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It Just Got Harder For Democratic Candidates To Make The Next Round Of Debates

Threshold requirements for how candidates in the 2020 Democratic Party primary contests can qualify for space on the debate stages later this year just got a little bit tougher.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee announced on Wednesday new fundraising goals and polling support numbers that will be needed by candidates to get a spot in the debates, with hopes that the rules changes will help thin out the number of candidates who will appear in the debates later this summer, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier in May, DNC Chairman Tom Perez said such requirements would be put in place to avoid the chaos that was seen on the campaign trail in 2016, when Republicans had a crowded field.

“It was all too frequently a circus on the Republican side where they were simply engaged in name calling and distractions that didn’t allow viewers to understand what they stood for,” Perez said according to Vox, explaining he’s hoping to avoid the same outcome on the Democratic side in 2020.

The new requirements for the second round double what was necessary in order to qualify for the first round of debates, set to take place at the end of June and the end of July.

To qualify for debates in September and October, Democratic candidates must now attain 130,000 unique donations from supporters across the country, including at least 400 contributions in a minimum of 20 separate states. Candidates will also need to demonstrate that they receive at least 2 percent of support from voters in four of the approved DNC polls between the dates of June 28 and August 28.

Some Democratic-aligned groups were quick to show support of the changes.

“Candidates who will be prepared to take on Trump in the general should already be working to build programs that can bring in 130,000 donors by the second round of debates,” ActBlue executive director Erin Hill said in a written statement, the Washington Post reported.

So far, around 19 candidates have qualified for the first round of debates. That number drops to only about a half-dozen of candidates based on the new fundraising and polling requirements, with about a dozen of the 24 announced candidates likely facing great difficulties in reaching the thresholds.

For those candidates, the first round of debates become extremely important. Those whose stars haven’t yet shone through to break through the “top tier” level of Democratic presidential candidates will have to do so within the first set of debates. Barring some miraculous positive media exposure they receive, the debates stand to be their last chance to make an impact on voters in order to make it to the next round.



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