Before we get too excited about a Gary Johnson surge we might want to see if other national polls join CNN in showing the former New Mexico governor at even 2 percent. But the basic point that Johnson should be included in the debates is sound. Whatever you think about him, the networks are including candidates doing little better, and in some cases worse, in the polls.
My view is that this early in the campaign, debate organizers should be liberal in their inclusion criteria. Sitting members of Congress and former governors (even Buddy Roemer) should generally be invited. Candidates should be given the opportunity to build name recognition and advance their arguments. Then as the race progresses, organizers can tighten their participation requirements based on the polling and actual primary results. Let’s let the voters decide who the serious candidates are.