Moments ago, I sent the e-mail below to the executives of Southwest Airlines. If I receive a response, I will also post it here.
To whom it may concern:
First, I would like to take a moment to tell you that Southwest Airlines has the best customer service and airline business model in the U.S. I flew with you several weeks ago to Las Vegas and had a fantastic experience. I will also be doing business with you again in a few weeks as my wife and I fly out to Detroit to visit her extended family. Thanks to your team’s cheerful disposition, ability to explain your policies clearly, and excellent in-flight service, I have become a loyal customer.
However, I am dismayed to hear Southwest will be sponsoring the Commission on Presidential Debates this year. I believe we have reached a turning point in which the Republican and Democratic parties have lost sight of their original principles and no longer exist to serve the public, including individuals like myself and large corporations such as yours. The Commission on Presidential Debates has succinctly closed the door on allowing other viable third party candidates (including Gary Johnson of the U.S. Libertarian Party) and fails to offer the American public a clear range of options in selecting their new president.
To be included in the presidential debates, the Commission on Presidential Debates defines a candidate eligible if the following criteria are met: They must be constitutionally eligible, have achieved ballot access in enough states to stand a chance to win a majority of the Electoral College in the general election, and received at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five polling organizations selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Gary Johnson meets the first and second criteria. He is constitutionally eligible and will appear on the ballot in at least 47 states, enough to win the presidency. However, on the third and, some would argue, least important criteria, Gary Johnson and other third party candidates face insurmountable odds since they aren’t even included in the polling organizations’ options.
How is this a fair representation of America’s choices? It hardly seems reasonable for the CPD to limit our options based on a Catch-22 definition of eligibility.
I understand Southwest’s sponsorship of the CPD is mainly consists of chartering planes to accommodate the debate staff’s travel needs and that you feel this aligns with the CPD’s stated policy of informing the general public, but please consider this: Have you done any business with candidates like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein (of the U.S. Green Party)? Or has it primarily been Republican and Democratic candidates and their staff? If the latter, how does preventing eligible candidates from participating in the debates align with a policy of offering the public an opportunity to make informed decisions?
I would like to ask you and your staff to seriously consider your affiliation with a commission whose goals clearly involve withholding information from the public to prevent them from making an informed decision on election day. From my positive experiences at Southwest, I can confidently say that I do not believe such behind-the-scenes maneuvering is reasonably in line with your mission statement or your past behavior.
I want to thank you for your time and consideration of my message. Regardless of your decision, I will continue to be a loyal customer and hope that, in time, we will be able to bring honesty and openness to our election processes together.