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Oct 2, 2012

Sponsors drop out of Presidential debates

Image: US News.

The Presidential Debates commission has a name above politics, one that represents itself as an independent organisation simply bringing the two nominees together to face tough questions simply because that is in the public interest.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It is in fact a cartel of Democrats and Republicans monopolizing the agenda to ensure power remains in the hands of the two major players, with the exclusion of all others.
We recently reported on the anti trust lawsuit launched by LP Nominee Gary Johnson challenging his exclusion from the debates, and accusing it of “colluding to exclude duly qualified candidates outside the Republican and Democratic Parties, are in violation of the nation's anti-trust laws.  He went on to call it: “A rigged system designed entirely to protect and perpetuate the two-party duopoly.” 
Meanwhile, there has been another campaign going on, attempting to persuade sponsors of the debates to withdraw, with some success
Philips Electronics has dropped its sponsorship of the 2012 presidential debates, citing a desire not to associate itself with "partisan politics," POLITICO has learned. 
Philips is the third and by far the largest of the original ten sponsors to pull its support, following similar decisions by British advertising firm BBH New York and the YWCA over the last week. Their decision to do so is seen as the result of intense lobbying efforts by advocacy organizations -- primarily Libertarian supporters of former Gov. Gary Johnson -- who oppose the exclusion of third-party candidates and who therefore believe the Commission on Presidential Debates is an anti-Democratic institution. 
Mark A. Stephenson, the head of corporate communications at Philips North America, told POLITICO that the company doesn't want to provide "even the slightest appearance of supporting partisan politics." … 
… George Farah, the executive director of Open Debates, one of the groups leading the charge for debate reform, celebrated the news.  "This is a triumph for the debate reform movement," Farah told POLITICO. "These former sponsors no longer want to be affiliated with an anti-democratic commission that defies the wishes of the American people." 
The Philips decision will be seen as a victory for those organizations -- including Open Debates, Help The Commission, and various Libertarian groups -- that want to end the hold the Commission on Presidential Debates has over the debate process.  
Last week, Open Debates and seventeen other organizations called on the Commission to release the contract negotiated between the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns for the debates, citing the possible existence of "anti-democratic provisions that sanitize debate formats, exclude viable third-party candidates and prohibit additional debates from being held." …
This may make some impact, mainly by any attendant publicity waking the electorate up to the fact it is being sold a pup.  The remaining sponsors are, Anheuser-Busch, The Howard G. Buffet Foundation, Sheldon S. Cohen, Crowell & Moring LLP, International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), The Kovler Fund, and Southwest Airlines, which means that the slack can be taken up easily.

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