First US presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton excluding Gary Johnson and Jill Stein

September 16, 2016 9:53 pm

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson (L) and Green Party nominee Jill Stein

US Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein have not been invited to the first presidential debate because of their poor polling performance.
The US Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced Friday that the September 26 debate will only be attended by Republican nominee and his Democratic rival Hilary Clinton, as well as their running mates.
“I would say I am surprised that the CPD has chosen to exclude me from the first debate, but I’m not,” Johnson said in a statement.
“After all, the Commission is a private organization created 30 years ago by the Republican and Democratic parties for the clear purpose of taking control of the only nationally-televised presidential debates voters will see. At the time of its creation, the leaders of those two parties made no effort to hide the fact that they didn’t want any third party intrusions into their shows,” he added.
This is a serious blow to the campaigns of Stein and Johnson, who were hoping to bank on Clinton and Trump’s unpopularity during this election cycle and gain more support among voters.

Republican nominee Donald Trump (L) and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton

To be on the debate stage, candidates need to reach 15 percent support in an average of five national polls.
In the CPD’s sample of polls, Johnson scored an average support of 8.4 percent while Stein averaged 3.2 percent.
Both third-party candidates have blasted the rule that has been in place since the 2000 election cycle.
Earlier this month, Johnson told The Des Moines Register in an interview that his poll numbers, regardless of how low they were in comparison, still meant that he was supported by millions of people.
“When you’re representing 13 million people, how do you discount that? How do you say 13 million people shouldn’t be represented on the stage?” he asked.
While the CPD insists that voters only want Trump and Clinton on the stage, a recent poll told another story.
The Morning Consult poll released earlier this month showed that 52 percent of voters wanted Johnson on the stage at the first debate, and 47 percent said the same about Stein.
“It is unfortunate that the CPD doesn’t believe such a voice should be heard,” Johnson said, while hoping that he will secure a spot on the next two debates on October 9 and 19.
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