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Editorial: Expanding debate

Expanding debateMike Munger is probably the most interesting candidate for N.C. governor you’ve never heard of, or heard very little about. Perhaps that’s about to change, now that Munger, the Libertarian candidate and head of the Political Science Department at Duke University, has been invited to join Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Beverly Perdue in a televised gubernatorial debate on Oct. 15.
Third-party candidates often find themselves in a Catch-22 situation. They’re denied access to debates and forums because they aren’t considered to have a realistic chance of winning office; but that very denial all but guarantees they can’t generate the broader interest that’s necessary to energize and help fund a viable campaign. That also can make it harder for third-party candidates to gain ballot access. Meanwhile, a jaded electorate complains that it’s stuck with choosing between two parties that cling to old ideological fault lines while failing to generate new ideas.
It’s unfortunate that out of five scheduled gubernatorial debates, Munger has been invited to only this one, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and two TV stations. Other debate organizers should follow suit. Adding a different viewpoint can help stimulate livelier discussions and expand debate audiences.

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