Dr. Jo Jorgensen is polling between two to four percent in the few polls where her name appears. To be included in the presidential debates, Jorgensen will need to show at least 15 percent in certain polls; however, at present, her name does not appear in the overwhelming majority of presidential polls. In addition, most media outlets are not including her name when speaking or writing about the presidential election happening on November 3, 2020. Often, media outlets deceive the public when they suggest or outright say there are only two candidates, discounting a third-party candidate.
Libertarian Party presidential nominee Jorgensen will appear on the ballot in all 50 states alongside Joe Biden and Donald Trump, so it is challenging to understand why the mainstream media is not covering her campaign. Around 11% of Americans identify as being Libertarian, while a larger percentage agree with them on most issues.
This past weekend, supporters of Jorgensen performed a grassroots effort to raise awareness of the Jo Jorgensen campaign by doing a Let Her Speak Convoy. Thousands of supporters from around the country gathered in their local areas with decorated cars and trucks riding through their counties. The convoys brought some local media attention and happened the day after Jorgensen was bit by a bat which garnered national media attention. Some would argue the convoys should have been the national story, but media attention of all sorts leads to name recognition which any political consultant will tell you is more than half the battle in gaining votes.
The exclusion of Libertarian Party presidential nominees is nothing new, and it is what keeps the duopoly of the Democratic and Republican parties in power, rather than offering Americans a greater number of choices at the ballot box. Because of the mainstream media, the only thing voters knew about 2016 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, was that he was a pot-head and didn’t know what/where Aleppo was. The mainstream media rarely offers fair coverage to Libertarians even though they are a large part of the electorate. Democrats and Republicans also work to keep Libertarians off the ballot in many states, causing candidates to spend time and money to get on the ballot. In many states, they require many Libertarians to get thousands of signatures or spend millions of dollars to get on the ballot, whereas Democrats and Republicans do not have the same requirements.
We expect Jorgensen to meet all the criteria of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), with the only question mark being the 15% polling threshold. Under the 2020 criteria, besides being Constitutionally eligible, candidates must appear on enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15% of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly reported results at the time of the determination. The polls to be relied upon will be selected based on the quality of the method used, the reputation of the polling organizations and the frequency of the polling conducted. The CPD has not yet identified which polling organization(s) they will use to decide which candidates to allow which candidates in the debates which begin next month.
In 1992, when third-party candidate Ross Perot made it into the debates, he garnered 19% of the presidential votes. The Democrats and Republicans were not amused, so the CPD raised the criteria to keep third-party candidates like Ross Perot, Libertarian Party candidates, and Green Party candidates off the debate stage. In 1995, when Perot again ran for president, he did not qualify to be in the debates and subsequently received 8% of the vote. There has been a long struggle for fairness in selecting who the American voters get to see on the debate stage. In 1988, the League of Women Voters called the debates a purported fraud on the American voter. One thing learned from Perot’s presidential run was the importance of being included in regular mainstream media mentions and polling to prevent the myth of wasting one’s vote for president.