Presidential debates should be nonpartisan, not bipartisan

A version of this was printed in the Boulder Daily Camera on October 6, 2012.

Kudos to Phillips Electronics and the YWCA for dropping their sponsorship of the debates, run by the Commission on Presidential Debates. They “pulled their support over the exclusion of Libertarian presidential candidate [and former New Mexico governor] Gary Johnson, arguing that the commission … is locked into a two-party outlook,” says U.S. News & World Report.</

Indeed, the “non-partisan” commission is truly bipartisan. The major parties’ national chairmen were founding co-chairs, and opposed including third party candidates, reported the New York Times.

Today the commission claims to “ensure that debates … provide the best possible information,” and have the “goal of educating voters.” Nonsense. That’s like trusting McDonald’s and Burger King to publish honest restaurant reviews.


Instead of educating voters, the commission blinds voters by presenting only blue, red, and “moderate” purple as possible colors on the political spectrum. As Andrew Napolitano notes in the above video and the essay “What If November Changes Nothing?,” Demopublican presidential candidates agree on issues including military interventionism, increasing government debt, baseless fiat currency, and drug prohibition.  Disagreements are typically superficial, concerning only how, but not if, government should meddle in some part of our lives. Voters deserve better.

Instead, PBS’s Jim Lehrer moderated. In the 2008 debate, he said the winner would “rule the country as president.” As Gene Healy writes, “That was a cringe-worthy way to describe a constitutional officer for a free republic. … Neither Sen. McCain nor Sen. Obama objected to the idea.” Gary Johnson would.

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See also Let Gary Johnson Debate, by Andrew Napolitano.


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