Election 2018 Opinion State OPINION: Ohio should not include third parties in the upcoming gubernatorial debates By Tim Zelina Posted on September 28, 2018 6 min read 9 0 515 Ohio Statehouse Rotunda. Photo by Mike King via Flickr. Opinion Editor Tim Zelina argues there is no rational reason to include the third parties in the Ohio gubernatorial debates. The third party candidates for Ohio governor were not invited to any of the gubernatorial debates, and they are piping hot because of it. The Libertarian Party of Ohio has even threatened to sue the debate hosts. Yet, there is little reason to allow them to attend in the first place. The fact of the matter is, neither of these two candidates will win. The last third party governor to be elected was Minnesota’s Jesse Ventura in 1998, who was polling competitively long before the election. Ohio has never had an independent governor, unless you count the Union party governors during the civil war, but that was a special case in chaotic times. So the question must be asked: if it is practically impossible for these candidates to surge into the lead with only a month to go, why should Ohioans have their time wasted listening to their pitch? Does everyone who makes the ballot in Ohio automatically get into debates? Do Ohioans actually benefit from hearing what two candidates, who would be lucky to make 5 percent of the vote, say? While the perspectives of 3rd parties may be important, they are irrelevant to the realities of the governor’s race. With this election in a dead heat, what Ohioans really need to hear is what Cordray and DeWine have to take to the table. But let’s make something clear: the duopoly system the United States operates on has been failing the nation in recent years. Limiting party affiliation to just the conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats deeply limits the breadth of political ideas in this nation. This is most succinctly demonstrated in the abhorrent phrase “both sides of the issue.”Nuance is gone, replaced with a tribalistic us vs. them attitude on any given issue. With only two parties, it was only a matter of time before bipartisanship eroded and the two major parties became caricatures of themselves. Voters now often have a demoralizing choice: they can vote for someone who may only moderately agree with them on a handful issues, or someone who is adamantly opposed to everything they believe in. We saw this happen on a presidential level in 2016. Due to the awkward nature of primaries, the only two viable candidates on the ballot were highly unpopular, deeply controversial figures. Millions across the nation felt so dispassionate they stayed home, low turnout being a major contribution to the surprise election of Donald Trump. In some democracies, you may have a dozen different choices to vote for on the ballot. These highly pluralistic governments have issues of their own, but the range of choices encourages democratic participation. American’s disillusionment with their government is at an all time high, and it all seems to boil down to the view that the politicians in D.C. do not represent the country properly. Demographically, politically, and geographically, that’s true! Yet despite these very real concerns and the very real need America has for broader political choice, it is hard to believe that the Libertarians and Greens should be in this debate. This is a question of the utility of having them on the stage, not of what it represents.