls”…. one poll.

              2. Johnson will get 1% again if he is lucky.

                If he does somehow make it into the debates he will embarrass himself due to how inarticulate he is.

                1. Until Hillary has another seizure onstage.

              3. “…it is starting to look like a landslide in favor of Hillary from an electoral college perspective”

                Landslide? No way. She might well break 300 electoral votes, but she doesn’t have a prayer of breaking 400, let alone a Reaganesque 500 electoral vote win.

                Indeed, I’d be surprised if Hillary does as well as Bill did in either election. There’s no way she’s winning in a landslide.

                1. I’d call a 330/210 electoral college split a landslide

            3. Hillary’s lead with likely voters is a thin 4% (in the threeway race), and not much higher with registered voters. Its still only August.

              The electoral map is uglier, true. But I still don’t think Hillary has it in the bag.

              1. Unfortunately, she’s got it sewn up. The electoral map is the key (as you point out). Trump alienated so many people (and keeps alienating more) while people who support Hillary are “team players” (as much as I hate them for it) and will vote for her even if it comes out that she’s a lizard-person who has impregnated Huma with her demon spawn which cometh to initiate the apocalypse.

              2. The real comedy would be if Trump won the popular vote while HRC took the electoral vote. 2000 all over again. I’ll start selling the “She’s Not MY President” bumper stickers.

      2. More ideas are a good thing, we agree. But it would be nice if the ideas of the LP were being pushed by someone we can easily identify as a libertarian. Saying he’s better than either Trump/Herself is not a high bar.

        1. I didn’t say that. Any of that, really.

          I’m not voting for Johnson (or anyone, probably). I’m just saying that libertarians should advocate for people to hear more voices, even ones we disagree with.

        2. From what I’ve seen Johnson isn’t just “better than either Trump/Herself”. He’s much, much better. Does anyone really think Johnson will start a new war, start new entitlement spending, raise taxes or increase the total regulatory burden? If so, I’d love to hear the argument why. All of his opponents have already promised to do most, if not all of those things.

          1. There are exceedingly few politicians I could vote for. Gary Johnson isn’t one of them.

            Not sure if you were asking me (you probably weren’t). I just figured I’d throw in my 2 cents, since when it comes to how libertarians vote (or don’t), the options (and reasons why) are myriad.

            1. I can respect someone who doesn’t vote at all because none of the candidates are good enough. But you’ll never convince me that Johnson is anywhere near as bad as his opponents. Frankly, I think he’s hit the sweet spot this time around. Just centrist enough to get attention and not seem too scary, but still pushing ideas that are much more libertarian than the status quo.

          2. Does anyone really think Johnson will start a new war, start new entitlement spending, raise taxes or increase the total regulatory burden?

            No, because i don’t think he stands any chance of actually winning.

            My problem with him is that he doesn’t do jack-squat for selling libertarianism to the broader public as a legitimate political position. He doesn’t state what it is, defend what it actually is, and rationally defend its policy-implications. He COULD do those things and still compromise on his acknowledged policy-position – but at least he’d do some good for other libertarians in the process.

            If anything he makes actual libertarians seem more “extreme” and “irrelevant” for their stubborn inability to ‘compromise’ on popular liberty-encroachments like gun control, social-justice-influenced compelled-speech, social-engineering via taxation, etc..

            1. I think you make a good point, GILMORE. The evaluation you put a protest candidate through is quite different than that of a candidate with an ice cube’s chance in hell of winning.

              Conservatives have been talking for 25 years about how there hasn’t really been a national-level political candidate who could “naturally” speak conservatism since Reagan. This is even more important for a protest candidate.

              Libertarians have a similar issue this election. We’re used to Ron Paul, who could naturally speak libertarianism (even if he didn’t have the oratory/political skills to appeal to a wide audience). Rand was the hope for the “compromise.” He’s shown that he can still naturally speak libertarianism, but he has sanded down some of his dad’s rough edges. Unfortunately he played his cards wrong and was out early.

              Then the LP had 3 candidates, each with their own flaws. We had the lunatic purist, the rookie conservatarian, and the 90s retread centrist. Out of those three choices, the LP made the absolute worst choice for either a protest vote or a legitimate winning ticket. The lunatic purist, while a rehash of the negatives of the Ron Paul candidacies, could at least naturally speak libertarian. The rookie conservatarian, while polarizing and unpolished, could at least naturally speak libertarian. The 90s retread centrist speaks libertarian as if it has been through google translate three times.

              1. The evaluation you put a protest candidate through is quite different than that of a candidate with an ice cube’s chance in hell of winning.

                Yes. If a guy had even a fraction of a chance, a la Rand Paul… i’d be far more willing to swallow a lot of concessions and pandering and “pretending to be part of TEAM RED” and all the other shit he did.

                Some other people here were not. I pointed this out at the time, and also pointed it out re: Gary in the last 6 months.

                Meaning = during the fall of 2015… a lot of people made the same gripes about Rand that i’m making about Gary. People were demanding ‘purism’ from him when (as i argued) he was least capable of actually delivering it if he were to be expected to have a chance at winning the primaries.

                Yet people seem far more willing to cut Gay Jay slack, hand-wave away his weaksauce demopublican policy proposals, as “necessary” to…. well, achieve a minor improvement in LP popularity which will *still* be doomed to failure (and at best, provide some ‘extra funds’ for the next run in 2020)

                I personally wish people (and this magazine) had been more Gung Ho about Rand in the early days (and provided less bullshit coverage for trump), and been more flexible about understanding the compromises he was going to inevitably made in any GOP primary run. But for whatever reason, i’m in the minority on that.

                1. It’s because you obviously have a Randian bias that most don’t.

                  From where I sit, Gary’s compromises on matters of principle are issues which would be a losing battle anyway, but he stands firm on things which are still contentious, such as gun control.

                  Rand compromised whenever his social conservatism was threatened, and these are issues where his compromise did not align him with the default winning position of the times.

                  Gary isn’t perfect, but I honestly prefer him as a human being to Ran Paul.

          3. Does anyone really think Johnson will start a new war, start new entitlement spending, raise taxes or increase the total regulatory burden?

            No, maybe, maybe, yes.

            -I believe his pacifism.
            -I don’t know what to believe on entitlements. I think he came out pro-basic income, which strikes me as a statist solution to a statist problem. I haven’t heard much talk about how he’d fix obamacare, but I may have missed it.
            -I don’t know what to believe on taxes. He eventually seems to get to the right answer, but the carbon tax thing put a bad taste in my mouth.
            -I think he’d increase the total regulatory burden because he’s all in on the “BAKE THE CAKE, BIGOT” movement. It takes rules and regulations and bureaucrats to force all those sky daddy worshipping bigots to bake cakes for those right-thinking trannies and homos. He’s also running with a gun grabber, so it wouldn’t shock me to see gun restrictions of some sort, especially after the next mass shooting.

        3. It is never the less a compelling idea. I agree that both “mainstream” candidates suck. So why bitch if the third place guys suck a lot less. This is like an ugly contest, they can all be ugly, but you if you have to pick one, you pick the least ugly. It’s going to be that with two candidates anyways, so you might as well get on board that train.

        4. Yeah the thing is Johnson is not just better than Trump or Hillary, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz were both better than either Trump or Hillary as was pretty much every other character in the field. Even horrible candidates like Chris Christie look good in comparison to Trump and Hillary.

          The thing about Johnson is that while no, he is not a great example of a libertarian and neither is Weld either of them is significantly better than anyone else who ran short of Rand Paul who is himself not a great example of a libertarian.

          On a hypothetical scale for politicians that goes from 1 – 10, Trump and Hillary are both 1’s, Sanders and Cruz are 3’s, everyone else that ran ranks somewhere between a 2 and a 5 except Rand Paul who comes in at a 7, Johnson and Weld are both in the 6 – 7 range as well.

          They are not just better than Trump and Hillary they are significantly better than any other candidate who ran with the possible exception of 1 and better than any candidate who ran for either major party in the last 2 decades except for maybe 2 (both Pauls)

          1. Rand Paul who comes in at a 7, Johnson and Weld are both in the 6 – 7 range as well

            Wow, I guess that’s where the disconnect is. I agree with Rand at a 7, but I would’ve put Johnson at a 4-5 and Weld at a 2. Hillary at a 1, Bernie and Trump at a 2, Cruz at a 4, the others being between a 2 and 4.

          2. I like the way you’ve laid out your scale. I too would love to run a libertarian that’s a 10 and knows how to make that non-scary. And I also think Gary could be a solid 8 or so without losing a single vote from where he is now, if he was just a little more nimble in defense of liberty when pressed on social justice issues. So I get the complaints about him, and I get preferring McAfee or Petersen, but it’s just ludicrous to not acknowledge how much more liberty-friendly he is than Trump and Clinton.

          3. Chris Christie? Let’s not get carried away.

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        1. You?

          1. Look, it’s SugarFree’s friend Tulpa!

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    4. “No one died and made the CPD god of our political discourse, or of our scheduling of presidential debates.”

      A few people died and they are the gods of political discourse, or of our scheduling of presidential debates. But the remainder are elderly and will die soon. The GOP will have to adapt or die. Hopefully, they’ll die soon, but if Nixon didn’t kill them, it seems unlikely. Nevertheless, hurry up and DIFY old fucks.

  1. “If Democrats and Republicans insist on blocking out third-party candidates in a year when both of their nominees are historically unpopular and untrusted, and a Libertarian is polling higher at this stage than any third-party candidate since Ross Perot in 1992, then they are inviting Americans to confer upon them even less legitimacy and respect than we already do.”

    And there you have it – the CPD only has such power as you give to it.

    To the extent the public realizes it’s just a tentacle of the duopoly, then they’ll only pay attention to their joint press conferences if they’re already predisposed to think in binary terms about the elections. And I wouldn’t deny the right of the duopoly and its supporters to hold joint press conferences – it’s the First Amendment at work!

    But to the extent that people get the impression the CPD is some quasi-official Guardian of the Electoral Process, then of course they need to be disabused of this illusion as fast as possible.

    Without becoming political junkies, Joe and Mrs. Six-Pack ought to pay *some* attention to the various candidates, including the “third party” options.

    And the third-party candidates should try to make news by challenging the duopolists to debate and making a loud fuss when they refuse. I’ve given some suggestions along these lines before.

    But the CPD is so 20th century, it’s time to bypass and ignore them. Buh-bye.

    1. The common American doesn’t understand why we have a two party system, but it’s driven into their minds that we do, and that it can only ever be that way. Most people are too lazy to think for themselves and realize that the two parties are the ones telling them that only the two parties can win (so they can both play the “us” vs. “them” game…. a much easier game to win).

      1. Well that and FPTP SMD.

        1. Can you imagine if we had a ranking system (made even better if “none” was an option), like MVP voting? Imagine if Gay Jay or “none” was the 2nd highest vote getter (something I’d imagine is quite plausible).

          Sigh. Dreams.

          1. Run Off would be a massive improvement on its own.

            On the other hand: oh my god another election cycle.

          2. Long ago there was a campaign to include none of the above on the ballot. It would have been too expensive for the Republicrats.

  2. So, in short, to heck with Gary Johnson and his defeatist “Game Over.”

    Why is he waiting on the duopolists to confer legitimacy on him? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the point of his challenge, or am I missing something?

    1. I don’t think you’re missing anything. My Dad always told me “never try to beat a man at his own game”. There’s no future in just playing along with the system.

      1. “Oh, so close, but the pea is under the *other* cup! Wanna try again?”

        1. It’s under Hillary’s blanket.

  3. Jill Stein doesn’t have a “small-but-not-zero chance of winning”, she has zero chance of winning, and it’s not credible to imply otherwise.

    If you’re going to let her in, you have to let in all the other fringe party joke candidates too. Otherwise, what you’re truly arguing is that you want to set your own arbitrary criteraia in place of the already existing arbitrary criteria.

    1. “Jill Stein doesn’t have a “small-but-not-zero chance of winning”, she has zero chance of winning, and it’s not credible to imply otherwise.”

      How can you say that? She tied Harambe!

      http://thehill.com/blogs/ballo…..z-in-texas

      1. Harambe – Deez Nuts 2016! Make America grate cheese again!

        1. Romano? I’m all in.

    2. This is a pet peeve of mine, or maybe more like a domesticated peeve, but still.

      Jill Stein is officially on the ballot in 38 states worth 451 electoral votes.

      Gary Johnson is officially on the ballot in 47 states worth 519 electoral votes.

      A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win.

      You might not THINK either one can win, but you cannot truthfully or accuratrely say that either one CAN’T win.

      Lots of people CAN’T win: me, you, everyone commenting in this thread, but Jill Stein and Gary Johnson most certainly CAN win if only enough people vote for them.

      Fuck you and your cartel.

      1. But she’s not on my tEaM!!

      2. And there is your non arbitrary criteria…

        Any candidate on enough state ballots to at least in theory claim more than 270 electoral college votes has to be admitted to the debates.

        And it is not like that gets you a clown car of candidates, with that criteria there would be between 3 and 5 qualifying candidates in any given Presidential election

  4. I’m still confused as how an organization that is run by a committee consisting solely of members of two political parties is “non-partisan”. I don’t think the word means what you think it means.

    1. Does the Commission itself consider itself “nonpartisan” or “bipartisan”? Because I suspect some reporters are conflating the meaning of those terms as rhetorical ploy.

  5. Bob Dole and Michael Dukakis had zero chance of winning. But I guess when you’re the nominee of a “major” party it doesn’t matter how lame you are.

  6. Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, L.A. Times, Charlotte Observer and others

    I’m going to take a wild guess that the NYT and WaPo aren’t among the “others”.

    They’re still waiting for the decision from the Clinton camp? i presume when they get their orders they’ll editorialize appropriately.

    1. Johnson takes more votes from Hillary than from Trump. The only reason the LA Times and Chicago Tribune feel safe mentioning Johnson is because Hillary has already locked up California and Illinois.

    2. Johnson’s inclusion can only help Clinton. Don’t let these people fool you with false talk of the spoiler taking votes equally. No otherwise reliable D voter is going to pull the lever for GeeJay on Election Day. BANK ON IT, DUMMIES.

  7. Just prepare yourselves.

    Like Welch says, the people making the rules on this are the DNC and RNC, themselves, and they have nothing to gain by helping the Libertarian Party.

    Even if Gary jumps through whatever flaming hoops they set up for him, they have little or nothing to lose by screwing him out of the debates anyway.

    What are they gonna lose, their credibility? The DNC is Hillary’s campaign staff. It’s been that way since Bill Clinton was in the White House. They don’t have any credibility to lose!

    Maybe the RNC will stick up for Gary since they hate Trump so much, but in all honesty, if there’s anybody the Republican establishment hates more than Trump, isn’t it Libertarians? We’re worse than the Tea Party!

    1. the people making the rules on this are the DNC and RNC, themselves, and they have nothing to gain by helping the Libertarian Party.

      I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

      I think Clinton *would* potentially benefit from Johnson on a debate stage. 1) because the less she needs to say, the better, and 2) anyone that attacks Trump from the ‘right’ is an asset, and 3) he presents little real credible threat to her on ‘character attacks’ i may be wrong on that last point, but i suspect they would get him to promise to ‘stick to issues’

      and i think people in the Clinton camp are weighing that possibility. but i don’t think it will happen.

      1. GayJay is drawing more from Clinton than from Trump in the polls, though. It’s possible that he’s mostly taking Republican defectors, but it’s still support she can’t really afford to lose.

        1. GayJay is drawing more from Clinton than from Trump in the polls, though.

          I don’t put much stock in that sort of polling.

          Also, i think she can afford to lose a bunch of bernie types were were never going to vote for trump anyway. What she loses to him would otherwise be staying home. Votes he draws away from trump is “opposition that has been neutralized”.

    2. Wouldn’t this be an ideal scenario? Johnson get publically screwed, kept out of the debates and sending even more people into the “ANYthing but this shit” camp (which is currently HUGE), and avoiding an embarrassingly weak presentation of “Libertarianism-Lite”. Then the LP comes back in ’20 with a stronger, more libertarian candidate and residual sympathy as “those guys the pols screwed over last time”. It will be expected that they/we will present an actual alternative to the Janus-faced corruptocrats in our single political party. Done right, people, minus the

  8. While the CPD’s five polls have heretofore been good to Johnson

    You know who else is good to Johnson?

    1. Urologists?

    2. Warty’s mother?

    3. top 4 anticipated answers =

      – Lady Bird
      These guys
      – Sonny Crockett
      – Combo-therapy AIDS drugs

    4. It’s too bad Johnson didn’t run with Anthony Weiner.

      Because then it would have been Johnson/Weiner.

      1. Would hate to see any hard position Johnson/Weiner might take.
        Johnson says “We take a firm stance…”
        Weiner says “We will rise to the occasion…”

    5. Winston’s mom?

    6. You know who else is good to Johnson?

      My wife. God Bless ‘er.

  9. Libertarians, the people who you can count on to count out.

  10. 10% would be more realistic. 5% would be on the mark.

  11. I’m still confused as how an organization that is run by a committee consisting solely of members of two political parties is “non-partisan”.

    Stop being obtuse. Next you’ll be yammering about people getting rich from nonprofit foundations.

    1. Nonpartisan, bipartisan. Potato, Potahto. Right?

  12. Fine, CPD. I bet none of the above is polling at over 15%. Got room on the platform for Barfman?

  13. Meh. Between GayJay’s mealy-mouthed portrayal of libertarianism, his refusal to say anything negative about Clinton, and the likelihood of questions like “All you do is smoke the pots!” and “What about ROADZ???”, it’s probably for the best that he sits this out.

    1. his refusal to say anything negative about Clinton,

      Actually, i thought just this past week Gary decided to attack Clinton on her ethical-weaknesses. Was it a delusion? I seem to recall it was part of the GayJay2.0 Reboot that included his ‘refined’ view on Carbon Taxes (“It was never a tax, and i’m against them now anyway”) and mandatory vaccines.

      While earlier in the year, Johnson insisted he “wasn’t a stone-thrower“…. last week he decided to call Trump a “Fascist” and insist that Clinton was involved in “pay-to-play”-schemes

      just saying.

  14. The Democratic and Republican Parties have the same free speech rights as any other organizations, up to and including running meaningless sideshows like the debates for the promotion of their candidates.

    Stop thinking of the debates as some essential element of democratic civics and recognize them instead for what they are, just another form of political advertising.

    1. This is fair. But, it’s also sad. It’s sad because Americans are too stupid to see the con. They don’t know that the two parties work together to keep anyone else from playing the game (unless they play by their rules, and pretty much become a part of one or the other). Once the two parties successfully recreate the Jets vs. the Sharks, the average twit can’t think fourth dimensionally and see that they have other options.

      Granted, this has been going on for forever, but it’s no less disappointing that with the various media outlets we have today that people can’t access that part of their brains that shows them they don’t actually have to stick with their team, if they disagree with most of what they say.

    2. Yes, and we sure as hell need the advertising. I wish we had a better talker than Johnson running, but neither Trump nor Clinton is a great speaker so he actually has a chance to score some points and get some people who might not otherwise have considered libertarianism to look into it.

      1. Your “need” for advertising does not override someone else’s right to exclude you from their advertisement.

  15. If only they were talking about debates, not joint press conferences designed to stroke the ego of some has been media personality; then I might care a little bit. If this really really bothers you, jump on the web and organize a boycott of the debates. Get the viewer numbers down to less than any candidate’s disapproval numbers, and just maybe someone will pay attention. But I would not bet on it. Most of the people I know actually do research on all the party positions, and check to see if by chance the candidates mention anything similar in their speeches, and then decide how to vote. So far, Willie Nelson in a landslide, followed by the much indited John Doe.

  16. These are not “our” debates. There is no legal requirement that there should be debates or that any candidate has a legal right to participate and all have a legal right to not participate if they see the conditions of a debate do not favor them. They are not are not a formal part if our election processes. To assume they are is assuming a collective right to private media.

  17. Is johnson still pulling about equally from trump and clinton? Last time that data was published was shortly after the DNC if i remember correctly. I imagine a lot of bernie bros have swallowed their pride and sided with clinton since then, so it wouldnt surprise me if new data came out showing johnson pulling more from trump than clinton.

    Just speculating, I dont have the means to look myself at the moment.

  18. Growing Media Chorus Says Presidential Debates Are ‘Rigged’

    I don’t get it… the people who run, promote and administer the debates are screaming that it’s rigged?

    Isn’t this as dumb as Michelle Obama holding up a sign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls while sport sad face? Hey, Michelle, you want to BringBackOurGirls, how ’bout you look across the dinner table and talk to that guy?

    1. “Isn’t this as dumb as Michelle Obama holding up a sign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls while sport sad face? Hey, Michelle, you want to BringBackOurGirls, how ’bout you look across the dinner table and talk to that guy?”

      If you’re going to use Bill Burr’s line, you should at least give him credit.

      1. I couldn’t remember where I heard it. Yes, that was Bill Burr.

    2. It’s as dumb as a couple of Bill Clinton era DLC democrats pretending that they’re libertarians.!

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  20. Gary Johnson can’t win, so nobody has anything to gain by having him take up valuable time on the debate stage that could otherwise be used to expose Trump as a brainless insult-comic gasbag to the widest audience yet.

      1. The Hive of Scum approves this message.

    1. Trump can’t win at this point. Johnson/Weld have a better chance to win the center and put together a winning coalition, if Republicans get behind them now. A vote for Trump is a wasted vote.

  21. Hillary may be a criminal… but she’s our criminal.

  22. It’s unlikely that Clinton isn’t going to script all the questions as well as how they are asked and what the moderators’ approach will be. A safe bet is that Hillary will be allowed to vent and say whatever she likes for as long as she wants and any Trump rebuttal will be shouted down by the moderators immediately. Libertarians may be irritated that she won’t permit Johnson to appear at all but it’s moot point. Johnson would muzzled, insulted, browbeaten.

  23. The CPD is an illegitimate child of the Republican and Democratic parties and is a scourge on American democracy.

    So what – there are plenty of those around.

    The astonishment is that the ‘media,’ whatever that is, has given them a free pass since 1988, instead of a quick boot in the ass and a rugged escort to the door that exits to the alley where a small coterie of petty hoodlums waits for their next free lunch.

    Why the ‘media’ is so willing to pretend the CPD is a legitimate organization requires a conspiracy theory.

    I don’t have one, but I do know this:

    1) The CPD claimed for years that the debates were funded by large corporations, to the extent even Ralph Nader fell for that line,

    2) In 2012 I proved the ‘funded by corporations’ claim wrong, using data from the CPD’s own tax returns, 3 of their 10 ‘National Debate Sponsors quickly withdrew with sponsorships,

    3) The CPD immediately changed their story, claiming the debates were funded by the universities that host the debates, to the tune of $2 million each,

    4) I can prove, today, using data from the CPD’s own tax returns, that is demonstrably untrue.

    So, ‘media’, WTF are you not asking the CPD to come clean about exactly where the money comes from. It’s easy. They’re a 501(c)(3). Just demand transparency – what you would expect from any other organization exercising such power over the American electoral scene.

    After all, if they are and always have been truly non-partisan, what is there to hide?

    1. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but what would the CPD’s motivation be to lie about its sources of funding?

  24. Putting aside the selection of partcipants, I know the GOP primary was rigged. It wasn’t a debate – not even close – it was a Q & A session – with the questions blatantly prejudiced.

  25. As I wrote in an open letter to the CPD in 2012 , http://cosy.com/Liberty/y2012/OpenLtr2CPD2012.html , the CPD violates its own mission statement

    to “provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners .”

  26. In the U.S.A we are getting Hillary for President whether we like it, or not.
    Just accept it, move on, and rebel in any way possible.
    I will be holding my nose, and voting for the two moderate “Democrats” Johnson, and Weld. Just to put a “Libertarian” foot in the door.

      1. Since the LP adopted a shortened “good Faith” version of the GOP and Mohammedan abortion plank, there are not very many women left in the party. Those remaining could perhaps be driven away by an even-handed Good Faith plank opposed to government subsidies for public stoning of women, and letting local option handle the matter. In fact, the new plank against “government” death sentences may be the opening wedge for just such an additional Christian+Muslim plank for 2018. The ku-klux and suicide bomber vote is evidently Job One for the current platform committee.

    1. Your spoiler vote will repeal bad laws, lower taxes and influence Supreme Court decisions. The Wizened Christian Temperance Union, Prohi Party and communist Populist spoiler votes all influenced these things in a bad way from Reconstruction to 1972. Now it’s our turn.

  27. Vote for Clinton, she’ll invade the entire middle east and rebuilt their nations so they could have a Starbucks on every corner.

  28. Gary Johnson could probably get to 15 percent if he displayed some Commander in Chief credibility. His lack of national security/foreign policy vision is really starting to grate.

    Anti-interventionism, OK, but then what. He can’t keep repeating that awkward “less safe as opposed to…” line every time he is asked about ISIS. Let Russia and China handle everything? Isn’t that already the Obama doctrine?

    The libertarian “purists” may not care about national security, but that is a major deal breaker for persuadable Republicans and Democrats.

    1. Is that why the GOP nominated Trump?

      1. The klan and its televangelists nominated The Don. The Go-Pee simply shoveled on an extra 800 words shrieking about Jezebel and Planned Parenthood letting painted whores have reproductive choice and individual rights. This way they can say “it’s the voters’ fault” like they did with the sand Kenyan serving two terms.

    2. Izzat why the soldiers prefer Gary? Or is that all a “liberal plutocrat” lie that never happened?

  29. The commission is a non-government entity put together, and paid for by, the Democrat and Republican parties. They are 100% in the clear on Free Association grounds to arbitrarily set their own rules and exclude whoever they want.

    So while folks can try to shame them and say they should let Johnson play, there’s nothing “righteous” about it. You are, of course, free to host your own debate and invite whoever you like. And if Trump and Clinton decide to not show up to your shin-dig? That’s Free Association as well.

    To make a long story short: part of Free Association is not having to give air time to people you don’t want to give airtime to. So while you don’t have to like it, don’t pretend that some injustice is going on.

    1. So why not set up a competitor, complete with Nolan Chart questions?

  30. Didn’t Candy Crowley let this cat out of the bag four years ago?

  31. I’m disappointed in this thread. I thought you guys were smarter than this. I only read REASON for the comments anyway, since the writers have cosmo’d themselves into near-uselessness.

    Johnson has demonstrated that he has zero principles and zero character. If he were somehow elected President, he would cave to the Democrats on every issue. In fact, Trump would probably be a more libertarian President than Johnson, solely because of his willingness to give the finger to the Democrats.

    Trump has done a pretty good job of positioning himself as an isolationist and America-Firster, which is a welcome change from the Democrats. Immigration? It’s all very well and good if you ALREADY have a libertarian society with no welfare state. But under present circumstances, immigration is a recipe for permanent one-party rule. I think many libertarians have already figured this out.

    The good thing about Johnson is that he’s obviously courting Hillary voters rather than Trump voters. Enough of the “NeverTrump” crowd might vote for Johnson to swing the election.

    I am the author of LOKI’S CHILD from Castalia House.

    1. Yawn… another Trump Go-Pee-In-A-Dixie-Cup prohibitionist in here to sermonize for cops killing teens, the war and liquor lobby and the coathanger abortion industry. Has one of these assholes ever ONCE pointed to a platform plank?

  32. Correction: welcome change from the neoconservatives.

  33. You can hold a debate, but you can’t make them speak. What happens when the candidates refuse to come? They sign a contract with the Commission; does it have an “out” if Johnson is in? This is how they do it:

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  35. It is pretty much the media that rigs the debates. By asking the questions the can determine the issues and the outlines of the debate. What should happen is something like describe what the domestic and foreign policies you favor and how they differ from your opponents. Give each five minutes to talk, then let each rebut what they said in five minutes. Then three minute responses. Total time 26 minutes. Wash repeat.

  36. It is pretty much the media that rigs the debates. By asking the questions the can determine the issues and the outlines of the debate. What should happen is something like describe what the domestic and foreign policies you favor and how they differ from your opponents. Give each five minutes to talk, then let each rebut what they said in five minutes. Then three minute responses. Total time 26 minutes. Wash repeat.

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  41. The Chicago Tribune was the 1920s Republican paper that most strenuously opposed prohibition. It called attention to how stock market crashes accompanied big busts and enforcement drives and sarcastically published communist posters extolling “prohibition for the masses” to rile up religious bigots. The suburb of Cicero sits at the Corn Products Refining Argo plant, and the old Domino sugar plant was on the canal between Argo and The Loop. Chicago Heights, right across from the American Maize corn sugar factory at Gary, Indiana (likewise littered with dead bootleggers), was another center of corn sugar warfare. Some 97% of all alcohol consumed under prohibition came from glucose corn sugar and yeast producers, all of which became immensely wealthy. Asset-forfeiture republicanism ended that by destroying the economy, and George Waffen Bush replayed that Crash and Depression scenario in his second term.

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