Great article. And I am with the first four writers. I strongly recommend picking up a copy of George Farah's No Debate, which is a simple primer detailing how the Commission on Presidential Debates and the two parties converged to make sure those pesky independent candidates never succeed in upsetting their apple cart. Shamefully, it becomes more acknowledged that what used to be known as the fourth branch of government (or was it simply the Fourth Estate?) is now a part of this problem.
Sadly, the other respondents here illustrate the results of all this. They probably would not recognize their statements as something that's been "said before," even though it's been promulgated by those in the major parties before (note: Howard Dean in the '04 election where he "pleaded" with Ralph not to run, back then).
We really need to wake up and realize how little of a democracy we have left. More and more, these elections are more about symbolism, and not substance (another trite-ism that has been used before, I admit, but it is sadly true), even though we are due for this type of symbolism. Regrettably, it only has value if it is in the sphere of the "right" party.
Thanks, for exhibiting some of the congruity I would like to see more of from your fellow writers.