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Libertarian Party Gets Victory in Suit Aimed at the Partisanship of Commission on Presidential Debates

Federal Election Commission ordered by judge to give more serious considerations to arguments about the Commission on Presidential Debates' partisanship and criteria for admitting third party candidates.

The Libertarian Party, and fellow plaintiffs, won a victory in federal court this week in the case of Level the Playing Field v. FEC. (The full background of the case can be read from reporting here when it was first assigned its day in court and when the oral arguments occurred.)

Gary Johnson FacebookGary Johnson Facebook

To quote from my previous reporting summing up what was at issue in the lawsuit, which while technically against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is ultimately targeting the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) for locking out third parties while pretending to be nonpartisan, the L.P. and its co-plaintiffs claim that:

the CPD has always been a deliberate duopoly for the two major parties and has "been violating FECA and FEC regulations limiting debate-sponsoring organizations' ability to use corporate funds to finance their activities" since its efforts are not truly "nonpartisan."

The suit accuses the FEC of "refus[ing] to enforce the law and ignored virtually all of this evidence in conclusorily dismissing the complaints even though there is plainly reason to believe that the CPD is violating FECA...."...

"The Court should...direct the FEC to do its job, which is to enforce the law and put an end to the CPD's biased, anti-democratic, and fundamentally corrupt and exclusionary polling rule."

Judge Tayna Chutkan in U.S. District Court for D.C. agreed with the L.P. and others that the FEC was derelict in its duties when it blithely refused to act on the those complaints about the CPD.

Plaintiffs allege that the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") has violated the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA").... in dismissing two administrative complaints regarding the CPD and in denying a petition to engage in rulemaking to change the FEC's regulations regarding debate staging organizations.

Judge Chutkan explains how CPD's operations should be affected by the FEC and its enforcement of election finance law:

The debate staging regulation...acts as an exemption to the general ban on corporate contributions to or expenditures on behalf of political campaigns or candidates. To prevent debate staging organizations such as the CPD from operating as conduits for corporate contributions made to benefit only one or two candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties—via the much-watched prime-time debates—the regulations require these organizations to (1) be nonpartisan, (2) not endorse, support, or oppose candidates or campaigns, and (3) use pre-established, objective criteria.

If a debate staging organization fails to comply with the regulations, such as failing to use objective criteria in determining which candidates participate in its debates, then the value of the debate is actually a contribution or expenditure made to the participating political campaigns in violation of the Act.

The Act provides that any person who believes a violation of the Act has occurred may file an administrative complaint with the FEC...

The L.P. and its co-plaintiffs filed such a complaint in September 2014, as well as "a Petition for Rulemaking with the FEC [that] asked the FEC...to specifically bar debate staging organizations from using a polling threshold as the sole criterion for accessing general election presidential and vice-presidential debates."

They were not satisfied with the FEC's reaction, leading to the current lawsuit "challenging the dismissal of their administrative complaint...and the agency's decision not to engage in rulemaking" about the debate threshold.

Judge Chutkan agrees that the FEC did a shoddy and careless job in actually considering and reacting to the arguments and evidence the L.P. and others presented about the potential partisanship of CPD, and thus:

the court cannot defer to the FEC's analysis and further concludes that the FEC acted arbitrarily and capriciously and contrary to law when it determined that the CPD did not endorse, support, or oppose political parties in the 2012 election....On remand, the FEC is ORDERED to articulate its analysis in determining whether the CPD endorsed, supported, or opposed political parties or candidates....

....the FEC must demonstrate how it considered the evidence, particularly, but not necessarily limited to, the newly-submitted evidence of partisanship and political donations and the expert analyses regarding fundraising and polling.

As for the argument that the CPD's 15 percent polling requirement for third party access is not properly objective and is in fact clearly designed to privilege major parties, Judge Chutkan:

GRANTS Plaintiffs' motion....as to whether the FEC's analysis of the criterion's objectivity was arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law. While the court cannot and does not mandate that the FEC reach a different conclusion on remand, the court notes that the weight of Plaintiffs' evidence is substantial, and the FEC must demonstrate that it actually considered the full scope of this evidence, including the CPD chairmen's and directors' partisan political activity and the expert reports, as well as explain how and why it rejected this evidence in deciding that the CPD's polling requirement is an objective criterion

Judge Chutkan spells out that the L.P. and its co-plaintiffs:

clearly argued, and attempts to establish with significant evidence, that in presidential elections CPD's polling threshold is being used subjectively to exclude independent and third-party candidates, which has the effect of allowing corporations to channel money to the CPD's expenditures to the C campaigns they would be prohibited from giving the campaigns directly.

It further argued and presented evidence that polling thresholds are particularly unreliable and susceptible to this type of subjective use at the presidential level, undermining the FEC's stated goal of using "objective criteria to avoid the real or apparent potential for a quid pro quo, and to ensure the integrity and fairness of the process." In its Notice, the FEC brushed these arguments aside....

Judge Chutkan is thus demanding the FEC do a better job actually grappling with those arguments. This does not mean that the CPD is on the ropes or will somehow instantly be required to either give up its firewall against third parties or stop taking in the corporate bucks.

But it does mean the FEC is going to have to come up with convincing reasons why the CPD isn't bipartisan rather than nonpartisan and why the CPD's debate inclusion criteria are fair and objective and not partisan. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Via the always indispensable Ballot Access News.

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  • Just Say'n||

    It would have been great if Johnson won! We could have had another Souter on the court! Instead we have to settle for Gorsuch who actually believes in limiting the size and scope of the government. Ill

    http://hotair.com/archives/201.....k-garland/

  • SIV||

    I was hoping for a do-over.

  • chemjeff||

    Perhaps this is the ultimate victory of 2016 for the LP. If in 2020 a fuller range of candidates are on the debate stage, that would be a good thing.

  • Robert||

    Except...if they do, then one or both of the major candidates will abstain, and there'll be no media, which means the debates won't happen.

  • Lee wishes he made the list...||

    I'm all for it if the LP can nominate someone who won't make an ass of themselves on stage.

  • robc||

    Why should the LP be any different from the RP and the DP?

  • Rebel Scum||

    OT: Lefties remain unhinged

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-g.....oup-trump/

    The Independent article partially drew from a New York Daily News story from this week titled, "President Trump exhibits classic signs of mental illness, including 'malignant narcissism,' shrinks say."

    "Narcissism impairs his ability to see reality," Dr. Julie Futrell, a clinical psychologist, told the newspaper while pointing out that she never actually treated Trump.

    Yea, we've never had a Narcissist in Chief before... Seriously, I don't get it. The Don is not the ideal president. But I have yet to see/hear anything from him that makes him especially dangerous.

  • Lee wishes he made the list...||

    Julie graduated with her degree in 2014. I'm certain she's a reliable judge of mental illness.

  • Konima||

    You're going to have a difficult time convincing anyone that Donald Trump doesn't has serious psychological issues. Politicians in general are narcissists, but Donald Trump is a delusional, ill-educated narcissist. He's said a litany of things which would lead one to believe he is especially dangerous, we simply hope and pray he wasn't serious about them.

  • Konima||

    Expounding further as to why is narcissism is especially fucked up and detached from reality... The man was orange, and had piss colored, crazy person hair. I'm all for individuality, but that shit is something I can't get over. A man of sound mind does not look like Donald Trump.

  • John Titor||

    "The fact that he dresses and presents himself in a way I don't like means he's a narcissist."

    I'm not sure which is worse on the internet, Armchair Psychologists, Armchair Generals or Armchair Historians.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Armchair quarterbacks.

  • Konima||

    Never question or criticize those in power, right?

  • kbolino||

    Never question or criticize those in power, right?

    If the emperor is wearing no clothes and you tell him he's a doo-doo head with a funny beard, you're both technically criticizing him and also saying nothing of any consequence.

  • kbolino||

    A man of sound mind does not look like Donald Trump.

    I'm not sure what I find more surprising, that so many people are so petty, or that pettiness is now supposed to pass off as intelligent thought.

  • John Titor||

    No but don't you see kbolino, if you don't conform to Konima's definition of a nice appearance it means you have psychological problems! I mean, the fact that someone thinks their personal, subjective visual judgement of a person indicates that isn't reflective of narcissistic tendencies at all...

  • Konima||

    You'll look bat in embarrassment at the time wasted defending a man incapable of constructing a sentence above the third grade reading level.

    I apologize if I offended you by making a realistic assessment of your messiah. You might want to call in to work if you're too emotionally devastated. Take some time off.

  • John Titor||

    Yes yes, if we don't accept blindly your idiotic arguments and nod in agreement we're all Trump supporters, the argument of an intellectual dunce.

    Here's what you should actually do if you want to make this argument: consult the DSM-5 and justify your argument in actual clinical characteristics of narcissism, it's not that hard. Don't go "DUR Trump looks stupid so he's a narcissist".

  • Konima||

    My idiotic arguments? What big words you use. I could point to his distorted self image. I could point to his intellectual deficiencies. I could point to his lack of self control. I could point to his pathological lying. (Most politicians do this as well, but Trump is the first I've seen who actually seems to buy into the reality that he puts forth.) I could point to roughly a hundred or so examples that would prove all of the aforementioned, and I'm sure that you're already aware of them.

    I don't need technical definitions from a psychology handbook to discuss that which is self-evident. Even if I did include technical definitions, you'd no doubt ignore that with challenges your preconceptions regarding reality and move on to building the next straw man. You've yet to even attempt to refute anything I've said, falling back on shallow rhetoric that might demonstrate you have a similar mental makeup to your dear leader. Interesting.

  • John Titor||

    Refute anything you've said? The only evidence you've provided is "look at the way he presents himself". Which is not actually an indicator of narcissism in itself and your emotional bias is clearly apparent. My shallow rhetoric? Guess what, "Trump is a narcissist, look at how he presents himself" is profoundly shallow. I've provided you with an easy way to justify your argument and all you do is scream that I have to accept your current petty, lazy one.

    And it's hilarious that you're lecturing me on strawmen when you constantly assert that the only reason someone won't accept your garbage argumentation is because they think Trump is their messiah. I'm Canadian genius.

  • kbolino||

    Yes, he's my messiah because I think criticizing his hair is petty. Right...

  • Konima||

    You might have a point if his hair were something natural that he was essentially stuck with. His hair is the creation of his mind, and thusly a manifestation of it.

  • kbolino||

    His hair is the creation of his mind, and thusly a manifestation of it.

    That's super-cool Dr. Freud but why don't you lay off the opium, it makes you say stupid shit that's divorced from experimentation and has no predictive power.

  • Konima||

    "That's super-cool Dr. Freud but why don't you lay off the opium, it makes you say stupid shit that's divorced from experimentation and has no predictive power."

    You've yet to refute anything I've said, rather resorting to insults that sound as if they were spawned from kids bitching at each other during recess. Congratulations on the internet-equivalent of concession.

  • kbolino||

    Oh, boy. Yours is the superior intellect? But you can't even recognize that the arguments you're employing are drawn from Freudian psychology. I'm not calling you names, although I may start, I'm saying Freud was a hack and your application of his pseudoscientific quackery is bunk. But please, continue to demonstrate how shallow your own intelligence is.

  • Konima||

    "Oh, boy. Yours is the superior intellect? But you can't even recognize that the arguments you're employing are drawn from Freudian psychology. I'm not calling you names, although I may start, I'm saying Freud was a hack and your application of his pseudoscientific quackery is bunk. But please, continue to demonstrate how shallow your own intelligence is."

    At least you're putting in a semi-honest effort now. Pointing out visible verbal and physical manifestations of one's mental health is not specific to a line of reasoning that would be constrained to being Freudian.

  • kbolino||

    Pointing out visible verbal and physical manifestations of one's mental health is not specific to a line of reasoning that would be constrained to being Freudian.

    It doesn't matter what you call it, its predictive power is nonexistent. Moreover, using excessive verbiage doesn't change the fact that you're fundamentally just being petty. You may have other arguments besides, but what you have presented here amounts to "his hair is ugly and I don't like him".

  • Rebel Scum||

    Congratulations on the internet-equivalent of concession.

    As you have not provided an actual argument (assertion supported by evidence) there is nothing to which anyone may concede.

  • Pompey:何 Class Mothersmucker||

    zzzzzzzzz

  • Rebel Scum||

    You might have a point if his hair were something natural that he was essentially stuck with.

    Because normal people never change things about their appearance...

  • kbolino||

    incapable of constructing a sentence above the third grade reading level

    Maybe you will look back in embarrassment at the time wasted insisting he was too stupid/ugly to be President and realize that he was bamboozling you the whole time.

  • Konima||

    I actually believed he was bamboozling everyone at one time. He has continually proven me wrong in that regard.

  • kbolino||

    He has continually proven me wrong in that regard.

    By the metric of stupid haircuts?

  • Konima||

    I'm always disappointed when I engage someone in debate, and they turn out to be even less capable than I had imagined, even though my expectations were so low to begin with.

  • kbolino||

    Oh, sick burn. I'm real saddened that I failed to live up to the expectations of someone who thinks talking about haircuts is the height of intellectual discourse.

  • tarran||

    Konima,

    Let me explain why youre getting smacked around; we are pretty familiar with narcissistic personality disorder. We've been watching a president with it fuck up for the past 8 years.

    Our dismissiveness is based not on our feeling that Trump is a paragon of sensibility and sanity, but rather at the hysterical pronouncements of doom by people who felt nothing but joy and complacency when contemplating the actions of a man who essentially ordered the destabilization of the middleeast and the consequently created conditions for an incalculable number of deaths, disease, rapes and property damage, who trashed the U.S. economy, who reduced people's access to health care and did a large number of bad things, often impulsively, in a single-minded zealous drive to make himself look good.

    Trump is not really much of a step down from Obama. In many ways he's an improvement. At least people are talking about the bad things he is doing instead of pretending he is some enlightened superbeing.

  • Konima||

    "Our dismissiveness is based not on our feeling that Trump is a paragon of sensibility and sanity, but rather at the hysterical pronouncements of doom by people who felt nothing but joy and complacency when contemplating the actions of a man who essentially ordered the destabilization of the middleeast and the consequently created conditions for an incalculable number of deaths, disease, rapes and property damage, who trashed the U.S. economy, who reduced people's access to health care and did a large number of bad things, often impulsively, in a single-minded zealous drive to make himself look good."

    Nice straw man. I guess I can at least give you points for deploying a semicolon, but nothing you've said makes Trump any less insane.

    We could have an entirely different argument about Obama and his shitty policies, although claiming he is the reason that the middle east is fucked up is indicative of your tendentiousness.

  • tarran||

    Nice straw man. I guess I can at least give you points for deploying a semicolon, but nothing you've said makes Trump any less insane.

    Reading comprehension is just not your thing, is it?

  • Konima||

    "Reading comprehension is just not your thing, is it?"

    Impressive lack of self awareness.

  • John Titor||

    Hey look, the Armchair Psychologist has been engaging in a pompous and arrogant demeanor, presenting a self perception of being unique and superior, expecting superior treatment and obedience from others and is fixated on an arbitrary indicator of someone else's inferiority.

    I wonder what those behaviours are an indicator of?

  • Rebel Scum||

    A man of sound mind does not look like Donald Trump.

    It's cute when proggies think they are making sound arguments.

    I apologize if I offended you by making a realistic assessment of your messiah.

    It's even cuter when proggies project their fawning adoration of politicians (which are typically the scum of the earth) and the state, so long as the "right" people are in charge.

    ill-educated

    I can think of a billion ($) reasons he is not necessarily ill-educated.

    He's said a litany of things which would lead one to believe he is especially dangerous

    Qualify this assertion with evidence. I'll grant that he has said plenty of things I disagree with, but I have yet to hear anything that is so far outside the norm as to be especially dangerous.

  • Konima||

    "It's cute when proggies think they are making sound arguments."
    I said similar things regarding Oabama, and I'm willing to bet that you would have had no problem with that. What does that say about you?

    "It's even cuter when proggies project their fawning adoration of politicians (which are typically the scum of the earth) and the state, so long as the "right" people are in charge."
    Again, you're clueless. Making false assumptions in order to pigeon hole me. I'm no more a progressive than you are an intelligent human being.

    "I can think of a billion ($) reasons he is not necessarily ill-educated."
    Accounting for inflation, his "fortune" is worth the same, possibly less, than the amount that he inherited from his dad. I wonder why he wouldn't release his tax returns.

    "Qualify this assertion with evidence. I'll grant that he has said plenty of things I disagree with, but I have yet to hear anything that is so far outside the norm as to be especially dangerous."
    Of off the top of my head, his comments regarding the need to target the families of terrorists was especially deranged and fucked up.

  • kbolino||

    I said similar things regarding Oabama

    ... you showed up like a week ago. Were these discussions in your head, or is there some body of literature that you've published that we are supposed to familiarize ourselves with?

  • Konima||

    I didn't say that I said them to you. People who assume that you must be for someone because you're criticizing someone else are rather tiring to deal with, and it's indicative of a simple mind.

  • kbolino||

    Don't make claims about yourself when you don't have the desire or ability to back them up. At best, they're irrelevant to the discussion, at worst, they're just fancy lies.

  • Rebel Scum||

    his comments regarding the need to target the families of terrorists was especially deranged and fucked up.

    These are words. The previous administration already committed this action on a massive scale. Whats more important, words or actions?

  • Konima||

    "These are words. The previous administration already committed this action on a massive scale. Whats more important, words or actions?"

    How do you people keep falling into the same trap repeatedly? Obama being bad does not make Trump not-bad. Not to mention collateral damage =/= intentionally targeting families. Do you fly your rebel flag too?

  • Rebel Scum||

    Obama being bad does not make Trump not-bad.

    Well, duh. I'm merely trying to get you to think about things from a standpoint of relativity. You seem exceptionally deranged because "TRUMP" when he is, relatively speaking, (so far) no worse than and (so far) possibly better than former President 'Pen-and-Phone'.

    Do you fly your rebel flag too?

    Lol. I thought it was well understood that my handle is a Star Wars reference.

  • John Titor||

  • vek||

    Don't think Trump is a genius by any stretch (except when it comes to his salesman/hustler skills maybe), but jeebus. I think he's a notch more of a narcissist than your average politician. But so were a lot of people who got yuuuge shit done in history. So as toolish as I find that aspect, I'm not really going to knock points off for it as it may end up being a virtue in practice, as it has been for many powerful leaders. I will knock him on his proposals/actions as they unfold.

    As to his fortune, that contention is retarded. He was a billionaire before his father ever died. When his father died he was worth a couple hundred million as I recall. Forbes estimates The Donald is worth 4.5-5 billion on the conservative side. Trump likes to claim more like 9-10 billion the last few years. So it's probably like 5 or 6 billion in reality as a middle of the road estimate.

    So it is patently FALSE what you said. He was far richer than his dad before his dad ever died... So how could all his money be from his inheritance??? Ugh. The fact that that known falsehood keeps going around is insane. They're easy to look up facts.

  • vek||

    He also has made considerably over inflation during his career. Depending on what math you use you might be able to argue he's only made somewhere in the 10% to low teens per year as an annual rate of return (some figures I've seen before), but that's still a fair bit better than the stock market as a whole... Which is to say he outpaced the average of ALL THE LARGEST COMPANIES IN THE WORLD.

    Buffet is considered the greatest investor alive because he has consistently returned in the low 20%s a year over decades. So better than the stock market, but not quite as good as Buffett is still pretty darn decent. If he had avoided collapse in the early 90s he could have been worth several fold what he is now, which is to say maybe top 10 or 20 people in the world? But he wasn't psychic and got caught by a collapsing real estate AND casino market that nobody else saw coming either. Oh well. He's still in the top couple hundred in the world for sure. Again, not bad considering there's 7 billion plus people on the planet.

    He started out on 3rd base, which is your main point with that statement. I agree on that. He did have MANY advantages. But he has greatly outperformed almost everybody else in the world who was also born on 3rd base. So make of that what you will.

  • chemjeff||

    Okay, accusing Trump of being a narcissist because of his hair is especially stupid. And I am no fan of Trump.

  • Konima||

    Who said that? No one is even disputing he is a narcissist, as most every politician is. It's simply indicative of his fucked up brand of narcissism.

  • JFree||

    Applause for a good judge

  • kbolino||

    Just to be clear, does the LP support the underlying law that they're suing on the basis of? Because it seems to me this campaign finance restriction that they're trying to use as a cudgel against the CPD is itself an infringement of freedom of speech.

  • sarcasmic||

    One has to use the tools available to them.

  • kbolino||

    And the road to hell is paved with ____.

    There was a minor-party debate. Few people watched it. While I agree that getting into the official debates would give the LP more exposure I disagree both with the means by which they want to do it and with the implicit assumption that their electoral fortunes would improve if only more people knew about them.

  • sarcasmic||

    Um, no. The road to hell being paved with good intentions is a completely different matter. That's when people with good intentions create so many laws that life becomes hell.

    Standing on principle is well and good, but at some point you have to work within the system to make things happen.

    You are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  • kbolino||

    Or when you sell out your principles to win a participation trophy. I don't have a problem with the LP's legal actions against ballot restrictions, although I don't think all their cases are legally sound. But to use a law that (presumbly) you think shouldn't even exist to get something which is at best tangential to your stated goals is not just shy of perfect, it's not even remotely "good".

  • sarcasmic||

    Nothing is gained if standing on your principles prevents you from doing anything.

  • kbolino||

    The CPD and the debates it hosts are not the end-all, be-all of politics. The LP has ballot access in 49 states, can realistically obtain it in the 50th before the next major election, and just had its highest returns for President since its founding in the 1970s.

    They are not locked out of anything except the elections that they lose.

  • tarran||

    I used to feel that way, but now am coming around to the opposite conclusion.

    There is nothing wrong with combating a nasty organization by using its rules of operation against them.

  • kbolino||

    But the CPD is not the government. Did they write the campaign finance rules?

  • tarran||

    No, but they are effectively part of the government. The dominant political parties through their control of the state create roadblocks for non dominant parties by issuing rules designed to hamstring them. These same organization then charter an organization that operates in a way that appears to violate those rules but is intended to create more roadblocks.

    Why not attack that organization for violating those rules? It doesn't mean the rules are right. It just means that if they are going to impose those rules on us, they'd better live by them as well.

  • kbolino||

    I will agree up to the point that the activities being engaged in cease to be electoral themselves. The LP can run campaign ads. The LP can sponsor candidates. The LP can sponsor and participate in debates with lower barriers to entry than the CPD's debates. The LP can obtain ballot access* and people can vote for their candidates. There is really nothing the LP is excluded from doing which is part of the electoral process or an expression of free speech, other than what every other party is forbidden from doing too.

    The CPD hosts a political forum. It's their show and their stage. The debates don't count for anything. The vote tally on election day is not predetermined in any way by the debates. The laws under which the CPD operates don't exclude competing debates. If the CPD was engaged in a suit against a competitor then I could say this is fair play on the LP's part. But the LP's stated goal is to not to host a competing debate but to get into the CPD's debates. They have no right to force themselves onto someone else's stage.

    * = And to the extent they can't obtain ballot access due to roadblocks, I agree with removing or at least reducing them

  • JFree||

    There was a minor-party debate. Few people watched it.

    Of course few people watched it. Because the CPD 'agreement' with the duopoly parties, their candidates, and the media prohibits any of them from participating in anything else. So they create a kiddie table - enforced by the FEC which also prohibits the creation of anything else and is in turn regulated by those elected by the parties which own CPD - and then pour in money to ensure that 'the alternative' remains an unwatched kiddie table.

    Framing this as purely a 'free speech' issue or a 'campaign finance' issue misses the real problem here. It is a government-created and enforced cartel that violates anti-trust. That's the money problem - even if legally it has to be separated into smaller sub-pieces.

    If the LP is just purely anarcho, then it will never understand the distnction here. But I have a tough time understanding why a purely anarcho idea should even exist as a political party. If the LP can have ordoliberal elements (roughly early Hayek or James Buchanan or Ludwig Erhard), then the anti-trust stuff can be seen easily. And the LP has a purpose as an actual political party - similar to FDP in Germany or FDP.Liberals in Switzerland.

  • kbolino||

    It is a government-created and enforced cartel

    The DNC and the RNC are not the government. Just because the Republicans and the Democrats are the parties that win the most elections doesn't make them equivalent to the government. And thankfully so. The CPD was not created by the government and the government does not stop anyone from forming a similar organization.

    Talking about anti-trust in the case of a nonprofit organization that hosts a TV show is absurd. They have no commanding control of anything. Few people watched the competing debate. Deal with that reality or don't, but it doesn't make the CPD a government-sponsored monopoly.

  • JFree||

    Talking about anti-trust in the case of a nonprofit organization that hosts a TV show is absurd. They have no commanding control of anything.

    They control the FEC itself - which is exactly what the judge is pointing out. From the media's perspective, they control the FCC. They control the candidates themselves via both the candidates agreements with the party and the party's agreements with the CPD.

    What is insane is that anyone can actually argue that the CPD is basically the same thing as the modern LWV. It's not. It was EXPLICITLY created to enforce a cartel - which is why the LWV was forced out of the 'debate' biz. The direct money is actually a very belated thing - the corruption that arises from its success as a cartel.

  • JFree||

    At core I think the argument here is what exactly IS a political party. It may be a voluntary assoication but its PURPOSE is to run a government with like-minded people. Elections are merely the means by which that is enacted in a democracy. It is not a debate society or a newspaper or a class in theories.

    This lawsuit obviously can only be rationalized by that wing of the LP that actually believes it is or wants to be a political party. And unfortunately for the LP the continuing existential arguments within the LP about what it is are what are dooming it as an actual political party.

  • kbolino||

    And unfortunately for the LP the continuing existential arguments within the LP about what it is are what are dooming it as an actual political party.

    That, and having at most 5% popular support on a good day. The idea that the LP is just about to break into the mainstream of politics but for the other parties being a bunch of meanies is absurd. I'd love to see more political competition and there are lot of ways to encourage that. But going after a private organization that hosts a TV show is not the answer.

  • kbolino||

    The same laws under which the CPD operates do not exclude other organizations. There is no cartel. The FEC may have a chummy relationship with the CPD but that doesn't constitute the latter controlling the former. And it's not "the same as the LWV" because the LWV advocates for particular candidates and positions. Not that the distinction should really matter to a libertarian. Which circles back to my original point. Why is the LP going after an organization for violating that a law that they presumably don't even think should exist? And the answer is simple: they want airtime.

  • JFree||

    The same laws under which the CPD operates do not exclude other organizations. There is no cartel.

    You can't see the cartel because the agreements between all the parties are not publicized and they are never all released in the same year. eg in 2012, one of the agreements - between the two campaigns and the CPD - was released - https://tinyurl.com/8vzsbyk (its HuffPo). The first paragraph of that one contains - The parties agree that they will not...appear at any other debate or adversarial forum...accept any tv/radio air time that involves a debate format or the simultaneous appearance of more than one candidate. The other agreements (candidate/party, parties/CPD, media/CPD, FEC/CPD, money/anyone) weren't made public in 2012. But in toto, they are the very definition of 'cartel' (agreement between competitors to exclude new competitors).

    Why is the LP going after an organization for violating that a law that they presumably don't even think should exist?

    I sure as hell hope they want some sort of law to exist. Citizens United specifically excluded campaign committees and candidates themselves from the 'finance equals speech' ruling. Because for candidates themselves (and parties) 'finance equals possible corruption' and there sure as hell is a compelling interest to prevent corruption of elected officials.

  • JFree||

    That, and having at most 5% popular support on a good day. The idea that the LP is just about to break into the mainstream of politics but for the other parties being a bunch of meanies is absurd.

    I agree. But don't conflate the LP self-inflicting wounds (can't even accept small-l's who agree on pretty much everything into the fold) with the behaviors of duopoly. BOTH can happen and are.

  • jelabarre||

    1: It works as a tool to expose the hypocrisy of those who claim non-partisanship but fail to practice it.

    2: If they have themselves established rules they are supposed to follow, it forces them to adhere to those rules. Failing to follow the rules they established makes them guilty of fraud, which IS something the LP speaks against.

    If the CPD claims to be the voice of the people, and get special treatment because of it. Exposing charlatans is always a good cause.

  • Robert||

    Remember when quiz shows were secretly rigged? There was no law against it, and it wasn't common law fraud.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Third party candidates already gave us Trump, and that's without being in the debates. Can you imagine the monster thrust upon this country if they are allowed on stage?

  • ||

    John McAfee?

  • CE||

    A 15% polling threshold is clearly objective (if the organizations and time period are named in advance) and non-partisan. It's just too high.

    I suggest raising it to 47% next time, to keep Trump out of the debates.

  • colorblindkid||

    I still love how everybody's complaining about and blaming Jill Stein. Most have no idea who Gary Johnson even is, even though he won 4.5 million and Jill only won 1.5 million. Without either Gary and Jill, I think Trump would have won an outright majority, but we'll never know. Still don't regret voting for Gary. Not great but like 10000000% less evil that the other two.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I'd vote for Gary again, today, right now. Fuck the red and blue trolls who'd see the world burn just to achieve a modicum of power.

  • ||

    If I had it to do over, I would have supported McAfee. The only reasons I didn't support him is because I thought he had too much controversy associated with him, he didn't have any political experience, and that he seemed to just spout off sometimes without thinking first. I didn't realize these things were features, not bugs.

  • BakedPenguin||

    This. He might have sunk to 'least evil' candidate in my eyes, but he was sooo much less evil.

  • Glide||

    Maybe I'm just cynical, but that sounds exactly like "stop hiding your flimsy reasoning for screwing the LP, bring it out in the open to be rubber-stamped" to me.

  • MikeT1986||

    Would be an improvement to be honest.

  • Zunalter||

    It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

    First guess: FYTW

  • The Fusionist||

    Wait, the Libertarian Party wants to penalize the CPD for accepting corporate contributions?

    Because korprashuns are teh evil?

  • The Fusionist||

    Or perhaps this is the Hypocrisy Exception to the First Amendment - the CPD feigns support for campaign-finance rules, so it should be subject to those rules?

    The Hypocrisy Exception could also justify banning the Communist Party, because it wants to ban competing parties.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Libertarian Party Gets Victory in Suit Aimed at the Partisanship of Commission on Presidential Debates
    Federal Election Commission ordered by judge to give more serious considerations to arguments about the Commission on Presidential Debates' partisanship and criteria for admitting third party candidates.

    This is good news and bad news.
    The good news is the LP (and other political parties) might have more of chance in the debates.
    The bad news is the LP has a couple of warmed over republicans representing the party who are as about exciting as mud.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    "Victory"? I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    So how is the CPD not getting its as fined into oblivion by the FEC? Answer: the FEC is part of the problem.

  • dmoney||

    So let me get this straight...The lawsuit was filed in September 2014, the court dragged their feet on it until the worst 2 candidates in US History stumbled and fumbled to the finish line...Then in 2017, after Dr Evil is firmly in power this comes about. Perfect.

  • JeremyR||

    The problem with this is the LP nominated someone who somehow managed to make the LP even more of a laughing stock with the limited press he did get.

    Have you seen GJ on RedEye? He might have a lot of experience as governor, but he is very slow witted and has zero charisma.

  • bayilik||

    Very nice share. Applause. bayilik veren firmalar

  • Longtobefree||

    How about the criteria to be in the debates is being on the ballot in enough states to have a theoretical chance of winning the electoral college?
    How about Trump executive orders the CPD out of existence, and gives all candidates a federal web site where they can post their political philosophy for all to see? Then there is no reason for any political contributions from anyone, because there is no longer a need to a gazillion dollars "to get the message out". Ban all political contributions as bribes, and let the politicians actually focus on their job. (fantasy ends, wakes up)

  • vek||

    The CPD is obviously a rigged organization existing to serve the 2 party system. It's painfully clear by its history and its ongoing actions. You can argue about what legal/moral grounds there are to properly deal with the situation, but it's clearly a bad thing that should be broken/dealt with in one way or another. When push comes to shove I'm OKAY with using "the man's" own rules against them.

    As for the Libertarian Party proper I have said it before and I'll say it again: Hardcore libertarianism is not going to catch on ANY TIME SOON. Probably never. However a watered down version that sticks to the general principles, but has a fair amount of wiggle room for dealing with the real world, could easily become a real and major party. I almost feel like a totally different party name, but with those stances, would be better than the LP to do this at this point in time. Libertarian is almost too "tainted" in many people's minds because of the people on the extreme end of the scale, despite most people agreeing with the basic principles to moderate levels.

    If the LP is ever to become anything it must become a far less extreme version of itself. It would need to become a party of all Ron Paul/Rand Paul/Justin Amash types or something. Even THEY aren't extreme enough for some hardcore libertarians on many issues, and they're about as hardcore as anyone electable can be. So what does that tell ya? LP needs to tone shit down if they want it to be more than just a circle jerk.

  • Rick Stewart||

    No matter how many times you repeat the claim, the CPD does not take in any 'corporate bucks.'

    I understand why many people and organizations like to repeat this claim, I do not understand why Reason continues to do so.

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