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Trevor Lyman attempts to hold a presidential debate, changes

Trevor Lyman, the man who organized the Ron Paul moneybombs, is trying to organize a debate for all of the presidential candidates who will appear on enough ballots to win. Ralph Nader, Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, Barack Obama, and John McCain will all be invited.

However, it is not guaranteed that the debate will take place. Lyman is asking for 10,000 donation pledges to his website,, before he commits to holding the debate. He wants that number of pledges by October 8th. If the goal is met, the debate will be in New York City.

Formerly, the website was taking pledges for a third party moneybomb, and the candidate who would receive the funds would be decided at a later date. But it has since changed to taking pledges for money to run the proposed debate.

So far, there are over 1,500 pledges, and the sponsors are Break the Matrix, Open Debates, and Free and Equal Elections.

Once again, you can pledge to donate toward the debate at, and 10,000 pledges are needed by October 8th for what could be the most serious challenge to the Commission for Presidential Debate’s monopoly on presidential debates to take place.


  1. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | September 29, 2008

    The pledges have topped 5500.

  2. kalipay kalipay September 29, 2008

    Why would the 10,000 pledges have to be changed in order for Barr and Baldwin to face-off?

  3. Morgan Wick Morgan Wick September 29, 2008

    Meanwhile, I’m starting a running defense of voting on my blog and I can’t think of a better place to plug it on here that wouldn’t come off as spam.

  4. Coming Back to the LP Coming Back to the LP September 29, 2008

    sunshinebatman // Sep 29, 2008 at 1:01 am

    “This is what Ron Paul should have announced at the much-heralded press conference. It’s sad that Mr. Lyman has to do it himself.”


    But, Ron Paul’s purpose was to promote the financial fortune of the Paul family direct mail empire and to lay claim to all 3rd party votes as his own. He had no interest any longer in promoting liberty except as it served his personal interests.

  5. Coming Back to the LP Coming Back to the LP September 29, 2008

    Ross Levin // Sep 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Robert Milnes wasn’t invited?


  6. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli September 29, 2008

    Maybe Baldwin, Nader and McKinney supporters will start showing up at Barr events in chicken and duck outfits?

  7. iamanamerican iamanamerican September 29, 2008

    I hope Trevor changes his mind about the 10,000 pledges. I wanna see Barr and Baldwin debate, assuming Barr will show up. Maybe he’ll join Revolution Broadcasting’s debate?

    C’mon Bob! don’t be a
    c h i c k e n

  8. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli September 29, 2008

    George Dance @ TPW:

    The Barr campaign has begun radio advertising, but at present that’s all it can afford. Let’s face it, Barr didn’t get the breaks; none of the endorsements he lined up came through for him: not just Paul, but also Viguerie, the NRA, and the Christianists needed to get him into Saddleback. So it looks like the Barr campaign is not going to raise much more than the average Libertarian presidential campaign: still not bad, considering how much money Paul vacuumed out of the party previously.

    I hope the Barr campaign changes its priorities accordingly. For one thing, I think it’s pretty much a given that Barr is not going to get to debate McBama; he should abandon that hope and agree to debate the other third parties in this debate:

    I’ve been advising the campaign to do that, but the only thing I’ve seen so far is my removal as a “Blogger for Barr.” Not that I’m bitter about that; the Barr campaign has taken so many hits from those calling themselves its ideological allies that it’s probably punch drunk at this point.

  9. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | September 29, 2008

    Robert Milnes wasn’t invited?

  10. Mike Gillis Mike Gillis September 29, 2008

    Considering that there are literally dozens of third party candidates for president and we have limited space and time, we need to set standards.

    Some candidates are on fewer than 20 ballots. 10 ballots. 5 ballots.

    No offense to these people, but because of space limitations and because some third party candidates are genuinely embarrassing and will only drive away the participation of others with actual support, we need to have some basic neutral standard for participation.

    All due respect to Charles Jay, but he’s only on the ballot in states that require either zero signatures, a check for 500 bucks or the one state where he had to get 275 sigs.

    Jay failed to petition his way on to any other states and clearly doesn’t have a large support base, even by third party standards. He’s only on 3 ballots.

    And if we allow him in, why don’t we also allow in the people on only TWO ballots or ONE ballot? So now anyone willing to pay five hundred dollars in Colorado should be able to debate someone who worked their ass off to obtain hundreds of thousands of signatures all over the country.

    Or how about over a hundred third party presidential candidates with NO ballot line? Robert Milnes is a third party candidate. Should HE be allowed in the debate, even though he’s on zero ballots and has zero support?

    “Enough ballots to hypothetically win” is the only level at which we can hope people outside of third party circles to take us seriously.

    And the inclusion of people with no even remote possbility of winning guarantee that we won’t have the inclusion of the major party candidates.

    While remote anyways, they’re far more likely to want to debate Nader/McKinney/Barr/Baldwin than a countless group of namesless people that 90-99% of America can’t even vote for.

  11. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | September 29, 2008

    It seems that Jay hasn’t been invited for the same reason that most “STILL third party candidates” weren’t invited: they aren’t on enough ballots to win the election.

  12. G.E. G.E. September 29, 2008

    And I defended Revolution Radio’s invite of Jay, too. Even though there are many candidates — most of which are explicitly socialist — who are on the ballot in more states than Jay who weren’t invited.

  13. darolew darolew September 29, 2008

    “Why hasn’t Boston Tea Party presidential nominee Charles Jay been invited to this third party debate?”

    Well, it’s not a “third party debate”. Obama and McCain have been invited. They almost certainly won’t show, but it’s not limited to third parties.

    Also, as G.E. said, it’s a private debate. They have the right to include or exclude candidates by any arbitrary standard. Considering how there are dozens of presidential candidates, it’s important to have a standard, and being on enough ballots to theoretically win seems like a reasonable standard.

    Besides, how to you think Nader or Barr would feel about debating a candidate only on the ballot in three or four states? Heck, if they included everyone who is “STILL a third party candidate”, there would be multiple candidates who’re only on the ballot in a single state, not to mention write-ins. Being too inclusive would well ruin the debate, as none of the third-party candidates with actual support would be inclined to show up.

  14. G.E. G.E. September 29, 2008

    Private entities can invite whomever they want to their debates.

  15. FreeMarketeer FreeMarketeer September 29, 2008

    Here’s a question that no one seems to be asking:

    Why hasn’t Boston Tea Party presidential nominee Charles Jay been invited to this third party debate? He may be on 3 or 4 states, but he’s STILL a third party candidate. He should be included, whether or not he’s “on enough ballots to win.”

    Yours in Liberty,

    Todd Andrew Barnett
    Vice Chair, Boston Tea National Committee

  16. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli September 29, 2008


    But the C4L four point agenda was also good. He could have done both.

  17. sunshinebatman sunshinebatman September 29, 2008

    This is what Ron Paul should have announced at the much-heralded press conference. It’s sad that Mr. Lyman has to do it himself.

  18. darolew darolew September 29, 2008

    Barr would be stupid not to show up. It would simply hurt his third-party base even more, and I doubt skipping will help him woo more conservatives.

  19. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli September 28, 2008

    @ BAN

    “Revolution Broadcasting will be hosting a third party debate on Oct. 9 from 8 – 11 pm Central time . So far Baldwin and McKinney have confirmed that they will appear.”

  20. paulie cannoli paulie cannoli September 28, 2008

    However, to someone like Barr, who has actually won elections, a 3rd party debate is senseless.

    Cynthia McKinney has won plenty of elections, and she told me (on the record) that she would debate any of her opponents who are on enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning.

    Nader’s article which I posted a few days ago indicates that this year, unlike in the past, he is on that page as well. As I understand it, so is Chuck Baldwin.

    If Barr wants to pretend that he is better than they are, he will only hurt himself. This debate will not get as much attention as the major party debates, but it will get far more attention than any of these candidates will get on their own.

    Nader is already ahead of Barr. He can keep up his present course and ensure that Baldwin and McKinney end up ahead as well.

  21. Trent Hill Trent Hill September 28, 2008

    If Nader is sending out emails in support of it, you can guess that he will attend. Barr should too, but I doubt it. If anyone here works for the McKinney campaign,urge her to send out a similar email. Im going to send word to the Baldwin campaign.

  22. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | September 28, 2008

    Nader sent out an email to all of his supporters, that’s how I found out about this, and why I pledged. I’ll bet those are from his email. If we’re lucky here at IPR, maybe a hundred or more of those are from us.

    Right now on CSpan 3 there is a panel on presidential debates through history, and it’s basically a bunch of major candidate campaign managers and former debate managers discussing how much of a joke the debates are. Very sad.

    Barr will not be invited to the major debates. The contract between the two major candidates has been signed, and judging by the fact that neither Barr nor Nader were in the first debate, neither of them were invited.

  23. LaineRBT LaineRBT September 28, 2008

    Nice to see; clearly there is some level of support for this.

  24. kalipay kalipay September 28, 2008

    The number of pledges is soaring!!! 4 PM EST and there’s about 3,400 already.

  25. AnthonyD AnthonyD September 28, 2008


    Here’s an excerpt for Barr’s website on spending and the economy. How is this not “spreading libertarian ideas?”

    “Capitalism is the only economic system that rewards risk, protects individual liberty, and furthers economic freedom. America will be most prosperous and free when the government stops interfering with private economic decision-making.”

  26. donald raymond lake donald raymond lake September 28, 2008

    Better than nothing.

    Barr may have won formal elections
    but his ‘Sarah Pallin’ behavior is amazing.
    And not in a good way.

    I applaud the Bible Thumpers and Greens
    for going with head liners instead of no
    name party loyalists. [Just TRY to get your
    mind round Reform’s joke WEILL – McNAULTY
    ticket. Go ahead, try it. Ouch!]

    Like Nader P2004, the P2008
    behavior of Barr and Left Hook
    are questionable, if not suspect.

  27. TheOriginalAndy TheOriginalAndy September 28, 2008

    Bob Barr may be invited to the debate, but will he have the balls to show up?

  28. LaineRBT LaineRBT September 28, 2008


    I wish Nader and Barr had a chance to be a part of the Presidential debates but they don’t. They need to get over it and find an alternative or give up all together. A debate between America’s most famed consumer advocate and two former members of Congress would IMO be high profile especially if Lyman has the same success in raising money that he did with Paul.

  29. G.E. G.E. September 28, 2008

    To someone like Barr, who has no interest in spreading libertarian ideas, a third-party debate IS pointless.

  30. AnthonyD AnthonyD September 28, 2008

    I disagree. And I got nothing against Nader personally.

    Rather than those two putting on a debate, I’d rather they both just insist on and keeping pushing for being part of the major party debates.

    You know what they say. Often times, when you accept nothing less than everything you want, that ends up being exactly what you get.

  31. LaineRBT LaineRBT September 28, 2008

    So? I still say a debate between Nader and Barr would be worth watching. Besides, Nader has had more impact on legislation as a consumer advocate than Barr did as a Congressmen.

  32. AnthonyD AnthonyD September 28, 2008


    I believe Ruwary, Kubby, Phillies, et al would feel right at home with the other “losers” seeing as how none of them have actually WON an election. To them, winning a pointless 3rd party debate would probably be the cat’s meow.

    However, to someone like Barr, who has actually won elections, a 3rd party debate is senseless.

  33. Spence Spence September 28, 2008

    Bout time they did something like this. It probably wouldn’t court McBama or Obamain at all but w/e. I’ve suggested this before that we get our own debate out there, against all practicality of it.

  34. LaineRBT LaineRBT September 28, 2008


    I believe Barr would feel right at home with the other “losers”.

  35. AnthonyD AnthonyD September 28, 2008

    raising money for a debate is a heck of a lot better idea than raising it to give the whole pot to the 3rd party candidate that gets the most donations. although the demopublicans will never consent to appearing in this debate.


    to belabor the obvious, a debate with only 3rd parties candidates will never “counter” the other debates, it will only cement the idea in the general electorate that those candidates are irrelevant jokes. winning a 3rd party debates gets a candidate squat. check that, he or she gets less than squat. now they are just the most obvious loser.

    I really dont care what the other 3rd parties do, but the LP candidate should accept no debates unless it is a debate with the demopublicans. If they don’t let you in, then so be it, but you never accept a debate among losers.

  36. LaineRBT LaineRBT September 28, 2008

    Ralph Nader has put his support behind this unlike, in 2004 when he did not debate other third party candidates. I hope Barr puts his ego aside so we have an intriguing debate.

  37. WinstonSmith WinstonSmith September 28, 2008

    I don’t understand why there hasn’t already been a debate planned for all major 3rd party candidates. It seems logical that the would do this to counter the other debates.

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