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Those not present at the debate make a bigger difference

The second presidential debate Tuesday night featured two candidates with remarkably similar ideals, nitpicking over taxes and practically nothing else.
While what President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said might have had a large effect on the election, the lack of any other candidates makes an enormous difference, for the worse. Without opening the debates to potentially viable third party candidates, the U.S. will make very little progress in creating a better tomorrow.
Other candidates? Yes, they do exist. But the Democratic and Republican parties are doing their best to make sure you don’t know that. Here’s how.
The Commission on Presidential Debates took over as the official sponsor of the debates in the late 1980s from the League of Women Voters. While initially claiming itself nonpartisan, it was evident from the beginning that the CPD was a bipartisan group. It was chaired by the then-current chairs of both the Democratic and Republican National Committees.
Essentially, the Democratic and Republican parties were angry that the League of Women Voters would not conform to their will, and even allowed third party candidates into the debates.
This bipartisan CPD has done everything in its power to prevent third party candidates from entering debates. It first established a subjective criteria to allow third party candidates into debates, and even then only allowed a third party candidate when both parties agreed upon it in 1992.
Once challenged by the government due to its unfair practices, it created an objective criteria for inclusion in debates. They made it essentially unobtainable for third party candidates to be allowed into debates, with the standard being three times what is required for public funding of third parties in the U.S.
The closed debates that we currently are stuck with do very little to help promote choice, or democracy. According to a 2011 Gallup poll, over 50 percent of Americans believe that a third party is needed in the U.S. because the current two parties do not represent their best interests. In spite of this, the CPD is doing its best to maintain its power, which is given to it by the Democrats and Republicans.
I’m sure many of you fully support neither Obama nor Romney. And imagine how much more interesting the debates would be with third party candidates. Not only would a wider variety of opinions be given to the American public, but larger ideas will be introduced into the political spectrum, enacting change even if the minor candidate doesn’t win an election.
Many Americans are unhappy with both major political parties. Now is the time for us all to take action against the Democrats and Republicans desperately clinging to power. Look to the third party candidates in the ballot in Mississippi. From the Libertarian party is Gary Johnson, who bills himself as more economically conservative than Romney, and more socially liberal than Obama. From the Green Party is Jill Stein, who supports expanding education and health care to all citizens of the U.S., as well as stronger environmental regulations. Even if you end up voting for Obama or Romney because they most closely follow your ideals, be glad that you are acting in your own interests, and not those of political parties.

Jay Nogami is a sophomore public policy leadership major from Denver, Colo. Follow him on Twitter @JayTNogami.