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As I See It

More candidates needed on debate stage

Scott Robert Shaw

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Back to the debate stage tonight, as the Vice Presidential candidates meet for the first and only time. We trust it won’t be a repeat of the first presidential debate, which quickly devolved into a shouting match. It left many wondering, “Are these are only choices?” One may think so, with the debate stage occupied only by two elderly white men. But there are other choices for President. Unfortunately, it takes a little digging to find that out. That is because only the two major party candidates have been invited to participate in the debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates says it will allow third-party candidates to participate in debates if they garner at least 15% of support in the polls. But most polls don’t offer a third choice, other than “other” or “independent.” It is hard to express your preference if it isn’t a choice, making it harder to get other candidates on the stage. This year, voters will have choices at the polls of the Libertarian party candidate, a Constitution Party candidate and a candidate for the American Solidarity party. What is the harm in letting them participate in the debates? Ross Perot saw his support rise when he was allowed to participate in the debates. Jesse Ventura likely wouldn’t have become Minnesota’s governor if he wasn’t allowed into the debates. We often hear new ideas from third party candidates. If nothing else, allowing other candidates to take the stage would take time away from the mainstream candidates and likely mean less shouting and finger pointing. And that would be a refreshing thing.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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