You Down With CPD?

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I've ranted many times about how the government and media conspire against the American public to exclude candidates from the election process. It's time for another one.

As some of you may know, in 1996, and again in 2000, the Federal Election Commission ( has limited who could participate in debates. See, it used to be that the government would only tell a group who must be allowed to appear in debates. Now they are in the business of telling who is must not be allowed to appear in debates.

Well, perhaps not technically. After all, the Commission on Presidential Debates (, which has decided that you must have an average of 15 percent in five national polls in order to be allowed to participate in the Presidential debates, is a "nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation" (run by a Republican and a Democrat) so the government has nothing to do with it, right? On its face, yes. The CPD has no direct affiliation with any media group, any political group, or any group whatsoever. So there's the question: how can they tell any media group that they can't allow Nader to participate? How can they tell Gore and Bush that they must participate in these debates, and these debates alone? How do the CPD say anything about who can do what, when they literally have no legal power at all?

It is because there is a clear conspiracy afoot. The parties, the FEC (run by the two parties), and the campaigns of the two parties, all want to keep the others out. The FEC refuses to do anything about it, because they are all Democrats and Republicans. The parties and candidates of the same parties agree to only participate in debates sanctioned by the CPD. The media, being lazy, also agrees to the same. I call them lazy because they admit it themselves. Jeff Greenfield of CNN noted (and I am paraphrasing; I watched it on TV and don't have the exact quote) that other candidates that "don't have a chance" shouldn't be included because they "get in the way." Get in the way of what? Well, getting a good story. Getting to the truth. In other words, it makes their job harder.

So the media doesn't complain about the conspiracy between the two parties and the CPD because they have a vested interest, too: laziness. The only want a two-party system, so it fits right in to their agenda. They want a neat little package to report on. Adding more candidates makes it "hard" and "messy."

So the CPD said this January ( that not only must you pass the Constitutional requirements to be President, and not only must you be on enough ballots to win the election, but you must also secure an average of 15 percent of the polls from ABC News/Washington Post, CBS News/New York Times, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, CNN/USA Today/Gallup and Fox News/Opinion Dynamics.

For the moment, let's forget that polls are wildly inaccurate. Let's forget that if Buchanan earned an average of 13 percent, plus or minus 3 percent, that he would still be excluded, even if he really might have 16 percent, according to the poll data itself. Let's ignore that Zogby, widely recognized as the best poll out there, is not included. Instead, let's just focus on the lunacy of the idea that the CPD and its associates are in essence using polls as an early election of the candidates. They are deciding the fate of our Republic based on polls, and the media and parties and FEC go along with it because they care more about their own interests than they do about vox populi. Because while it is possible for Buchanan or Nader to win, as Jesse Ventura did in Minnesota, after participating in the debates, it is not possible for them to win if they are excluded. The polls act as an election. Even though we haven't yet cast one vote, they assume that we as a people have already decided, that they can't change their minds in the last month before the election. They are removing our votes from the process by preempting them.

It is despicable, disgusting, and damned.

Quotes from the CPD tell the whole story. Democrat co-chair of the CPD, Paul Kirk, said of the qualification process, "It's not a perfect science, let's face it, but neither is polling." That's right, neither is perfect. So why not use the perfect methods? If you are eligible Constitutionally and are on enough ballots, then you're in. If people get sick of these "extra" candidates, then they won't sign their petitions to be on the ballots. It's quite simple. The fact that they are on the ballots demonstrates that we as a people want to hear from them.

Kirk followed up with "Our role is not to jump-start your campaign and all of a sudden make you competitive." Wow. Being on millions of ballots, enough to win the election, is not competitive. Being low in the polls means you can't be competitive. And if you participate in the debates and people hear you for the first time and like you, well, that's in some way a bad thing for the country. The anti-democracy sentiment expressed by this group is flatly obscene.

The CPD, the media, and the two parties are stealing the voice of the people who put Nader and Buchanan in the position where it is possible for them to get enough votes to win. Their theft will not go unpunished; history will not treat them kindly. They will, justly, be remembered as enemies of democracy.

Thanks to Jake Tapper for his column about all this in Salon.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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