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IMPORTANT POLITICAL ISSUES:

OPEN DEBATES

In 1858, in the first of his famous debates with Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln said:
"With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed."
Today, no single event moulds public sentiment about the choice of a president more than the televised presidential debates. They are the only chance that millions of Americans get to see the candidates together on the same stage. For many years, these debates were run by the non-partisan League of Women Voters. The League ran the debates in an impartial fashion and ensured that the major party candidates were not able to control the agenda of the debates for their own purposes.

However, these debates are currently run by an organization known as the Commission on Presidential Debates. This "commission" is actually made up of Democrats and Republicans and headed by the former heads of these parties. Thus, not surprisingly, third-party candidates are almost completely excluded from the debates, and they are structured in an extremely controlled fashion that keeps many difficult questions from arising.

There is a movement to create an alternative to these debates, run by citizens rather than members of the two major parties. This would allow the American people to see a wider spectrum of candidates address a wider spectrum of issues under less fabricated and tightly controlled conditions.

If you've ever wondered why the debates seem so uninspiring, why you rarely see anyone but the two major party candidates involved, and why so many important issues are never even discussed, you aren't alone. If you'd like to see this change, read about the organizations below:

Visit Open Debates and The Citizens' Debate Commission to learn more.

Read about Open Debates' FEC Complaint Against the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Get a copy of No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates by George Farah. Farah is the Executive Director of Open Debates.

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