We are winding up to yet another Democratic debate, but like the TV show Survivor, not everyone gets to come back to the next episode. As of January 8, there are only five candidates who pass the bar to join fellow presidential hopefuls on stage on January 14. Sponsored by CNN and the Des Moines Register to take place in Iowa, the lucky few so far include Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. The rest of the candidates will have to take their seat in the audience if they don’t qualify by Friday, January 10.
The critical narrowing of the competition has caused great distress for the Democratic National Committee, which is being criticized for making the qualifications difficult enough to exclude about half of the candidates. Some say it is not fair to disqualify candidates on the basis of poll results, since the number of polls conducted during the holidays was lower than usual.
The DNC does not want to relent to the critics, saying that their requirements are “inclusive” and justified.
Each candidate must reach at least 5 percent in four DNC-approved polls, or 7 percent in two approved polls in states with early primaries, between November 14 and January 10. Plus, they must have 225,000 unique donors to their campaign, before 11:59pm on Friday, January 10.
These thresholds will almost certainly leave om Steyer, Andrew Yang and Cory Booker out of the debate.
Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the DNC said that:
“The DNC has been more than inclusive throughout this entire process with an expansive list of qualifying polls, including 19 qualifying polls thus far for the January debate, 9 [of] which are state polls. In addition, we have not only expanded the list [of] poll sponsors this cycle to include online polls, but we have expanded the qualifying period for the January debate to account for the holidays.”