While Monday marks the end of the U.S. presidential debates for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, it won’t be the end of the debate season for everyone.
Third-party candidates, including Gary Johnson and Dr. Jill Stein, will be holding their own debate on Tuesday , although major cable networks such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC are refusing to air it.
The most prominent network planning to broadcast the third-party debate is Al Jazeera English. Bob Wheelock, executive producer for Al Jazeera English’s American operations, told the Huffington Post the move was “a no-brainer” for the network.
"We've covered the presidential debates and vice presidential debate thus far," Wheelock said. "Our philosophy is to treat this one the same way. It's another voice in this country that we respect and believe should have a forum and an outlet."
Former CNN mainstay Larry King will be moderating the debate in Chicago, although his former cable news home has refused to air the nonmainstream candidates as they spar over their policies. However, besides appearing on the Al Jazeera English channel, the debate will also be carried live online. C-Span has reportedly expressed interest in showing the debate, as well.
In addition to Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party) and Dr. Jill Stein (Green Party), the third-party debate will feature Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party.
The third-party debate is sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, which describes itself as a “nonprofit formed to ensure an fair an open electoral process for all.”
No third-party candidate has appeared in a mainstream presidential debate since Ross Perot took the stage alongside Bill Clinton and George Bush in 1992. The presidential debates are sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which requires that a candidate be polling at 15 percent of higher to appear in the debates.
Before Perot appeared in the 1992 debates, candidates were only required to poll at 5 percent, but after Perot’s independent campaign, the CPD amended its rules.