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Who Should Exclude Candidates from Debates? (Brent Budowsky) [View All]

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 01:05 PM
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Who Should Exclude Candidates from Debates? (Brent Budowsky)
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January 17, 2008
Who Should Exclude Candidates from Debates? (Brent Budowsky)
@ 9:01 am

As my regular readers know, I have always taken the position that the maximum number of candidates should be included in all debates for the presidency. In this campaign I have argued that both Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) should be included, even though I have not supported either candidate.

Here I offer a proposal to address this question once and for all, and my suggestion is this:

Any television forum for debates should agree when they choose to exclude any candidate, and the national chairmen of the Democratic and Republican parties would have authority to either confirm that candidates exclusion or reverse it, in which case the candidate would be included.

This solution is the lesser of evils, but in my opinion far less evil than the alternatives, for these reasons:

I do not believe it is right for any profit-making corporation, basing its business on commercial interests, to make this decision. This is not an argument against profits. It is an argument against decisions fundamental to American democracy decisions regarding who has access to the airwaves being made with the inherently conflicted interest of profit-making corporations.

Nor do I believe the decision to exclude candidates should be made by government, including the courts. This would give a very dangerous level of power to the government, with those holding existing power having a huge interest in preserving their power and excluding candidates who threaten it.

I would not want the court that engaged in a party-line judicial vote to decide the 2000 election deciding which candidates should be excluded from the airwaves.

Giving the national chairmen of the political parties the authority to insist that candidates not be excluded from debates is imperfect, but at least brings these decisions closer to our democratic process with some checks and balances.


The issue of totally excluding any candidate from televised access to voters during the debates strikes at the heart and soul of our democracy. This issue will continue in this primary season for both parties.

These is no simple solution, but I propose the decision should not be made by profit-making companies, and should not be made by the government, but should be kept as close as possible to our democratic values, with as many checks and balances as possible. /

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