There was some hope this election cycle that, for the first time since Ross Perot ran against Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, at least one third-party candidate would get a spot on the debate stage. Gary Johnson didn’t poll too far from the 15% nationally he’d need to get on the stage, and the majority of voters, both left and right, wanted to see him debate. The debate sites of the presidential debates had planned as if they’d have a third podium, indicating that seeing Johnson on the debate stage wasn’t only possible, but probable.
That was until today, as Politico just reported: Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein failed to make the cut for the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Friday afternoon, in a significant blow for their campaigns.
Though Johnson and Stein satisfied two of the criteria necessary to participate – that they be constitutionally eligible and have achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority – neither met the threshold on polling.
The commission said Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been formally invited to participate in the first presidential debate later this month, while their running mates, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, have been invited to participate in the vice presidential debate on Oct. 4.
“[T]he Board determined that the polling averages called for in the third criterion are as follows: Hillary Clinton (43%), Donald Trump (40.4%), Gary Johnson (8.4%) and Jill Stein (3.2%).
In other news, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein’s odds of becoming president have remained unchanged from zero percent to zero percent.[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]