Making Democracy Work

Presidential Debate Resolution

Should the national LWV host Presidential Debates in 2016?

The Proposal

Delegates to the 2013 LWV Washington State Convention unanimously adopted a Resolution to encourage the national LWV to reinstate LWV-sponsored Presidential Debates beginning in 2016.

Background: The LWV sponsored Presidential Debates in 1976, 1980 and 1984, but discontinued their involvement after the Democatic and Republican parties formed the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) which has hosted the debates since 1988.

Since the CPD took over, only one independent or third party candidate has been allowed to participate in the debates. (Ross Perot in 1992.) We believe that LWV-sponsored debates would be much more inclusive and informative and would strengthen our democracy, regardless of what the CPD chooses to do.

The Mason County League has prepared a 10 minute video, A Brief History of the LWV and the Presidential Debates, which you can watch below.

Should the national League consider restating LWV-sponsored Presidential Debates? It would require a major commitment of time and resources from both the National and local Leagues to raise awareness and support in order to help make this important endeavor a success.

We invite local Leagues across the nation to join us in considering this issue and to send your thoughts (pro and con) on this proposal to the national LWVUS Board.

If you're not a League member, we invite you to join and add your voice to this important issue.

Background Information

The following videos contain related information on the LWV and the Presidential Debates.

Dorothy Ridings, former LWV President shares behind the scenes information on the Presidential Debates

The full 1988 Press Conference with then LWV President Nancy Neuman

George Farah discusses the Commission on Presidential Debates with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now

2012 - Green Party Candidates Arrested, Shackled to Chairs For 8 Hours

1980 - LWV-sponsored Debate between then-Governor Ronald Reagan and Independent Candidate John Anderson. President Jimmy Carter opposed letting Anderson participate in the debate and pressured the League to rescind Anderson's invitation. The League courageously stuck to its principles. The debates went on as planned even though Carter choose not to participate.