Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Justin Brown, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott Liu, Ph.D.


Commission on Presidential Debates, Federal Elections Commission, Electoral College, Level the Playing Field, Our America Initiative, D.C. District Courts


For his study, the author determines whether the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) are sovereign entities, or if they are pawns of the Democratic and Republican parties (Political Duopoly) aimed to prevent smaller candidates from participating in the CPD’s Presidential Debates.

The author’s rationale for his research is based on the fact that, despite a large majority of American voters want to hear other voices in the CPD debates, the CPD has not allowed other voices to participate in the debates since 1992, through use of the CPD’s fifteen-percent support requirement. Every time an entity questions the CPD’s requirements, the FEC dismiss the challenges. This has led to lawsuits against the commissions from Level the Playing Field (LPF) and Gary Johnson.

The author completed a literature review and case view analysis related to this matter, introduces the Marketplace of Ideas Theory, and the theory’s fallacies. Results from research indicates that both the CPD and FEC have behaved questionably, keeping the threshold at a level that outside candidates cannot breach, and that the lawsuits against the commissions are valid. In conclusion, the American voters are largely limited to the status quo parties despite increasingly looking for other options. This thesis will elaborate upon the misdeeds of the Political Duopoly have also reduced other freedoms and liberties once protected by the United States Constitution

Countering the questionable actions of the CPD and the FEC -- Powerpoint Presentation.pptx (462 kB)
Countering the questionable actions of the CPD and the FEC -- Powerpoint Presentation