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Nearly 12,000 Ask for 4-Way Presidential Debates

WASHINGTON - Nearly 12,000 people have signed a new petition addressed to ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Broadcasting, PBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Univision, and Telemundo.

The petition, found at RootsAction.org, reads:

Tell the Commission on Presidential Debates and major-party campaigns that they no longer control the debate process and that you intend to present debates – controlled by journalists – that include four candidates: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green Party). If Trump or Clinton balk, let them know you’re happy to leave their podium empty.

We urge you to follow a recommendation made by a citizens' task force connected to American University's law school: Include presidential candidates who are on enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning, if they either register at 5 percent in national public opinion polls OR register a majority in national polls asking eligible voters which candidates they would like to see included in the debates.

RootsAction.org Co-founder Jeff Cohen has published a column providing a great deal of background on this issue:

"According to Gallup," Cohen notes, "the percentage of Americans identifying as political independents has been at record highs for five years, and stood at 42 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans identifying with the two parties that control the debates has sunk. Democrats are at their lowest point in the history of Gallup polling, just 29 percent; Republicans are very near their low point at 26 percent. And both major parties have nominated individuals who break records for unfavorability."

"An obvious option presents itself to the networks," says Cohen. "Tell the CPD and major-party campaigns that they no longer control the debate process and that the networks intend to present debates - controlled by journalists - that include all four candidates: Clinton, Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. If Trump or Clinton balk, let them know you’re happy to leave their podium empty."

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Action for a Progressive Future (the organization that runs RootsAction) is a nonprofit, progressive, public policy advocacy group that will engage citizens in the democratic process and help make sure legislators hear their voices.

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