Ralph Nader wants Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney (and Chuck Baldwin) included in the debates

Writing in US News and World Report, independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader mentions two opponents by name while calling for opening up the debates:

The broadcasts of the presidential debates this year will reach 60 million or more Americans. The array of candidates running includes two former members of Congress—Libertarian Bob Barr and Green Cynthia McKinney—as well as me, but viewers will see only two choices: a Democrat and a Republican.

Nader endorses the Rock the Debates proposal for candidate inclusion, as well as a compromise alternative:

Given the huge barriers to getting on state ballots, a fair and manageable standard would be that anyone on enough ballots to have a theoretical chance to win should be allowed in the debates—six candidates this year. I challenge the two parties to take a baby step: In the coming weeks, a third-party debate is set to take place. Will McCain and Obama allow the winner, as voted by viewers, into their last debate?

11 thoughts on “Ralph Nader wants Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney (and Chuck Baldwin) included in the debates

  1. green in brooklyn

    Not sure I like the idea of only allowing the winner of the 3rd party debate into the final debate – it will be too easy for Democan’ts and Rethugs to skew the voting to put in the candidate that will hurt their opponent the most.

  2. paulie cannoli Post author

    I’m not sure what excuse Nader would have to duck such a debate, having already said here that all candidates on enough state ballots to win should be allowed in the debate.

    Barr, on the other hand, will not participate, unless he reverses himself.

    Nader, McKinney and Baldwin have already all demonstrated their willingness to share a stage.

  3. Mike Gillis

    Rather than a “winner”, I’d rather all of them just be allowed in the debates. Period.

    McCain and Obama need to be challenged from as many directions as possible.

  4. Anti-Corporate

    That’s the first mention I’ve heard of a third-party debate being set. That’s good news–I’ll be very interested to watch it. I wonder how much media coverage it will get.

    If Barr refused to participate, he’d be aligning himself with McCain and Obama. They don’t debate “those other candidates” because they don’t have to and don’t want to give them any credibility–and because they are fundamentally committed to winning an election rather than being fundamentally committed to democratic process. So will Barr adopt their mentality? The same mentality that is keeping him out of the debates? That would be some serious hypocrisy, it seems to me.

    This is a bit out of place, maybe, but Nader is outstripping Barr in Ohio:

    http://blog.cleveland.com/openers/2008/09/ONOpoll.pdf

  5. millerpolitics

    Well if McKinney and Bladwin were to be in a debate with McCain and Obama, I guess Barr would have to skip out on that too like he did for the Ron Paul press conference.

  6. paulie cannoli Post author

    Rather than a “winner”, I’d rather all of them just be allowed in the debates. Period.

    McCain and Obama need to be challenged from as many directions as possible.

    I agree.

  7. paulie cannoli Post author

    That’s the first mention I’ve heard of a third-party debate being set. That’s good news–I’ll be very interested to watch it. I wonder how much media coverage it will get.

    IIRC it’s in Tennessee in early October. Probably CSPAN.

  8. paulie cannoli Post author

    If Barr refused to participate, he’d be aligning himself with McCain and Obama. They don’t debate “those other candidates” because they don’t have to and don’t want to give them any credibility–and because they are fundamentally committed to winning an election rather than being fundamentally committed to democratic process.

    Except that in Barr’s case, he has no such pragmatic benefit, and only hurts his own cause while looking hypocritical and foolish.

    It would be one thing if he was far and away ahead of the other candidates in money, media, ballot access, polls, etc, etc. It would still be wrong, but at least it would make a twisted kind of sense, as it does when the Democrats and Republicans do it.

    But he’s not; if anything, Nader is ahead of him and is extending a hand. Baldwin and McKinney are also not so far behind or even ahead by some measures.

    If Barr keeps up his stubborn scorn of his peers in the race, he may end up at the back of the pack, in sixth place. This may not seem likely now, but there’s 43 days left.

  9. donald raymond lake

    I saw Nader’s staff trip over their own penises time and time again in California in P2004.

    Now he is talking like a reasonable person and on the ballot in 46 [FORTY SIX !!!!!] states.

    Just more proof for the theory of evolution!

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