August 11, 2016 — The first presidential debate for the 2016 election is scheduled for September 26, 2016, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The question buzzing around the country is who is going to be on the stage? The norm is for the Republican and Democratic party presidential nominees to participate; however, this year, everything seems to be on the table. Republican party presidential nominee Donald Trump indicated he may not show up and for the first time since 1992, the stage may include a third party candidate in Libertarian Party presidential nominee Governor Gary Johnson.
This morning, Johnson appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box program and said, “We are optimistic we will get to that 15 percent. The Presidential Debate Commission has said you need to be at 15 percent, they really don’t set a date, they really tell you which polls. Right now the issue is that all of the polling asks about Trump and Clinton, and then 99 percent of the media reports only that top-line, Trump and Clinton. I think if we were included in the top-line, Johnson-Trump-Clinton, we’d be at 20 percent right now.”
Meanwhile, Trump has given himself an out should he choose not to participate in the debates. On July 29, 2016, Trump Tweeted, “As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates.” In an interview with Time magazine, Trump said, “I will absolutely do three debates. I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions.” And Trump would prefer the debates to only include Clinton and himself. When asked if he liked the idea of including Johnson and Jill Stein in the debates, Trump said in a recent interview with the Washington Post, “No, because they’re not getting any [poll numbers].”
Apparently, Trump has mostly been looking only at the top-line numbers like most of the establishment media. A Marquette Law School poll released yesterday found Johnson at 10 percent nationally and he has been polling between 10 to 13 percent overall. It was also announced yesterday that Johnson received 12 percent in the key states of Iowa and Ohio.
And some are questioning whether Clinton will make it through the remainder of the campaign without being indicted or for health reasons. With little public fanfare, FBI Director James Comey’s agents have been looking into Hillary’s relationship with foreign businessmen and governments who donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and are suspected of having received favors from the secretary of state in return. Such pay-to-play behavior falls under the category of “public corruption,” and Comey’s agents are trying to determine whether Hillary conducted a series of secret meetings with foreigner donors separate from her duties as secretary of state.
Ultimately, the most likely scenario is the presidential debate stage will include Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson and Donald Trump. Afterall, they are the only three expected to be on the ballot in all 50 states.