Presidential Debate Commission Plans for a Third Podium The Commission on Presidential Debates, which oversees the managing and staging of the presidential debates, has advised the hosting venues to prepare for having a three-person forum for the debates.
"With [former Gov.] Gary Johnson polling in some places more than double digits, they might have, some of our production people may have said, ‘Just in case, you need to plan out what that might look like. We won’t know the number of invitations we extend until mid-September. " — Mike McCurry – Commission co-chair
The rules for the Commission state that for a candidate to be eligible to participate in the debates, they must appear on the ballot in enough states to win a majority of votes in the Electoral College, and have a level of national support of at least 15% as measured in five major national polls.
Gary Johnson is currently at 8.8% in national polls
Currently, the Real Clear Politics poll averages show The Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson having 8.8% support in major polls, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein is about 4%. Commission co-chair Frank Fahenkopf has been quoted as saying the Commission might “consider giving an inch” to a third-party candidate if he or she is close to the cutoff point.
Trump has objected to debates competing with football games
The first of the three presidential debates has been scheduled for Monday, September 26. The second debate is set for Sunday, October 9, 2016, with the third planned for Wednesday, October 19th. Hillary Clinton has agreed to the three dates. However, Donald Trump and the RNC has objected to having two of the debates on nights where they would conflict with televised football games.