For too long, the Democrats and Republicans have worked together to protect their grip on our political system. Over many decades, they have built up a fortress of systematic advantages that shuts out independent competition and limits the political discourse to false binary choices.
Record numbers of US voters now believe we need a third major party, and far more Americans identify as independent (39%) than either political party (31% Democrat, 28% Republican). But the two-party duopoly and their associated political industrial complex works diligently behind the scenes to control the narrative and thwart any would-be competition.
The most insidious way the two parties block new voices and choices is through exclusionary political debates.
Starting with the bipartisan launch of the private Commission on Presidential Debates in 1987, the Democrats and Republicans have worked to keep independent and third party candidates out of presidential debates, with Ross Perot’s 1992 campaign being the one exception. At the local level, Democratic and Republican candidates routinely compel debate hosts and sponsors to invite only candidates from the two major parties, and the media plays along.
Voters don’t even know this is happening.
The good news is that the arguments in favor of closed debates are weak and unpopular. In fact, 3 out of 4 of voters think debates should be open to all ballot-qualified candidates.
By taking on closed debates, we will take on the duopoly at their weakest defense point. We will shine a bright light on the fundamental and widely-held principles that closed debates violate:
- Our democratic republic is healthiest with a well-informed electorate
- Voters deserve to learn about all of the choices on their ballot
We will use the small handful of statewide elections in 2019 as a proving ground for our strategies. We will organize to bring grassroots pressure to bear on the people and institutions that work together to justify, excuse, implement, and promote exclusionary debates. We will organize broadly to change the prevailing mindsets that limit the effectiveness of independent and third party campaigns. And we will change the narrative about what's possible in the fight to fix a broken political system.
We know we can win locally, and gaining momentum with some local breakthroughs will help set the stage for opening up the presidential debates in 2020.
The time is ripe to open up the political debates of our nation at every level of government. We hope you'll join with us and support the fight to end the travesty of closed debates.
Since 2012, a small group of citizens across the political spectrum who felt marginalized by exclusionary debates has been using social media to challenge the duopoly control of these important public interest forums. We each had petitions on Change.org that were gaining traction, but we decided to pool together our efforts to create a unified, non-partisan and cross-partisan voice, and have been coordinating ever since as Open the Debates, without spending a dime.
Now we are taking the fight for open debates to the next level. We’ll be focusing on the small handful of statewide races in 2019 to test out our strategies and build momentum for 2020 with some local breakthroughs. We are confident that with the right organizing, we can grow our support to over 100,000 people in 2019 and one million strong in 2020—becoming a force that can no longer be ignored.
USE OF FUNDS
The money raised here will go directly into the startup costs for getting Open the Debates off the ground as an effective national organizing vehicle on this critical issue, including the hiring of a full-time director. We hope to raise a total of $25,000 by February, 2019 through crowdfunding and major gifts, and another $100,000 by June, 2019.
DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT
Great news! Thanks to a generous donor, the next $10,000 that we can raise on this Crowdpac by February will be doubled!! Help us smash through our $10,000 goal by donating & sharing widely!
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“You can't spoil a system that's rotten to its core. But you can fix it. #OpenTheDebates to #MoreVoicesBetterChoices!”
January 31, 2019
This is an unprecedented moment in American politics. The old rules no longer apply, and the new rules are as yet unwritten. Never before have we seen such a ruckus about a potential independent campaign this far out from a presidential election.
Most of all, the American people are fed up with a fundamentally broken political system. The time for solutions is now. The time for meaningful, constructive, and inclusive debate is now.
While we hold no illusions about forcing open the 2020 presidential debates to all candidates on enough ballots to win, we think this could be the election cycle that does it. We are gearing up to build a national grassroots force that can change the political conversation and the political realities on the ground.
We’re focusing where we are confident we can win some smaller victories and build momentum for the bigger battles ahead. There are 3 gubernatorial elections in 2019, in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and we will work to ensure that any general election debates are open to all ballot-qualified candidates.
But we welcome the jolt of independent-minded energy into the 2020 presidential election cycle, and we will ride the wave as far as it will take us.
Best of all, thanks to a matching gift from a generous donor, the next $10,000 we raise on this Crowdpac campaign will be matched, dollar for dollar!
Now you can make an investment in a healthy and vibrant democracy, and double your impact today! The time to #OpenTheDebates to #MoreVoicesBetterChoices is NOW!
January 9, 2019
THANK YOU to the 20 generous donors who have helped us reach the important milestone of 25% of our crowdfunding goal.
WITH YOUR SUPPORT we will seize this unprecedented opportunity to remake our political system so that it truly represents We, the People.
We need more voices and better choices in the political discourse, now more than ever.
We're happy to share that our first article published at the Independent Voter Network, and the associated graphics, have gotten a lot of traction. We're reframing the story about this broken system and the common sense fixes that are at hand and gaining steam.
Please share the article and the graphics that help make the case that it's time, past time, to #OpenTheDebates to #MoreVoicesBetterChoices.
And thank you for getting in on the ground floor of this growing push for fair and informative debates.