It's on You, It's on All of Us to Let Voters Know They Have More Options in November
Editor's Note: This article originally published on Medium and has been modified for publication on IVN by request of and with permission from the author.
To watch Free & Equal's presidential debate, go to the live stream on October 8, 2020 at 6pm MDT.
On the eve of the first televised debate of the general election, Open the Debates has launched a Democracy Day Money Bomb to draw a critical mass of resources and energy to a simple, foundational task to legitimize our presidential election.
While the Democrats and Republicans are poised to get away with yet another staged press event for their candidates, we are making one last stand to deliver voters a more accurate glimpse of their actual ballot choices for this important election.
Here’s the deal: 76% of US voters want open debates, where all ballot-qualified candidates are given a chance to lay out their ideas, visions, and values. A full 60% say we need at least a third major party.
Two third party candidates have overcome byzantine ballot access barriers, created by the two-party duopoly itself, to secure ballot status in enough states to win the election. One of them, the Libertarian Party’s Jo Jorgensen, will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and DC.
Yet the duopoly’s official-sounding Commission on Presidential Debates, literally created by the two parties in 1987 to wrest control of the televised debates away from the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, is doing everything in its power to limit voters’ understanding of their ballot choices.
Anyone who thinks the CPD is playing the role of a neutral steward of American democracy, working to advance a public interest vision of voter education is simply not paying attention. While the CPD claims to work “for the benefit of the American electorate,” their brazen scheme to subvert the crystal clear will of the electorate for more voices and choices has been one of the single-biggest destructive forces to any notion of American democracy.
Unfortunately, their debate fraud scheme has received the full blessing and backing of the entire political and media establishment. Even the League of Women Voters, who presciently rang the alarm when they were ultimately booted out in 1988, has failed US voters in their nonpartisan voter education mission through silence and timidity. Their former president Dorothy Ridings serves as a co-chair of the corrupt CPD, and recently took to the airwaves to disingenuously give cover to their anti-democratic nonsense.
Sadly, it is up to us, a rag tag crew of volunteers and wannabe civic leaders, to let US voters know they actually do have more choices in this election. It is up to you, dear reader, to draw a line in the sand and take a stand for free and fair elections.
Here’s the good news: US voters want to be better informed. US voters believe very deeply that our elections ought to be fair, meaningful, and constructive. US voters want to see more voices and visions expressed in our political debates. So it’s actually a light lift. It’s a refreshing, cross-partisan, public interest message with very little dissent.
That is why we are focusing on a dual goal of 1,000 donors and 1,000 volunteers.
1,000 donations at an average of $27 will mean we can on-board four organizers for the final stretch of Election 2020.
1,000 volunteers will mean we will be able to blanket small media markets with effective letters-to-the-editor and op-eds and other earned media placement to inject a nonpartisan/cross-partisan message of genuine voter education into the national conversation.
If we succeed at these goals today, it would be a newsworthy event that would draw media coverage from true public interest media.
When US voters overwhelmingly want more voices and better choices, but are being denied this obvious opportunity to hear from all 4 presidential contenders on enough ballots to win, there is a huge opening for truth tellers to set the record straight.
The truth is that this is massive domestic interference in our elections. This is an attack on any notion of US democracy. This is a shameless distortion of political reality that the two parties have gotten away with for far too long.
But we don’t have to keep letting them get away with it. This robbery in plain sight CAN be stopped. But we have to speak up loudly to do it. And we have to come together across partisan divides and across the political spectrum to effectively raise this issue up the flagpole.
We need YOU to stand with us!