Ever since Gary Johnson was excluded from the 2012 debates he’s been working to break the corrupt duopoly of the Commission on Presidential Debates. The commission is a private organization that was founded by Republicans and Democrats to control the criteria for debate access. And therein lies the problem, because it was founded and is run by the two parties, those are the only candidates that ever seem to meet their criteria for inclusion.
Gary Johnson has been taking the fight to them over the past few years. Libertarians have been anxiously awaiting news regarding his pending lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates. This week Gary sent out an email to supporters that proclaimed that the suit had finally been filed. This time the lawsuit was filed in Federal Court in Washington D.C. The lawsuit was officially filed and organized by a non-partisan group called Level the Playing Field. The Libertarian Party and Green Party joined as plaintiffs, as well as Gary Johnson’s Our America Initiative.
Johnson had already filed one suit after the 2012 election arguing that anti-trust legislation should have protected him from discrimination by the CPD. That suit stated that the commission was in effect a trust set up by Republicans and Democrats to keep third parties out. Unfortunately, the case was dismissed because it was filed in California, and the judge declared the CPD did not have enough of a presence for jurisdiction. That was rather disheartening for those with future hopes of challenging the CPD.
But, when at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This new lawsuit is being filed in Washington D.C. to clear that hurdle, among others. The group that filed the suit, Level the Playing Field, is the successor to the defunct American’s Elect organization that failed to get their candidate on the ballot in 2012. They’re funded by multi millionaire Peter Ackerman, so hopefully they have the resources necessary to continue this legal battle for the years it could take.
While it’s not sure if that the suit will be decided before the 2016 election, it sure would be nice if that happened. Gary Johnson deserves to be on the debate stage as much as any other party’s candidate. His past debate performances have proven that he’s a force to be reckoned with. It might even be enough to get him the 5% of the vote the Libertarian Party needs to get guaranteed ballot access and public funding. Without that, the party is likely to continue getting 1% of the vote as they have for their past 40 years.
Time will tell. Even though Gary Johnson’s lawsuit against the CPD could be just as easily dismissed as the previous one was, libertarians remain optimistic.