You want diversity in the boardroom but not on the ballot? Really? #Election2016

A recent piece in The Huffington Post describes corporate America’s failure to include more women of color in the C-suite. According to a report cited by The Huffington Post, women of color make up just three percent of executives in the C-suite of 132 major firms. It has been argued that a more diverse board room or executive suite will foster greater insights into markets and enhance a firm’s productivity. The overall sentiment is that with racial or gender diversity comes a diversity of thought and ideas. That sentiment, however, does not seem to hold when it comes to diversity of thought and ideas during political campaigns, particularly during debate season.
 
The main argument that I have heard against including third party candidates on the debate stage is because their chances of victory are so small that it would be a waste of the public’s time to listen to them on a debate stage. The statistics support the conclusion that third-party chances are slim to none. For example . according to a Rasmussen Reports poll released today, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is polling at 42%; Republican candidate Donald Trump at 41%; Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 7%; and Green Party candidate Jill Stein pulls up the rear at two percent.
An L.A. Times poll, also released today, does not include Governor Johnson or Dr. Stein. It has Donald Trump polling at 47% while Hillary Clinton polls at 43%.
But if numbers alone should be the deciding factor for including alternative voices in a political forum, why shouldn’t that criteria be used for diversity of voices in the C-suite? Are we saying that insights on product market penetration, brand development, or wage levels are more important than insights on national defense, social safety nets, and gross domestic product? My friends on the left would say no, but their actions, like having Tim Kaine and Barack Obama dissuade people from voting for a third party candidate, says otherwise.
I propose resolving the issue of a lack of diversity in debates by doing the following. Using the L.A. Times polling numbers, there appears to be 10% of eligible voters who have not yet made up their minds. Since Governor Johnson and Dr. Stein are on multiple state tickets are polling at more than one percent, go ahead and include them. The 10% of voters who have not decided are signaling that they would like to hear an alternative viewpoint, you know, have a little diversity on the stage. Requiring that candidates poll at 15% when there are only 10% of eligible voters indicating that they have not yet decided and the remaining 90% of eligible voters are supporting the two major candidates makes no sense. To flip around the view a bit, it’s like saying that if 15% were undecided, then their voices would matter, but since it’s only ten percent undecided, we’ll just write them off.
I propose resolving the issue of a lack of diversity in debates by doing the following. Using the L.A. Times polling numbers, there appears to be 10% of eligible voters who have not yet made up their minds. Since Governor Johnson and Dr. Stein are on multiple state tickets are polling at more than one percent, go ahead and include them. The 10% of voters who have not decided are signaling that they would like to hear an alternative viewpoint, you know, have a little diversity on the stage. Requiring that candidates poll at 15% when there are only 10% of eligible voters indicating that they have not yet decided and the remaining 90% of eligible voters are supporting the two major candidates makes no sense.
To flip around the view a bit, it’s like saying that if 15% were undecided, then their voices would matter, but since it’s only ten percent undecided, we’ll just write them off. That wouldn’t go down well with minority voices speaking to business and the economy. I don’t see why that should be acceptable for voices speaking to politics.

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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