The upcoming 2024 presidential debates have been scheduled by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that has organized debates for the past nine elections. This decision comes despite the Republican Party’s vow to boycott these events.
The commission revealed the dates and venues for three presidential debates and one debate involving the vice presidential candidates. The series of debates will kick off on September 16 and conclude on October 9.
The presidential debates will be held in San Marcos, Texas; Petersburg, Virginia; and Salt Lake City, Utah, while the vice presidential debate will take place in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Former President Donald Trump and the GOP have expressed their grievances against what they perceive as political bias within the commission. In response, they have declared their intention to refrain from participating in any debates organized by this entity.
The Republican National Committee made the decision to boycott the commission’s debates last year, pledging to find alternative avenues to provide candidates with a fair and equitable platform. As evident from his absence in the previous three GOP primary debates of the year, Trump has chosen not to participate, claiming that his significant lead in the polls renders such events unnecessary for him.
Significantly, the commission has announced that it will maintain the 15 percent polling threshold for independent or third-party candidates to qualify for the debates.
This requirement necessitates that a candidate be on the ballot in sufficient states to secure a majority of Electoral College votes and maintain an average of 15 percent in polls conducted by five polling firms, to be determined later.
The commission’s decision holds potential implications for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other potential candidates, including retiring Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who are contemplating an independent or third-party bid. Notably, no independent candidate has participated in a debate since Ross Perot in 1992.
The latest RealClearPolitics average suggests that Kennedy falls just short of the commission’s threshold, with 14.7 percent in a hypothetical three-way race against President Joe Biden and Trump.
Recent polling results indicating Biden’s lag behind Trump in potential 2024 matchups have not deterred the Biden campaign, which has dismissed these statistics. Additionally, Biden’s approval rating has dropped to 40 percent, according to a recent NBC News poll.
The 2024 presidential and vice presidential debates will mark significant milestones, as they will be held in Texas and Pennsylvania for the first time. The debate at Virginia State University will also be the first-ever at a historically Black college or university.