Sunday, August 21, 2016

What is wrong with this picture?

Today I got an email requesting that I sign an online petition asking TV networks to include Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, and Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson in the fall presidential candidate "debates." (Really, I think this term is debatable.)

As you probably know, the official sounding Commission on Presidential Debates is nothing more than a gang of Democrats and Republicans who, in the mid 80s, grabbed control of presidential "debates"  from the League of Women Voters in order to make sure only approved candidates would be able to participate and only in approved ways with approved moderators.

For years, the CPD has maintained that only candidates who poll well in select media can be included in the candidate shows. Conveniently, as has been demonstrated pretty clearly with the DNC emails and the current FOX News soap opera, the major media corporations are closely intertwined with the two parties and so (CNN's Green Town Hall notwithstanding) it has been pretty easy for them to provide poor and sometimes misleading coverage of the "lesser" party candidates so that people answering polls often don't know other parties exist.

So, we, the citizens who are supposed to be controlling things, are left to beg news corporations and the elites in the Democratic and Republican parties to let us hear from and about people who want to be president. (We are not talking about Pat Paulson here.) And candidates' outreach to voters (except for D. Trump who received about 2 billion dollars worth of free advertising) depends upon the money they raise from the wealthy for the most part.

Thankfully, I guess, the internets now provide other ways for people to communicate around the official pipeline. During the primary season, Bernie Sanders (who had called for two party primary debates) successfully inserted himself into the Republican debates using Twitter, for example.

But it just seems, IF voters are supposed to be the ones ultimately calling the shots, that voters shouldn't have to beg to be able to hear from legitimate presidential candidates. In fact, as this recent article notes, voters who will have to live with the environmental, war, trade, health care, and other major policies the next president will back feel as if their current choices (Trump or Clinton) are a joke

Sign the petition if you think it will do any good. But really, we should not have to beg for this.


In the meantime, the Vernon Dems are hosting a Letter to the Editor writing workshop on August 24 and an Our Revolution watch party on August 24.

The La Crosse County Dems will hold elections for officers in November. Candidate slates will be released in October and those running for positions on the board must join or be members in good standing by, I think, September. Leadership of a county party can make a big difference.

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