The debate field might be getting a little less crowded next month as the DNC announced new requirements for getting on the stage.
CBS News reports that for candidates to appear at the January 14 debate they must reach 5% in at least four national polls or 7% in two polls in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Additionally, the campaigns must also have at least 225,000 unique donors. Last Thursday’s debate, the final of 2019, was the first this cycle to feature fewer than 10 candidates.
According to ABC News, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg are the five candidates who have already met the new requirement. This leaves Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro left.
Personally, I don’t see what is gained with these new requirements. It feels like the DNC is artificially thinning the heard and unfortunately, this has led to the debate field getting smaller and, well, whiter. The debates are a good platform to allow each politician to state their case to the American public. Tightening the requirements is taking away choice from the general population and instead weighing it on a couple of states. The whole reason we have 45 is because there was non-stop media coverage of everything he did. Some of the lower tracking candidates could have a message that resonates with a large swath of the country they just haven’t been given the best platform.
It feels less like the people are given the option to make an informed choice and more like the choice is being made for us by the overwhelmingly white state of Iowa. While it’s unfortunate the media plays such a huge role in what we determine is electable, it’s a fact that can’t be ignored. If 2016 should have taught us anything, it’s that anyone can become President if they’re on TV long enough.