Doug Campbell knows just how important third-party candidacies can be (and how often they're ignored). After all, it was Tom Tancredo's run for governor in 2010 as the American Constitution Party candidate that elevated that group to major-party status here in Colorado, even though Tancredo has since returned to the Republican Party.
So Campbell, state chair of the American Constitution Party (the "Third Major Party in Colorado"), has sent out an alert about the "other" Presidential candidates, who are "being hidden (as best the debate commission can) from the American voters," he says. But you can see them at this writing in a two-hour "Expanding the Debate" livestream on the Democracy Now website.
The debaters, including Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson and Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party ("Finally," says Campbell), are being asked the same questions that were posed to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney last night. "Expanding the Debate" will run until 8 a.m. MST; check the Colorado Public Television site to see if parts will be rerun on the Democracy Now show that airs on CPT.12.
Campbell ends with this: "Let me recommend to everyone that you visit website OpenUpTheDebates.org to read and sign the petition there and read the criteria being proposed for the debate commission to use for future debates."
Debates in the mainstream media are often limited to major-party candidates; while Channel 4 has been including just Democratic and Republican nominees in its on-air debates, CPT12 has devoted other debates to third-party candidates. But when Tancredo ran for governor on the American Constitution Party ticket, he was included in most debates -- and his presence certainly livened the discussion. (Campbell, who'd been the party's lieutenant governor candidate, stepped aside for Tancredo choice Pat Miller.)
And while Tancredo picked up 36 percent of the vote, Dan Maes, the official Republican candidate, barely cleared 10 percent -- which is the official level to be considered a major party in Colorado.
Thanks to Tancredo, that's a status that the American Constitution Party still enjoys in Colorado....but no party candidate is running in a statewide race, so the matter of including them in debates hasn't come up.
Not this year, at least. But there's always 2014...
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Tom Tancredo has never shied away from a debate. Shortly after he lost the race for governor, he faced off against the author of "Ask a Mexican" in a discussion of immigration. Read more in "Border lines: Tom Tancredo and Gustavo Arellano, opponents on immigration and allies on legalization."