Jim Langevin and Michael Riley will soon take the stage for a televised congressional district 2 debate hosted by WPRI. How that debate will go is yet to be seen. But WPRI has made one thing perfectly clear: Independent candidate Abel Collins is not invited.
It seems the local media outlet has decided that Collins is not “electable” enough to be welcomed at the debate. However, Collins will only be electable when voters are given the chance to understand his platform. Oftentimes third-party and independent candidates will poll low until they're given the chance to debate. In fact, the most successful third-party bid in recent memory came in on the national level from a candidate who was allowed to debate. When Ross Perot took the stage with Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush in 1992 and defined his campaign to millions of Americans he later won 18.9 percent of the vote, a number still unheard of in third-party/independent politics.
While Collins is a concerned citizen running for Congress as an independent, he also has plenty of leadership experience. His record includes fighting for social, economic, and environmental causes as well as working to improve our states public transportation system. This work and community activism has surely allowed Collins to sharpen skills needed to represent the people of Rhode Island's second congressional district. Why won't this proven track record get him into the debate?
Voters continue to lose faith in the two-party system. Therefor, this not a good time for either major party to play election 2012 as left vs. right. The engaged voter now wishes to distance themselves from divisive partisan politics. With this ever increasing loss of faith in government many people find the idea of concerned citizens seeking public office to be very refreshing.
Apparently, WPRI isn’t impressed.