When the race for president began with Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, it was hailed as the most diverse Democratic presidential field in history. By the end of January, damn near every candidate of color had withdrawn from the race. And all of them could cite one culprit as the reason for their withdrawal: the stringent and unwavering debate rules of the Democratic National Committee.
“In the seven months since they were first announced, the standards—a combination of increasingly higher polling and fundraising thresholds—have upended various campaigns’ tactics and become the proximate cause of multiple withdrawals from the race,” is how Politico described it.
And then former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg entered the race.
Bloomberg is an American businessman who has more money than God and, as such, he’s been able to fund his entire campaign himself. And because Bloomberg is rich and was blessed with the complexion of lightly cooked but still raw chicken, “The Democratic National Committee announced Friday that there will be no donor threshold for its upcoming Nevada debate (Feb. 22),” opening an avenue for Bloomberg to participate.
You know who could’ve used this kind of rule-bending? Kamala Harris. Cory Booker. Julián Castro. All of these viable candidates of color running for president could have benefited from a rule change, but the DNC wasn’t playing rule-breaker for them.
All of this got filmmaker Michael Moore fucked up.
“You had to show you had a certain number of Americans that would give you a buck, that’s all the rule said, to show you have support. And that’s how they determine who would be on the debate stage. Today, they removed that rule because [of] Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire, the Republican mayor of New York City,” Moore told a crowd in Des Moines, Iowa, the Nation reports.
Moore, like many who have learned of the rule change, was upset-upset. He pointed out that the scales always seem to tip in the rich white man’s favor.
From the Nation:
He doesn’t have to show he has any support among the American people, he can just buy his way onto the debate stage, and I’m going to tell you what’s so disgusting about this.
I watched the debate in Iowa here two weeks ago—the all-white debate—and the fact [is] that the Democratic, the DNC will not allow Cory Booker on that stage, will not allow Julian Castro on that stage, but they are going to allow Mike Bloomberg on the stage? Because he has a billion fucking dollars!
Sen. Elizabeth Warren was just as annoyed that the DNC was more than willing to change the rules to make sure Bloomberg made a debate stage but were unwilling to do the same for those struggling to meet its arbitrary rules.
“The DNC didn’t change the rules to ensure good, diverse candidates could remain on the debate stage,” Warren tweeted. Both Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders have been vocal about big money’s influence on politics.
“They shouldn’t change the rules to let a billionaire on. Billionaires shouldn’t be allowed to play by different rules—on the debate stage, in our democracy, or in our government.”
The Nation notes that Castro, who is now backing Warren, was also annoyed at the DNC’s flip-flopping bullshit.
“When [New Jersey Senator] Cory Booker led an effort to change the debate thresholds, the DNC refused—saying they couldn’t benefit any candidate,” Castro said. “It seems the only candidate they’re willing to benefit is a billionaire who’s buying his way into the race. Total mess.”