As President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney take the stage on Wednesday for the first presidential debate of election 2012, one candidate has been excluded from taking a stand on stage at the debate: libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Johnson has been shut out from the presidential debates, a decision which has angered third-party voters and even prompted at least two of the debate's sponsors to pull their support.
George Farah, founder and executive director of Open Debates, a non-profit which has been petitioning to include third party candidates in the debate, says Democrats and Republicans have secretly negotiated a detailed contract that dictates many of the terms of the 2012 presidential debates. This includes who gets to participate, as well as the topics raised during the debates.
Open Debate has been protesting the debates for months, along with Johnson supporters. Two initial debate sponsors have withdrawn their support, including Philips Electronics and the women's organization YWCA, after they got flooded with letters from Gary Johnson supporters and the watchdog groups Open Debates and Help the Commission.
The Johnson campaign has also filed an official lawsuit against the commission, though that is not likely to succeed. Even though he will not be participating in the debate, however, Johnson will be providing live, online commentary on Twitter and other new media outlets.
Johnson will host a special on-line event on Wednesday, at 9:00 pm EDT, during which he will provide commentary on the Presidential debate. The event will be hosted via Google+ Hangout and on Twitter.
According to his campaign, "His plans to share on-line commentary during Wednesday's debate and during subsequent debates are subject to change should the Commission on Presidential Debates or the federal courts allow him to participate."
PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live, along with Gary Johnson's reactions and response to it. For real-time analysis and high quality coverage, see here.