30With the deadline to qualify for next month’s third round of Democratic presidential debates closing in, the Democratic National Committee is facing an angry chorus of criticism from the candidates not likely to make the cut.
At issue is the DNC’s criteria for the contenders to take part in the prime-time showdown, including contributions from 130,000 individual donors and reaching at least 2 percent in four qualifying polls.
“The DNC’s process is stifling debate at a time when we need it most,” charged Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado – a lower-tier White House contender who is all but certain not to qualify for the third round.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who also needs a miracle to qualify by the end-of-Wednesday deadline, argued that “these DNC debate rules have turned this primary into the ‘The Hunger Games’ — each step of this seems to be all about getting donors.”
While the criticism is not new – the DNC faced similar jabs earlier this year when many of the longer-shots for the nomination struggled to make the stage at the first and second round of debates – this time around the national party committee is specifically being attacked over the dearth of qualifying polls. Critics say this is unfairly preventing candidates close to qualifying from actually making the stage.
The campaign of billionaire environmental and progressive activist Tom Steyer – who’s just one poll short of making the stage – charged that its candidate is “being denied” the ability to qualify “by the lack of recent qualifying polls.”
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