The First Presidential Debate Is Just a Week Away

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If these averages hold steady until Election Day, the USA will have a president that was elected by less than 45 percent of the population, regardless if Trump or Clinton wins.

Only one candidate, Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party, offers relief from educational funding debt as a key plank of her platform.

With voters holding such a negative view of the nominees presented by Republicans and Democrats, the debate commission should not lock them into a binary choice. A recent poll conducted by USA TODAY from Aug 24-29 concluded that 76 percent of Americans believe a third candidate should be included in the Presidential debates. This means that if the backers of these third parties decide to jump ship on Election Day and vote for Clinton or Trump, it is likely Trump will receive more votes than Clinton.

So it's possible that if Johnson can round up some support that he'll be sharing a stage with Trump and Clinton in October. Right now, he says, most voters don't know who he is or what he stands for. Although Johnson is polling much higher than Stein and seems like he should therefore be having a bigger effect on the race, that effect is largely neutral between the two leading candidates, or perhaps favors Clinton slightly.

The failure to be invited to the September 26 debate at Hofstra University deals a significant blow to Johnson and Stein, who are desperate for national exposure to promote their long-shot bids for the White House.

The commission said it would wait to see whether Johnson or Stein received 15 percent in polls before extending invitations to the second and third presidential debates later this fall.

That's a fair deal, and the commission should take it.

In an interview with The Des Moines Register earlier this month, Johnson said that even though his poll numbers are low compared to Clinton's and #Trump's, the results show he is supported by millions of people. A poll last week of IL voters found 40 percent want another choice. Welcoming Johnson to the debates would give them a look at another option, and respond to the demands of this highly unusual election season.

"For a year now, the campaigns have known that they have to reach that 15% threshold".