Level the Playing Field, a group pushing to open up the presidential debates to an independent candidate, filed an historic lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court. The lead plaintiffs were joined by the Green Party of the United States and the Libertarian National Committee in asking the Court to compel the Federal Election Commission to act on a complaint they have flat-out ignored for nine months.
The case concerns violations of federal law by two institutions the Democratic and Republican parties have used to perpetuate their stranglehold on the American political system: the Commission on Presidential Debates (“CPD”), an organization the two parties created for the express purpose of keeping third-party and independent candidates out of debates, and the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”), a “bipartisan” agency run by members of the two major parties, which refuses to carry out its statutory mandate to enforce the federal election laws that the CPD is blatantly violating.
Here is a link to the filing.
It is obvious that no one can be elected President without participating in the general election debates. Yet the CPD has rigged the rules governing who can be in the debates to ensure that no candidate other than the Democratic and Republican nominees will ever be invited to the stage.
The principal architect of these rules is CPD co-chairman and co-founder Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., the former Republican National Committee chairman, who refers to the CPD as “my commission” and describes himself as “the Wizard of Oz” for his “behind the scenes” manipulation of our political system. Mr. Fahrenkopf freely admitted in April 2015 that the CPD’s “system” for selecting candidates consists of “go[ing] with the two leading candidates . . . the two political party candidates.”
American voters want greater choice and more competition in politics; 53% are unsatisfied with the two party system, and 58% believe a third party is needed. Record numbers of Americans – well over 40% – now identify themselves as independent, and 62% say they would vote for an independent candidate for president in 2016.
It’s no wonder the effort to open the debates is attracting so much attention. More than 200 media outlets published stories about the filing of yesterday’s lawsuit.
Here are links to some of the news coverage:
Financial Times: Presidential debates face legal action (behind paywall)
Editor’s note: This article originally published on Presidential Debate News on June 23, 2015.