Thursday, April 9, 2020

White Out: DNC Debate Rules Block Black, Hispanic Candidates

January’s Democrat presidential debate will be an almost entirely white event after the
Democratic National Committee adopted qualification rules blocking out black and Hispanic candidates.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minn. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and California businessmen Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang will appear in the televised debate, but former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker failed to qualify.

Castro is Hispanic, Gabbard is Asian and Booker is black.  Other than Yang, the remaining qualified candidates are all white.

Candidates could qualify for previous debates by either reaching a certain number of grassroots donors or meeting certain thresholds in polling.  The DNC changed that rule and candidates must now meet both to appear in debates.

Castro and Booker issued a letter to the DNC, signed by all other candidates except Gabbard, demanding a change in rules to allow their participation, citing the need for voters to hear from minority candidates.

“Adopting the aforementioned criteria will produce a debate stage that better reflects our party and our country; will recognize a broader definition of what constitutes a viable candidacy, particularly in the early primary and caucus states where strong organization can outweigh media persuasion efforts; and will reflect the practical reality that the polling threshold has proven to be an unreliable metric, with only four national debate qualifying polls released since the last debate,” the letter reads in part. “With the holiday season upon us, and a brief qualification window for the January debate, it’s vital to make modifications to qualification criteria now.”

The DNC’s milky-white field stands in stark contrast to the Republicans’ 2016 presidential campaign when the field of major debate contenders included two Hispanic senators and a black brain surgeon.

AAN Staff
AAN Staff
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