Supporters of Reforming POTUS Debates Propose National Primary to Choose Independent Candidate

Appearing on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Tuesday morning, James K. Glassman – one of the 50 signers of the Change the Rule letter asking the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) to open the stage to an independent candidate in the fall of 2016 – raised a fascinating idea for selecting that candidate.

The idea is a month-long national independent primary campaign, to take place next spring. Details are not set, but Glassman said that some members of the commission itself are discussing the notion. It could work this way: Candidates qualify for the independent primary by gathering enough signatures to get on the ballot in states constituting at least 270 electoral votes (a qualification the CPD has now).

The candidates who clear that bar – let’s just guess that there are a half-dozen – will then appear in a series of debates, culminating in an online national primary election. The winner will be the independent, or third-party, representative on the stage in the general election debates. Glassman called this an “exciting idea,” almost certain to generate enthusiasm for an alternative to the current duopoly, enforced by the CPD.

He also noted that the most recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that nearly as many American voters call themselves “independents” as the combined number identifying as Democrats and Republicans: 45% independents vs. 47% Ds plus Rs.

Americans want an independent choice. That was clear from Glassman’s 40-minute appearance on the C-SPAN morning call-in show, which elicited nearly unanimous support for the concept of opening the presidential debates to a third participant.

You can watch it here.

Editor’s note: This article originally published on Presidential Debate News on July 8, 2015, and has been modified slightly for publication on IVN.

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