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Gary Johnson Headed to SCOTUS

by Gary Johnson, published

Focusing on whether a football player takes a knee or the president chooses to tweet about it misses a point.

Our country is absorbed in partisan controversy, and the media plays right along.

Kneel to fight for social justice? That's freedom of speech.

Stand to recognize the people who have given their lives to keep us safe? That's freedom of speech.

But what about free speech during the most important political dialogue between candidates and the American people ... the presidential debates?

For nearly five years, my legal team and I have been at the front of an anti-trust lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). What few Americans know is that the CPD is actually a partnership between the Democratic and Republican Parties, and that is why despite 76% of voters wanting to hear a third voice in the 2016 debates, the rules were designed to exclude candidates like myself.

Read my original 2012 complaint here.

But this case is not about me. The CPD has been excluding independent and third-party voices from the presidential debates for two decades.

That's why, one month from now, I will be on the steps of the Supreme Court, calling for the justices to put an end to the Republican-Democratic monopoly that controls the presidential debates every four years.

RELATED ARTICLE: Amicus Brief to Judge: Open Debates Matter

Football players have First Amendment rights, and every right to exercise them. The president has every right to tweet.

But one thing is clear: there should be at least as much opportunity for free speech at the presidential debates as there is at a football game.

Imagine the substance we could talk about!

Criminal justice reform. Drug laws. Foreign policy. Real immigration reform.

All of these issues get stuck in a two-sided conversation meant to divide us.

So, while the “taking a knee” war rages on Twitter and the football field, North Korea is literally declaring war, the U.S. Senate is once again failing to do anything about a health care catastrophe, and millions of American citizens in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are dealing with natural disasters of historic proportion.

This week is a perfect demonstration of the fact that the politics of division are simply too tempting when two worn-out parties control the conversation and exclude everyone else.

Americans get it. We know what our priorities should be. But the Commission on Presidential Debates won’t let anyone on the stage who might offer a different approach. That’s why I am going to Washington, DC on October 26.

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