Bernie Sanders: The threshold needed to qualify for presidential debates is 'probably too high'

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Sanders: Debate Threshold is 'Too High' for Third-party Candidates



If Sen. Bernie Sanders controlled which candidates qualified for the official presidential debates, some of this year's third-party candidates would likely be onstage.

In an interview on "Meet the Press" on Sunday, the Vermont senator would not weigh in on whether Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson should be included in the presidential debates.

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But the senator did say that the 15% support threshold needed by presidential candidates to qualify for the official debates was "probably too high."

"It should be lower than that," Sanders said.

Sanders, however, brushed off polls that showed many of former millennial Sanders supporters backing either Johnson or Green party candidate Jill Stein.

The Independent senator acknowledged that one of the two major party candidates would almost certainly become president, and of the two, Clinton's positions on issues like climate change and college affordability were far closer to his own stances than those of Donald Trump.

"Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to become president of the United States. And there is no question in my mind that Hillary Clinton is far, far, far and away the superior candidate," Sanders said.

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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders together
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders stand together during a campaign rally where Sanders endorsed Clinton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S., July 12, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder - TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
LAS VEGAS, NV - October 13: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton pictured at the 2015 CNN Democratic Presidential Debate at Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, NV on October 13, 2015. Credit: Erik Kabik Photography/ MediaPunch/IPX
Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton laugh during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., center, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, talk backstage before the start of the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Bernie Sanders, left, offers an apology to Hillary Clinton during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speak during a break at the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, reacts to Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton's answer to a question during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Durham, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, left, and Hillary Clinton take the stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, shake hands before the start of the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-V.t, right, speaks as Hillary Clinton listens during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday, April 14, 2016 in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens as Sen.Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks during a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., Tuesday, July 12, 2016, where Sanders endorsed Clinton. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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