The 45 percent of Americans who identify themselves as independents will never have a voice in the presidential election unless the debate rules are changed to allow one of their own to participate, James K. Glassman of Change The Rule tells Newsmax TV.
"They will never have a candidate to vote for unless that candidate is validated through a debate, Glassman, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and founding executive director at the George W. Bush Institute, told "Hard Line" host Ed Berliner.
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Glassman admitted that including too many independents can crowd the debate stage. His group suggests an online vote to choose the independent candidate to debate with the Democrat and Republican chosen by the major party primaries.
"There'll be a Republican, a Democrat and an independent, and that independent will be chosen not by the party bosses or any of that nonsense," he said.
Though there is no fully fleshed-out plan yet, Glassman said the group is looking at a series of debates to winnow the field. In order to qualify for those debates, a candidate would have to get enough signatures to be on the ballot in enough states to constitute 270 electoral votes.
"That's very difficult," he said. "Maybe there are half a dozen people who would qualify. Maybe it's a dozen, who knows?"
The real problem, he said, is the Commission on Presidential Debates. The commission "is made up of partisan Republicans and Democrats who want to deny the 45 percent of Americans who say they're independent a chanced to have an independent on that stage," he said.
Geoffrey Skelley, associate editor at Sabato's Crystal Ball, was skeptical, telling Berliner that it would be hard to find one independent to represent all independents.
"The issue there is that ideologically independents are somewhat all over the map," Skelley said. "Being independent doesn't necessarily mean you're moderate, politically."
Change the Rule
is made up of several former lawmakers, public officials and academics from across the political spectrum.
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