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East County News Service

September 19, 2016 (San Diego) -- Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton will face off on September 26th at 6 p.m.Pacific Standard Time in the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York. Lester Holt from NBC news will be the moderator.

But third party candidates won’t be included, because none averaged 15% or more in at least five national polls—the threshold set by debate organizers.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson calls the debate a “rigged game.” He is polling nationally at about 8% but reached 14% in a recent Washington Post poll.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who is polling at 3.2%, has launched a petition calling for debates to be opened up to all candidates who qualified for the ballot in enough states to be a choice for a majority of voters.  She says she will be outside the debate location with hundreds of her supporters.

Clinton polled at 43% and Trump at 40% when the debate deadline arrived.

The decision also means that only the two major party vice presidents, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, will participate in an Oct. 4 vice presidential debate.

The door is still theoretically open for minor party candidates to be included in additional debates scheduled—but only if Johnson or Stein can reach the 15% polling threshold soon.

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---or the continuation of farcical and acrimonious exchanges, to create the illusion that these two most despised candidates ever, actually mean to serve the public instead of their moneyed connections, while massaging their out-sized egos. It's well past time for the public to take matters into its own hands insofar as controlling our electoral processes. We must utterly destroy the system that provides for the corrupt political parties to control the presidential debates. Where is it written, that the two "major parties" (who achieved their 'majority' through denying all other parties a voice) should get to decide who the public will hear in debate? The debates were functioning perfectly well and fairly when the League of Women Voters were in control of the debates. We must either return the debates to public control or do away with them entirely, as tools of the entrenched powers. There is no legal or sound basis for two political parties to get together and 'decide' to deny the expression of other parties. The public should be up in arms over this unethical display of raw power--it has no place in what we claim as a democratic Republic. The Founders certainly didn't intend that a union of the two largest political parties should decide which candidate the public will hear based on some arbitrary percentage of poll numbers. This tyranny of the "duopoly" must cease and these upcoming "debates" should be "occupied" and totally disrupted to show the world the farcical nature of our electoral system, the same system that we're engaged in exporting to the world as "democracy". It's difficult to determine whether we're seen by the nations of the world as hypocrites, uncommonly lethargic,,, or just plain ignorant.