2020 Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is right. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has taken more steps to rig the system so only the top candidates end up on top.

The new requirements for the sixth debate in December will only help the top five candidates.

Politico and PBS will host the debate on December 19 in Los Angeles, CA. The new requirements may appear as small changes, but it’s enough to eliminate the underperformers.

From Politico:

To make the December debate, candidates must hit 4 percent support in at least four DNC-approved polls of primary voters nationally or in early-voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina) — or, instead, they can qualify by hitting 6 percent in two approved early-state polls. Candidates must also bring in donations from 200,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 800 donors in 20 states, territories or the District of Columbia.

The DNC has continuously stepped up the requirements to participate in successive debates throughout the year. The new thresholds will put pressure on Democratic candidates outside a top five — Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris — who have routinely polled above 4 percent in approved surveys so far.

Biden, Warren and Sanders have already qualified for the December debate, according to POLITICO’s tracking (though participation is not official until the DNC certifies candidates have passed the thresholds after the deadline has passed). Buttigieg and Harris both need 4 percent support in one more poll to make it on stage.

Candidates have until December 12 to qualify for the debate. The surveys must come out between October 16 and December 12.

Iowa Democratic Party central committee member Jean Pardee believes culling the field is not up to the DNC.

Others within the party support the moves because it will free airtime for the candidates.

DNC member Jeri Shepard, an endorser of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), made the point that overcrowded debates allow the candidates to provide only “soundbites.” She wants “a debate format that truly allows for an exploration of issues.”

Nine candidates have qualified for the November debate, which takes place on November 20. Robert O’Rourke, Gabbard, and Julian Castro have not yet qualified even though they took part in the October debate.

Those three can still make the stage if they meet the requirements by November 13:

For the fifth debate, in November, candidates need at least 3% in four national or early-state polls, or at least 5% in two early-state polls. They also must have contributions from at least 165,000 individual donors, including at least 600 from each of 20 states or territories.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.