Democratic drama rages on
On the eve of their first presidential primary debate, the Democratic primary drama rages on.
According to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) vice chair of the DNC, she was disinvited from Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate after publicly calling for more primary debates.
The number of primary debates has been a contentious issue for Democrats this election cycle.
DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Shultz struggled to gain control of an auditorium of delegates chanting “we want debates!” in New Hampshire last month.
Morgan Chalfant of the Washington Free Beacon reported Monday that Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’ campaign has invited the supposedly dejected Gabbard to Tuesday’s debate.
“If she needs a ticket, have her give me a call,” Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, told CNN Monday. “I think we have a couple; we can give her one.”
Both Sanders and his fellow Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley have called for more primary debates. The DNC has capped the number at six. O’Malley has accused Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), the party’s chairwoman, of limiting the debates in an “undemocratic” attempt to “pre-ordain the outcome” of the nomination race, namely, a Hillary Clinton win.
Gabbard and a fellow DNC official have echoed calls for more debates, a move that the Hawaii congresswoman claims prompted the DNC to disinvite her from the debate Tuesday night despite her specific request for tickets.
“When I first came to Washington, one of the things that I was disappointed about was there’s a lot of immaturity and petty gamesmanship that goes on, and it kind of reminds me of how high school teenagers act,” Gabbard said Sunday night.
“It’s very dangerous when we have people in positions of leadership who use their power to try to quiet those who disagree with them. When I signed up to be vice chair of the DNC, no one told me I would be relinquishing my freedom of speech and checking it at the door.”
She said that she would instead watch the debate in Hawaii.
A source close to the DNC said that an aide to Wasserman Schultz suggested to Gabbard that she should reconsider attending the debate if she kept focus on a “distraction” that could hurt the party rather than on the candidates.
Chalfant also reports the DNC rejects Gabbard’s claims that she was uninvited.
Sanders has publicly called for more Democratic primary debates. Per DNC rules, participating in non-sanctioned DNC debates renders candidates ineligible for any future official debates.
According to Real Clear Politics, though Bernie Sanders trails Hillary Clinton, Sanders continues to gain traction in the polls while Clinton’s continue on a steady downward path.
The first Democratic presidential primary debate will be hosted by CNN Tuesday night.
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