How Many Candidates Will Be on Stage During the Debates?

As Gary Johnson continues to climb in the polls and make a fairly significant impact on the race, Politico is reporting that the sites chosen to host the debates should, in fact, prepare to have a third podium on the stage.

The directive comes from producers working for the Commission on Presidential Debates and it’s meant, they say, to force the university hosts to be prepared and not as a reflection of the state of the race. But it could give supporters of Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein hope as they push an alternative to the historically unpopular major party nominees.

“With [former Gov.] Gary Johnson polling in some places more than double digits, they might have, some of our production people may have said, ‘Just in case, you need to plan out what that might look like,’” Commission on Presidential Debates co-chair Mike McCurry told POLITICO. “We won’t know the number of invitations we extend until mid-September.”

It would be fairly unprecedented in the modern era for a third party presidential candidate to participate in one of the big debates, because the requirements are so high. Not only do candidates haved to be in a party that has ballot access in enough states to have a chance to win, but they must be polling at 15 percent nationally.

Right now, the average for Johnson is just shy of 9 points. So, he’s still a ways out, and it is going to be tough to achieve. However, given the fact that both parties have nominated totalitarian liberals with dangerous thoughts on how to run the country, it’s not like there isn’t room for Johnson to pick up some speed and hit that mark.

He’s by no means the ideal conservative candidate, but that doesn’t exist anymore for 2016. He is a man who is neither Trump nor Hillary, and that might be enough to give him a chance.