A lawsuit has been filed by a political alliance against the Federal Election Commission, concerning the Commission on Presidential Debates and the undemocratic rules it holds up.
The political alliance, comprised of the Level the Playing field group, joined by the Green Party as well as the Libertarian National Committee argued filed the lawsuit with a Washington court.
The arguments stand for the undemocratic practices of the Commission of Presidential Debates which is seeking to usher candidates that do not belong to the Republican or Democratic Parties out of the TV presidential debates.
Spearheaded by Peter Ackerman, Level the Playing Field accused both Democrat and Republican representative of the Commission on Presidential Debates of creating a duopoly that leads to unhindered anti-competition rules.
In their arguments, it is this group that keeps the playing field closed to candidates outside of the two major contenders, rendering American citizens uninformed and out of the loop.
Both the Libertarian National Committee and the Green party, along with the Level the Playing Field group asked that the Federal Election Commission removes the barriers for independent candidates from participating in the presidential debates.
One independent candidate must gather 15 percent in opinion polls until the list for the presidential debates is set. For the political alliance looking to lax these rules, this point alone is deemed unlawful.
The Commission on Presidential Debates should distance itself from these criteria and use more objective criteria instead if they are indeed to offer everyone an equal democratic chance.
Practically, for an independent candidate to pool 15 percent in polls and 60 percent name recognition, the investment in advertising is estimated at 113 million dollars, according to Doug Schoen, campaign strategist.
It is thus impossible for an independent to join the big players arena when this vicious circle ensues. Without the advertising and publicity, donors shy away. Without donors, the sums are colossal for someone who does not come from under the cosy wings of the Republican and Democrat Parties.
Previously, Level the Playing Field has filed a similar complaint with the Federal Election Commission in 2014. Thus far, it remained unanswered.
The same alliance continued to state that reliance on polls is also flawed. To sum up the points made in the lawsuit filed with the Washington court, Vin Weber, former chairman of National Endowment for Democracy stated:
“Inadvertently, this has created a bias against independent candidates that is contrary to the way that our political system has worked throughout all of American history.Inadvertently, this has created a bias against independent candidates that is contrary to the way that our political system has worked throughout all of American history.”
Mr. Weber, who is also a retired congressman, added to the point that without the changing of undemocratic rules governing the Commission on Presidential Debates, independent candidates are caught up in a loop.
A harmful one at that since no face-time in the presidential debates indicates almost no donor support and lagging media coverage.
Perhaps this time the arguments of the political alliance are taken into consideration beyond a petition and a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.
Image Source: Politico