Jill Stein and Gary Johnson: Why Aren’t They Debating?


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WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 23: Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein waits to be introduced prior to a press conference at the National Press Club August 23, 2016 in Washington, DC. Stein discussed her candidacy and her attempts to be included in the presidential debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates during her remarks. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Erika Spafford, Editor in Chief

UNITED STATES – One of the most historic presidential debates took place on September 26th, 2016, between Republican candidate, Donald Trump, and Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.  Since these two are leading in the polls and are covered the most on news networks, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are often forgotten.

Stein and Johnson, unlike Trump and Clinton, aren’t leading in the polls.  Because neither candidate has met the 15% threshold from various national polls, they, as well as their vice presidential choices, will not be allowed to partake in any presidential or vice presidential debates.

Although they failed to reach the 15% threshold, both candidates met the Commission on Presidential Debates’ (CPD) other two criteria: constitutional eligibility and that they “are on the ballots in enough states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority” (Berenson).

According to CNN, “the polling averages for the candidates had Clinton at 43%, Trump at 40.4%, Johnson at 8.4% and Stein at 3.2%.”  This shows that both candidates, Stein especially, have quite a ways to go before they meet the debate requirement.

With only two debates left, both must pick up the pace if they wish to stand behind a podium.  Despite not being present at the first debate on the 26th, Johnson and Stein are reportedly remaining optimistic.

“There are more polls and more debates,” Johnson stated in a CNN article.  He, as well as Stein, are planning to come back strong and take the stage at one of the other debates in October.

Mrs. Linda Schemenauer doesn’t want either candidate to participate in the debate since neither have the amount of supporters like Trump and Clinton.

“People are throwing their votes away with them, because they have no chance of debating.”

Though their current chances are slim, Andrew Zuhl, senior, thinks that Stein and Johnson should still have a shot.  

“I don’t think it’s fair that they are kept out of the debates because they don’t have the fifteen percent.  If they are allowed on the ballot, then they should be allowed to debate.

The next debates are set for October 9th and October 19.  If Johnson and Stein increase their polling threshold, they may possibly make an appearance and face off with the other candidates.