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Proposal Details

Proposal ID736
ProposalJoin the Coalition For Open Debates 2016
PresenterSteering Committee
Floor ManagerStarlene Rankin
Discussion02/03/2014 - 02/23/2014
Voting02/24/2014 - 03/02/2014
Presens Quorum30 0.6666
Consens Quorum31 A Majority of Yes and No Votes


In 2012, Greens across the US demanded an invitation for Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein to the presidential debates. Green Party leaders and activists have insisted that the debates must include every candidate who is on enough ballots to win the White House and who has demonstrated a minimal level of support -- either 1% of the vote in a credible national poll or qualification for federal matching funds or both. Jill Stein and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson met all of these criteria.

Greens have called the CPD, which controls the debates, an attempt to rig elections. The CPD, owned and run by the Democratic and Republican parties and the two parties' corporate funders, determines criteria for participation and has decided that only the candidates of the two corporate-parties can participate. The CPD took over the debates in the early 1990s to limit the stage to their own candidates and to make sure that no challenging questions get asked. The League of Women Voters, which sponsored the debates before the CPD took over, has called this situation "a fraud on the American voter."

The Free and Equal Elections Foundation hosted the 2012 “3rd Party” Presidential debates that were moderated by Larry King and Thom Hartmann and viewed by an estimated 20 million people. Our candidate, Jill Stein, participated in all of these debates and it was a great boost to the campaign and our party. The activists who worked on the 2012 3rd Party debates are now organizing this Coalition and have started laying the groundwork down to create debates for 2016 that are viewed by far more than 20 million people and really help restore honest presidential debates in America.


Join the Coalition for Open Debates 2016 after a two-thirds vote of the Green Party Presidential Campaign Support Committee (PCSC) confirms the following:

a) That the rules for participation have been modified or clarified to ensure that the 2016 nominee of the Green Party will have virtual certainty of qualifying for the debates.

b) That a process for review of the debate format and management has been established that ensures that the topics, questions, formats, number of debates, moderators, and panelists will be fair to all participants and that any Green Party concerns regarding same will be given full consideration.

c) That should any debates be held prior to the Green Party nominating convention, the PCSC will be permitted to designate the candidate or candidates who shall speak for the Green Party in each debate.

d) That the rules and procedures of the Coalition, including the process for disqualifying candidates from later debates, do not place the Green Party candidate at an unfair disadvantage.

The PCSC shall be the continuing principal point of contact with the Open Debates Coalition and shall provide periodic reports to the Steering Committee and the National Committee regarding preparations for the debates and any needed actions on the part of the Green Party.

Should the PCSC decline to approve the joining of the Coalition, or make no decision on joining by January 31, 2015, the PCSC shall make a full report and the National Committee shall consider further action.

The PCSC shall investigate other debate opportunities and provide recommendations regarding the best approach to them for the Green Party. When presidential candidates are certified by the PCSC, the PCSC shall provide them with background information on the debates and shall seek their opinions regarding the approach to the debates.

Four Point Plan for After Joining
1 – More celebrity moderators. Larry King and Thom Hartmann generated significant amounts of press for those debates, and we plan on bringing in more names the entire world knows and cameras can’t help but follow to moderate the debates in 2016.

2 – Build a massive coalition. We intend to expand on the 57 media and organization sponsors F&E had for the 2012 debates, and we believe that America’s presidential debates should be run by a diverse coalition that well represents America rather than any single organization. In addition, RT America, Al Jazeera, Free Speech TV,, Link TV and CSPAN all broadcast the 2012 debates, and we’re going to work hard to expand that list of networks in 2016.

3 - In the summer of 2012 activists were able to get through to 2 companies and 1 organization (Phillips, BBH New York and the YWCA) that had been sponsors of the Commission on Presidential Debates and educate them about their debates being closed. We were late on the ball in trying to bring them on as sponsors of the open debates in 2012, and we’ll really need your help letting the CPD’s sponsors know about our coalition and inviting them to join us and our call for open debates. If we can get just one of them to join us, it will create an opportunity for a national news story.”

4 – At least 10 debates. We’ll start the 2016 debates in the early summer, and space them out so that the last one takes place right before the CPD’s start. The plan is to create demand for the candidates to be included in the CPD’s events. If they don’t allow them to their debate, we hope the entire country will become very aware of the fraud, and we’ll publicly invite the democrat and republican candidates to our platform while we continue hosting debates with our remaining candidates on the same nights the CPD’s are held to include the VP’s. We would ignore them just as they’ve ignored the disenfranchised party and independent candidates.


Promote projects and actions through press releases and social media. Encourage Greens to participate when there is an action happening in their area. Simulcast the debates on the Green Party livestream channel.


Coalition for Open Debates website -
Four Point Plan for Open & Honest Presidential Debates in 2016 that Supports Alternative Points of View:

From the Green Party Platform:
1.A Democracy; Political Reforms; Green Solutions
 g. Create a new publicly-funded People's Commission on Presidential Debates, and open its presidential debates to all candidates who appear on at least as many ballots as would represent a majority of the Electoral College and who raise enough funds to otherwise qualify for general election public financing. Any candidate who refuses to participate in such debates would lose general election public financing for their candidacy. Amend federal law to remove the non-profit tax exemption status that allows corporations to fund the existing Commission on Presidential Debates and other such exclusive privately controlled debate entities.

Article: "Open the Debates: Demand inclusion of Jill Stein and Gary Johnson!"
By Scott McLarty, FireDogLake (blog), September 20, 2012

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