Debate Will Not Feature Robert Kennedy Jr.

( – Many Americans are frustrated at our two-party political system, and third-party hopefuls always manage to attract a few followers. This time around, independent candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr is doing much better than outsiders usually do; polls regularly show his support breaking into double figures. However, if you’re hoping to see him in a presidential debate, you’re going to be disappointed.

CNN has confirmed that Kennedy, who launched an independent White House run after being knocked out of the Democrat race, won’t be appearing in the network’s June 27 presidential candidates’ debate. His exclusion comes down to CNN’s eligibility rules for candidates.

To qualify for entry to the debate, a candidate must appear on the ballot in enough states that, if they won those states, they would have at least 270 electoral college votes — enough to win the election. They also need to achieve at least 15% of the vote in four national polls. The rules aim to make sure only candidates who actually have a chance of winning the election appear in the debates.

However, Kennedy says CNN tailored the rules to keep him from appearing; in early June he even filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), claiming the network is colluding with the main party campaigns to keep him out.

There’s no doubt the GOP and Democrat candidates would be happy to see Kennedy shut out of the debates. President Biden’s campaign has always insisted that he’ll only debate Republican challenger Donald Trump one-on-one, while Trump says Kennedy is “a Radical Left Lunatic.”

The next debate will be on September 10, and Kennedy could still qualify for that one. His campaign team insists he’s on the ballot in states that hold a total of 310 electoral votes, well above the threshold, and he’s already broken the 15% mark in three polls.

His ballot entries in several states haven’t been verified by election officials yet, but that should be done in plenty of time for the second debate, so if his poll numbers hold up he might still get his chance.

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