Third Party Debate at Columbia University : Nader, McKinney, Baldwin, Goodman

After a failed attempt for a YouTube debate to be held in New Orleans in September, organizers are finally going to give some of the Third Party and Independent candidates a chance to speak.  The Venue will Be Columbia University in New York.  The candidates less Bob Barr, who says he has a scheduling conflict will meet this Sunday and will be broadcast by C-Span. 

Third-party candidates to debate on Sunday

WASHINGTON — Third-party presidential candidates finally will have their own debate: at 8 p.m. Sunday at Columbia University in New York.

The debate, which will be announced Wednesday, will include at least three of the four third-party candidates – independent Ralph Nader, the Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney and the Constitution Party’s Chuck Baldwin. Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr said he has a scheduling conflict, but debate organizers say he wanted to appear only with Nader. (Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain are also invited.)

Nader and Barr are on the ballot in 45 states, while the Green Party is on 31 state ballots and the Constitution Party is on the ballot in 37 states. Nader and McKinney also are on the District of Columbia ballot.

Organizers say the debate is an important exercise in democracy, especially because the debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (the last of which is Wednesday night) exclude candidates scoring below 15 percent in national polls. Nader, the best known of the candidates, has an average of 2.5 percent in recent national polls, according to, while Barr averages 1.5 percent.

Nader maintains that if he could get into the debates run by the Commission on Presidential Debates, his numbers would immediately climb because “two-thirds of the people don’t know we’re running.”

“It’s a Catch-22.”

Nader describes the debate commission as “a two-party dictatorial company that doesn’t want anybody else on the stage.” The commission, created in 1987, is a corporation headed by two former chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties.

But third-party critics of the system recently got some traction: the second of the presidential debates prompted a chorus of criticism of the “boring” format and the lack of follow-up questions.

Nader also will give the issue more visibility at a rally to open the debates Wednesday night at New York’s historic Cooper Union Great Hall, where presidential candidates back to Abraham Lincoln have spoken.

Third Party Debate at Columbia Univ on Sunday w/ Nader, McKinney, Baldwin, Amy Goodman

Details are still being hashed out, but so far at least Nader, Cynthia and Constitution Party Candidate Chuck Baldwin will attend a debate on Sunday at 7pm at Columbia University, moderated by Pacifica Radio’s Amy Goodman.  No word on whether Pacifica will carry the broadcast, but it will be on C-SPAN (whether live or not is anybody’s guess).  Libertarian Bob Barr is claiming a ‘conflict’, I guess ’cause he can’t handle a debate with anyone but Nader, which is too bad – it’s always good to have the Libertarians to kick around.

I attended a 3-way debate between David Cobb (G), Michael Badnarik (LP), and Michael Peroutka (CP) in NYC in 2004, and it was a really great event.  All of the candidates actually answered the questions, first of all, which was very refreshing.

I’m flying back from Phoenix that day, and will try to get my flight moved up so I can be there to liveblog it.  I’ll post more details when I hear about them, but use the comments to add any details I don’t have yet. If you can get to NYC this weekend please attend – let’s make a good Green showing, shall we?

2004 presidential candidates from 3rd parties met on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York for a 90 minute debate. Government Professor Theodore Lowi of Cornell moderated the event. Participants include Michael Badnarik, Libertarian Party; Michael Peroutka, Constitution Party; David Cobb Green Party; Walt Brown, Socialist Party.

Sunday, October 10, 2004 : Washington, DC : 1 hr. 30 min.

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Nader, Barr, and McKinney sharing workers to get on State Ballots. Nader, McKinney, Baldwin, Goodman IMG_0999

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