Kennedy’s Debate Dream Crushed

( – Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Jr. hoped he’d be on the debate stage with President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump in a few days. The independent candidate’s hopes have now been dashed. CNN has announced he won’t be participating in the event.

Just after midnight on June 20, CNN closed the qualification window for the debate. The network confirmed RK Jr. didn’t meet the criteria necessary to qualify. In order to get on stage, candidates had to receive at least 15% in four different qualifying national polls. They also had to be on enough state ballots to reach the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the election.

RFK Jr.’s campaign has claimed it has enough signatures to get him on the ballots in 23 states and to receive 310 electoral college votes. However, only 10 of them have certified the signatures. He also only reached the 15% threshold in three polls.

The first debate will take place on June 27 in Atlanta, Georgia. The candidates’ campaigns organized the face-off themselves, rather than allowing the Commission on Presidential Debates to do it as they have for decades. There won’t be a live audience at the event either.

RFK Jr. released a statement after the news broke and accused Trump and Biden of not wanting him on the stage. He claimed “CNN illegally agreed to their demand” and called the exclusion “undemocratic, un-American, and cowardly.” He previously filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing CNN of colluding with the major party candidates.

While RFK Jr. didn’t qualify for this debate, he still has a shot of getting on the stage for the second one.

ABC News will host the next event on September 10. The network has similar criteria to CNN. Still, it’s an uphill battle for RFK. The last independent candidate to participate in a presidential debate was Ross Perot in 1992.

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