Outrage flowed freely as the Democratic National Committee’s rules led to only 10 of the current 20 presidential candidates making the cut for the next debate, which will be held on Sept. 12.
Only 10 ended up making the grade by Wednesday’s deadline: former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang; former housing secretary Julian Castro; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. That means that the two-night format used for the first two debates will end and all candidates will be on stage together.
Watching from the sidelines will be the other 10: Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam; Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio; former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania; billionaire Tom Steyer; and self-help author Marianne Williamson.
Gabbard, Williamson and Steyer met the donor benchmarks set by the DNC, but failed to score the required 2-percent support in at least four of the polls recognized by the DNC.
Some candidates, such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, used the winnowing process as a time to call it quits.
“I think the bigger problem is that the whole process really lacks transparency. People deserve having that transparency because ultimately it’s the people who will decide who our Democratic nominee will be.”
“When you see that lack of transparency,” she said, it leads to “a lack of faith and trust in the process.”
Gabbard said insiders should not be making the decision over who runs for president in 2020
“Really what they see is a small group of really powerful political elites, the establishment making decisions that serve their interests and maintaining that power while the rest of us are left outside. The American people are left behind,” Gabbard said.
Gabbard, who recently finished a two-week stint in the Army National Guard, said she will keep campaigning.
“I’m going to continue focusing on speaking directly to voters across this country,” she said.
Tulsi has ~170,000 individual donors. Two national polls this week alone put her at or above the required threshold (but they’re not “approved” by the DNC). She’s ahead of Beto, Yang, Klobuchar, Booker, and Castro in New Hampshire. Excluding her from the debates is a total joke.
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) August 28, 2019
— Dr.Darrell Scott (@PastorDScott) August 28, 2019
Williamson on the debate cutoffs: “I’d rather the people decide, not the gatekeepers… there are so many questions about these polls.” pic.twitter.com/cJeYPkMCTl
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) August 23, 2019
Bennet’s campaign fired off an angry letter to the DNC about the process, NPR reported.
“To date, the DNC has not provided information on how or why its unprecedented debate qualification requirements were set nor what the criteria will be for the eight future debates. The least we owe the Democratic voters is transparency about why and how decisions are being made on their behalf to ensure a fair process as the primary continues,” the letter said.
Bennet said the process excludes candidates at a time when Democrats need to be inclusive.
“We’re rewarding celebrity candidates with millions of Twitter followers, billionaires who buy their way onto the debate stage and candidates who have been running for president for years. If we wanted to be the party that excluded people, we’d be Republicans,” he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
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