Good idea and, one would think, not so difficult to implement. Alas, it took nearly two months. The suggestion box has finally arrived! Here's the link.
The best suggestion is a simple one: change the rules so that someone in addition to the Democratic and Republican nominees can be on the debate stage in the fall of 2016. But so far, a commission dominated by party stalwarts has been defending its current criteria, which ensure that the party duopoly prevails - even though most Americans want a chance to vote for an independent.
Meanwhile, as you ponder your own suggestions, check out this link.
It will take you to the 1,247 comments that were registered on the website of the Federal Elections Commission after Level the Playing Field (LPF) filed a petition for a rulemaking, asking for the debates to be opened up. All but one comment supported the petition.
The only one that did not? You guessed it. From the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Also, read this letter to the FEC in support of the petition from a couple of renowned political scientists, Larry Diamond of Stanford and David King of Harvard.
They make this point:
"The evidence is clear that the American people want an alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties: Sixty-two percent of Americans do not think the federal government has the consent of the governed, 86% feel the political system is broken and does not serve the interests of the American people, and 65% want the option to vote for an independent candidate in a U.S. presidential election."
In his own comment letter, Robert Richie of FairVote wrote:
"Affording independent and minor party candidates the opportunity to participate in the presidential debates serves the underlying educational goals of the Federal Election Campaign Act and better respects the preferences of American voters. Americans consistently support including more than two candidates in debates, have increasingly chosen to register to vote as unaffiliated or with a minor party, and have increasingly voted for minor party and third party candidates in recent elections."
You can see the entire letter here.
By the way, the FEC has yet to respond to the LPF petition - nine months after it was filed! The FEC's own chair calls her commission "worse than dysfunctional."
Now, understand that the FEC is supposed to oversee the Commission on Presidential Debates, which, other than offering an online suggestion box, has also been unresponsive. Our guess is that the public is not going to stand for the stonewalling much longer. Stay tuned.
Oh, and by the way, if you missed it earlier, click on this link to see the latest ad placed by a group called Level the Playing Field. It appeared again today in the Wall Street Journal.