Open Debates

Free & Equal seeks to bring fresh ideas and alternative choices to a system which has been hijacked by a two-party duopoly. We will continue to sponsor Open Debates, bring national attention to all candidates and counterbalancing the exclusionary two-party system.

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More Voices, More Choices

We believe that freedom is enhanced when voters are presented with all the sides to an issue and have a chance to fairly evaluate all the candidates running in an election. However, the incumbent political parties like to define the parameters of the debate by presenting only two choices, or two versions of the same idea.

With the privately run Commission on Presidential Debates, Republicans and Democrats go to great lengths to exclude candidates not belonging to their own parties by setting restrictive qualifications to participate in the debates sponsored by their interest groups and then refusing to show up at debates where all candidates are invited.

We believe that all ballot-qualified candidates should have the opportunity to participate in debates. The Free & Equal hosted 2008 and 2012 Presidential Debates were the only debates featuring independent and third party candidates and to be broadcast live to a nationwide audience.

2012 Presidential Debate with Larry King

During the 2012 elections, Free & Equal hosted an open presidential debate on Oct. 23 at the Hilton Chicago, moderated by broadcast journalist Larry King. All six top Presidential candidates were invited.  Those choosing to participate in the debate represented the Libertarian, Green, Justice and Constitution parties. A second debate was held on the eve of Election Day in Washington, D.C.

In the time leading  up to the debates, Free & Equal trended in the Top 10 on Twitter. The debates were broadcast worldwide on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN Radio, RT America, Al Jazeeera, as well as live on OraTV, YouTube, and the Free & Equal website with an estimated viewing audience of 20 million!  These debates provided a chance for millions of young people to become educated and involved – and they loved it!

Free & Equal changed the national dialogue. Now That’s A Debate!

2014 Open Colorado Gubernatorial Debate with Professor Griff (Public Enemy)

In 2014, Free and Equal Elections hosted a successful Open Colorado Gubernatorial Debate that took place on Wednesday, October 8th at Infinity Park International Ballroom in Glendale, CO. The debate was moderated by hip-hop legend Professor Griff of Public Enemy, Chuck Bonniwell of the Greater Glendale Chamber of Commerce, and Free and Equal Elections founder Christina Tobin.

Several students from Colorado’s Arvada West High School took the stage to ask the final question to the candidates about their struggle to protect their history classes from revisionist curriculum. The students voiced their support for free and equal elections and open debates. The moderators asked questions about the state’s budget, fracking, mass incarceration, cannabis hemp, money in politics, GMO labeling, and more.

Candidates included Mike Dunafon (independent), Harry Hempy (Green), and Matthew Hess (Libertarian). Bob Beauprez (R) and Governor John Hickenlooper (D) did not attend.

Dr. Jill Stein (2012 Green Party presidential candidate), Free and Equal founder Christina Tobin, Tiny Martinez of the 420 Rally/Denver Global Marijuana March, and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich (via video), presented opening remarks before the debate on the subject of opening the debates nationwide to all ballot-qualified candidates to create a level electoral playing field. Conscious hip-hop group the Soul Pros performed following the debate.

The debate streamed live for free on the newly-launched Free and Equal Network, an initiative of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation. Free Speech TV and the Open Media Foundation streamed the debate live online on behalf of the Free and Equal Network. C-SPAN retracted their agreement to air our debate.