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This debate footage is so remarkable to watch in 2019, for several reasons. 1: They allowed a third party candidate in a general debate 2: The candidate is able to take breaths & even pause without someone cutting jumping in, allowing him to make an complete point 3: No one is talking over him while he talks.

Sure the candidates are tougher to manage in 2019 (especially after Trump changed the game in '16), but the debate moderation we've seen so far is truly pathetic, and I blame the moderators for robbing voters of the more meaningful discourse that might be possible if moderators did their jobs by actually enforcing time limits & forbidding interruptions (by cutting mics).




Ross Perot was a very significant third party candidate, which makes his appearance on the debates much more understandable.

Ross got 19% of the popular vote in '92, which was just shy of half of what Clinton and Bush got. Pretty remarkable showing honestly. Most 3rd party candidates never get more than a few percent.


It takes 15% of the vote in the polling to be eligible to debate as a third party candidate, but it's hard to get to 15% if you're not allowed to debate. A catch-22. These rules are decided by a commission that includes democrats and republicans, but not independents.

Gary Johnson has campaigned vigorously to try to get this rule changed through the courts, but apparently without much success.


They’d allow a third party candidate now if they did as well. To qualify, a third party candidate need to poll at 15% or above and be on enough state ballots to have at least a possibility of winning. Nobody has even come close to that since Perot.


Gary Johnson reached 12% in August 2016. Clinton started running ads against Johnson around this time as well, to prevent him from getting to the 15% mark. Then the Aleppo gaffe happened in September, which effectively killed his remaining chances.


My dad voted for Perot, as did I in my school's mock election at the time. He regretted it in the end, attributing his own vote to doing nothing more than causing Bush to lose, but there's never shame in voting for who you think is the best candidate for the job.

In a nation of 300+ million people, having two realistic choices isn't remotely enough to cover everyone's viewpoint. Two parties is much easier for people with money to bribe. It's a good setup for average folks to lose in class warfare (and those of us who work, have indeed lost). Even the convenience store has more than just Pepsi and Coke.


I no longer watch debates because I've realized that the broadcasters prefer the format you mentioned. They prefer it because it's more entertaining and that drives ratings which drives revenue.

The media conglomerates are not interested in substantive policy discussions.


Ross Perot was also mad at that even with the access he had. So he did 30-minute commercial blocks [1] and used them as campaign ads/media/airtime during primetime to make up for time on the debates and how the two party system blocks out other parties and candidates.

[1] https://www.c-span.org/video/?34277-1/perot-campaign-commerc...


I don't think the personal political opinions of candidates matter anyway; the money that they represent or the obligations they have to entities of power are more important.


it’s proof positive imo that profit motive doesn’t always work to the best result... perot’s warning about nafta (among other things) was completely ignored and instead just treated him like a clown because of his accent and looks... makes one wonder what we are doing to candidates today in the media...


> They allowed a third party candidate in a general debate

I was only eight years old at the time, but I remember watching that debate specifically because it was a big deal that he was on the stage. To eight-year-old me, that was history in the making.

Thinking back, I was a pretty weird kid. I also vividly remember pretending I was asleep until my grandparents went to bed, then sneaking back to the living room and turning on the TV to watch the news during the Operation Desert Storm (Jan 1991) and the Ruby Ridge standoff (March 1993). I was seven and nine years old for those events, respectively. We didn't even have cable, so I was flipping between infomercials on the three channels we got over the air and trying to catch reruns of the news.


Similar childhood here: at a little under 5 I watched the 1980 election, rooting for the third-party candidate[0] because I thought he was Orville Redenbacher[1].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Anderson [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orville_Redenbacher


I would probably have voted for Orville Redenbacher without even knowing what his politic leanings are.


When I was 7 at the time I had a killer Ross Perot impression that my family thought was hilarious. But yeah, I remember those times well and I remember my grand parents actually really liked him as a candidate.


There's no way to think that the terrible questions, the lack of follow up, and the lightweight Today Show-type moderators are not an intentional choice by network owners who don't want the candidates' direct address to the audience to affect the outcome in a serious way.


Watch the first televised debate, Kennedy/Nixon. It’s an hour of substantive policy discussion.




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