Commission on Presidential Debates
September 16, 2016

CPD Invites Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump to Debate

Washington, D.C. (September 16, 2016) - The nonpartisan, non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates ("CPD") announced today that it has applied its Nonpartisan Candidate Selection Criteria for 2016 General Election Debate participation to determine eligibility to participate in the presidential debate to take place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on September 26 and the vice-presidential debate to take place on October 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

Pursuant to the criteria, which were publicly announced on October 29, 2015, those candidates qualify for debate participation who: (1) are constitutionally eligible to hold the office of President of the United States; (2) have achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority in the general election; and (3) have demonstrated a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate, as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations' most recent publicly-reported results.

The Board of Directors of the CPD convened today to apply the criteria. Of the many declared candidates, four candidates presently satisfy the first two criteria: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

With respect to the third criterion, on August 15, 2016, CPD announced the five polls it would rely upon, which were selected with the professional advice of Dr. Frank Newport, Editor-in-Chief of Gallup. The polls were selected based on: the reliable frequency of polling and sample size used by the polling organization; the soundness of the survey methodology employed by the polling organization; and the longevity and reputation of the polling organization. The five selected polls are: ABC-Washington Post; CBS-New York Times; CNN-Opinion Research Corporation; Fox News; and NBC-Wall Street Journal.

With the assistance of Dr. Newport, the Board determined that the polling averages called for in the third criterion are as follows: Hillary Clinton (43%), Donald Trump (40.4%), Gary Johnson (8.4%) and Jill Stein (3.2%). Accordingly, Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, and Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, qualify to participate in the September 26 presidential debate and the October 4 vice-presidential debate, respectively. No other candidates satisfied the criteria for inclusion in the September 26 and October 4 debates. The criteria will be reapplied to all candidates in advance of the second and third presidential debates.

The CPD has successfully sponsored the presidential and vice presidential general election debates since 1988. The CPD's planning for the 2016 debates has extended over a period of years and has drawn upon the CPD's now-extensive experience in sponsoring general election debates. CPD announced the five journalists who will moderate those debates: Lester Holt, Elaine Quijano, Martha Raddatz, Anderson Cooper, and Chris Wallace.

The candidates who have qualified to participate today previously have committed to participate in the debates sponsored by the CPD.

Ed. note: Johnson's website showed the polling average at 10.0 not 8.4%:

Gary Johnson 2016


Gov. Gary Johnson - Libertarian candidate for President - issued the following statement today reacting to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announcement that only the Republican and Democratic nominees will be invited to the first debate of this election season:

I would say I am surprised that the CPD has chosen to exclude me from the first debate, but I’m not. 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.

The only time a third candidate has been allowed on the stage was 1992, when both parties wanted him on the stage for their own purposes. It should be noted that, when Perot was allowed on the stage, polls showed his support to be in single digits, below where Johnson and Weld are currently polling.

The CPD may scoff at a ticket that enjoys ‘only’ 9 or 10% in their hand-selected polls, but even 9% represents 13 million voters, more than the total population of Ohio and most other states. Yet, the Republicans and Democrats are choosing to silence the candidate preferred by those millions of Americans.

Americans are tired of rigged systems, and the monopoly on debates created by the CPD is a prime and skillfully executed example.

Bill Weld and I will continue to fight to provide a voice and an alternative for independents, disenfranchised Republicans and Democrats, Millennials and others who aren’t satisfied with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as their options.

It is unfortunate that the CPD doesn’t believe such a voice should be heard. There are more polls and more debates, and we plan to be on the debate stage in October.

Jill Stein for President
September 16, 2016

Jill Stein Continues to Call for Open Debates Despite Commission Decision

In a predictable decision, the Democratic and Republican Parties have insured that only their voices will be heard by the American people. How? Through their private corporation named the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). The CPD was created to ensure the debates serve the interests of the two-party system, and it is working precisely as intended.

Despite today's decision by the Commission, Green Party nominee Jill Stein said she and her running mate Ajamu Baraka intend to go to Hofstra University on the night of September 26th, accompanied by hundreds of supporters who will do everything in their power to uphold the principles of democracy in this election. "We will be at the debate to insist that Americans not only have a right to vote, but we have a right to know who we can vote for," said Stein.

In response to the decision, Jill Stein urged people to join her at the gates at Hofstra University. She went on to say: "The commission is fooling the voter into thinking the commission is independent and non-partisan. They created an arbitrary 15% polling barrier to stifle competition, and prevent a real debate about the future of this country. That's two-party tyranny, not democracy."

The Stein/Baraka campaign considers the 15% polling barrier to be illegitimate, and calls for the debates to be open to candidates who are on ballots in enough states to achieve 270 electoral college votes.

A USA Today poll found that 76% of voters in the United States want a four-candidate debate that includes Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. Green Party Vice presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka added: "This commission is standing in the way of three-quarters of US voters. How can a self-created 'commission' representing the two parties stop the public from hearing from all four candidates? The two pasrties are making this decision even though they represent a minority of voters. Independent voters make up a plurality, maybe even a majority, of the US electorate. This makes a mockery of democracy when two big business parties decide who can participate. That is an oligarchy, not a democracy."

"The United States is facing a crisis in democracy," added Stein. "The people have lost faith in public institutions. They are losing confidence in the integrity of elections. Now the people are being told that only two choices can be heard. And to add insult to injury, these are the two most disliked and distrusted candidates in US history. The Stein/Baraka campaign believes it is time to restore power to the people - and we will be there on September 26 to make it happen."

The Stein/Baraka campaign has held three protests so far, most recently at the headquarters of the CPD in Washington, DC. The campaign plans to continue their demands through all four debates in the hopes of opening them up.

The Stein/Baraka campaign thanks the League of Women Voters for their sponsorship of past Presidential debates, and calls on them to sponsor at least one debate with all four candidates who are on enough ballots to achieve 270 electoral college votes. The League of Women Voters ended their sponsorship of the debates in 1988, saying that they had "no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."

Engaged citizens are calling for an Occupy Debates movement, beginning on the 5th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, outside of the commission's offices. Protests are also being planned around the country.