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Debate tonight should have a podium for the third party

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This whole election season has been an absurd mess that has devalued politics and its subsidiaries to a point that is beyond sad.

We all need an injection of sanity to give us, the American people, a glimmer of hope for the next four years. It’s a travesty, then, that the Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is excluded from the first debate tonight.

This comes as a surprise to absolutely no one as the Commission on Presidential Debates doesn’t allow third-party candidates into the debates. They rarely let someone who isn’t a Republican or Democrat in. There are those who argue that the CPD was created to hurt people like Johnson and big party politicians.

To start, a lot of people are going to harp on “Aleppogate.” But let’s be honest, if one flub disqualifies you from running for president, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are ineligible forever.

While Johnson’s numbers are great for a third-party candidate, he has not fully hit the CPD-set threshold of 15 percent (across five national polls) that grants him a spot in the debate.

Most states insist that a candidate has to be at 5 percent for major-party status. Johnson has surpassed that by going into the double digits in 42 states, surpassing the 5 percent cutoff by a mile.

Just another reason that Johnson should be on the debate stage and pitch his ideas.

Johnson is on the ballot in 50 states. Theoretically speaking, he has the ability to win the electoral votes of every state like Clinton and Trump. Every voter should see what Johnson has to offer. I am not crazy enough to think he could actually win the election, but there should be a level playing field.

Again, the rules of the CPD seem arbitrary and unhelpful to the promotion of democracy.

Moreover, voters agree that Johnson should be present on the debate stage. Quinnipiac University recently conducted a live-interview poll and asked a variety of questions to the nation — one of which includes whether Johnson should be included in tonight’s debate.

Sixty-two percent of those polled think that he should be debating tonight. This isn’t just me saying this, the people of the electorate are saying so.

As of now, Johnson is probably the most successful third-party candidate to run for president. Even if you don’t agree with his ideas, he has shown the ability to run a successful campaign that reaches people from all demographics and backgrounds.

In a country that places so much value on the idea of democracy and having a free flow of ideas, it’s disappointing that we’re not actively pushing for Johnson to debate.

CPD, let Johnson debate and let people know that the two people everyone is focused on aren’t the only options.

Opinion columnist Jorden Smith is a political science junior and president of the College Republicans. He can be reached at [email protected].

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