Greens protest the CPD at Dominican University



photo of Jill Stein at Hofstra Debate in 2012



September 6, 2016

Contact:  Laura Wells laurawells510@gmail.com510-504-4254

                David Curtis 415-317-4002

Greens push for open debates at protest Tuesday

at Dominican University - Similar 2010 demonstration

led to arrest of the Green Party gubernatorial candidate

San Rafael, CA - Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - Bay Area Green Party members and supporters will protest the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) at CPD’s student engagement program at Dominican University, 50 Acacia Avenue in San Rafael, outside Angelico Hall, beginning at 12:30 p.m.


Bay Area Greens report that the CPD and Dominican University have a history of locking the Green Party out of the political discourse and last week the University prohibited Greens Party members from registering voters on campus.

The Greens didn't say they'd risk arrest Tuesday, but in 2010, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells was arrested at Dominican protesting her exclusion from a debate. Wells, who will be at Tuesday's protest, said, “They arrested me at a gubernatorial debate when I was a candidate with a ticket in my hand just trying to be in the audience. The charge was ‘trespassing at a private party‘ — it sure is private, not public as it should be.”  

The Greens are calling for the presidential debates to include all candidates who are on enough ballots to mathematically win the Presidency, which in 2016 would mean 4 candidates in the debates, including Clinton, Trump, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

The Greens object to the CPD’s 15% polling threshold for candidate eligibility in the debates, charging that requirement is designed to exclude emerging party candidates

Greens point out it's a Catch 22 because, in order for a candidate to get to 15%, a candidate must be able to be presented to voters in a debate.  This is well demonstrated in the historical example of Ross Perot  polling at 7% before he was able to participate in the 1992 Presidential Debate and after the debates, Perot's numbers nearly tripled to 20%. 

And, Jesse Ventura as an independent (Reform Party) candidate for Governor in 1998 was polling at less than 10 percent before he was allowed to debate against the Democrats and Republicans, and as a result of debating well his support increased and he went on to win.

The protest of the CPD is taking place at Dominican University as the CPD has partnered with Dominican University to bring 150 college students from across the country together to the campus on September 6 to engage in political dialogue tied into the Presidential Debates. Dominican University's and CPD's program claims to be a "non-partisan initiative to empower young voters" to engage in the election and identify issues for the presidential debates.

The protesters critique the CPD for appearing to be an impartial, public body, when it is actually a private organization run by the Democratic and Republican parties and funded by big business, acting to stifle real democracy by locking out the voices and ideas of independent candidates.  The CPD gained control of the presidential debates after the League of Women Voter's pulled out of the debates in 1988, when the League stated that the “unprecedented control” demanded by the Democrats and Republicans would make the debates “campaign-trail charades” that would “perpetrate fraud on the American voter”. [ ]

Marilyn Langlois, former Richmond Progressive Alliance candidate for City Council in Richmond, CA, said “I visited friends in Switzerland and Austria this year, and they are all shocked and incredulous when I tell them that all 3rd parties are absolutely excluded from televised presidential debates in the US.” 

Langlois will participate Tuesday in the action, and present a statement by former Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who said: “Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are militaristic candidates who will not change the very frightening direction in which our country is going.” She added, “Voters need to hear that there are other perspectives out there and the purpose of holding debates is to showcase such differences.”

Jill Stein’s platform calls for abolishing student debt and other policies attractive to Millennials. In a McClatchy/Marist poll, Jill Stein is polling over 15% among voters younger than 30.  Young Greens point out that the CPD’s exclusion of Jill Stein from the debates, disregards young voters while the CPD simultaneously asks them to promote dialogue related to the Presidential Debates on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. Greens expect young voters will not be easily fooled by a rigged system geared toward those candidates who curry corporate money.  And, Greens are committed to calling out organizations like CPD which sports only the veneer of non-partisanship.  

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