DNC Removes Fundraising Threshold For Debates — Is It A ‘Rigged System,’ Or A Justified Adjustment?

The Democratic National Committee is changing its rules for how it decides who can appear on its sponsored debate stages for determining who the party’s next presidential nominee should be for the 2020 general election.

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The new requirements raise the polling threshold candidates must reach in order to be on the stage, but eliminate completely the need to demonstrate grassroots support through monetary support. It adds an additional means through which a person can get on stage, as well: earning a delegate vote in a caucus or primary campaign, Politico reported.

“Now that the grassroots support is actually captured in real voting, the criteria will no longer require a donor threshold,” DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said. “The donor threshold was appropriate for the opening stages of the race, when candidates were building their organizations, and there were no metrics available outside of polling to distinguish those making progress from those who weren’t.”

A candidate must do one of the following three things in order to get a spot on the stage for the February 19 debate in Las Vegas:

  • earn at least 10 percent support in four national polls from January 15 to February 18;
  • earn at least 12 percent support in two polls within Nevada or South Carolina;
  • or earn at least one delegate through the Iowa caucus or New Hampshire primary.

The move is largely seen as beneficial to billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has campaigned using his own personal funds without accepting a single dollar from would-be donors. Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser for the Bernie Sanders campaign, blasted the move as a transparent means to allow Bloomberg a place in the debate.

“To now change the rules in the middle of the game to accommodate Mike Bloomberg, who is trying to buy his way into the Democratic nomination, is wrong,” Weaver said in a statement. “That’s the definition of a rigged system.”

Though the move definitely makes it easier for Bloomberg to attain a spot in the future debate schedule, which he so far hasn’t been a part of, as of right now he’s not “on the card” for the next debate. Only three candidates have made the polling threshold so far: Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former Vice President Joe Biden.

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