The DNC, which is no stranger to controversy after the 2016 primary process might not be set for a repeat of 2016. At least not yet. But, they certainly have the appearance of attempting to place their thumb on the scale of pushing most of their candidates out of the race as early as possible. After two rounds of two nights and twenty candidates hitting the debate stage, they're ready for one-night with less than half the field they’ve had. To qualify for the next debate candidates must reach these thresholds:
- Minimum of 2% support in four different polls
- Minimum of 130,000 individual donors
The cutoff date is August 28th. As of now, seven candidates have qualified, they are, in this order:
- Joe Biden
- Elisabeth Warren
- Bernie Sanders
- Kamala Harris
- Pete Buttigieg
- Robert Frances O'Rourke
- Cory Booker
There are only three others in play with a chance to qualify at the moment. Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, and Amy Klobuchar. Castro and Yang have reached the donor threshold but not the polling requirement. Klobuchar has met the polling threshold but not the donor requirement. Night one of the debates brought in about 8 million viewers while night two brought about 10 million viewers with likely near-complete overlapping meaning that likely only around ten million total people saw any of either debate.
Democrats didn’t hold their first debate until October in 2015. Here they are in August clearing out most of the field before most voters are really engaged. It’s not underhanded but it is a way of attempting to weed out the outsiders as quickly as possible.
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