The national organization responsible for putting together something approaching a coherent selection process for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee is realizing that sometimes an overabundance of choice is uh... inconvenient as shit.
So on Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee announced a new set of qualifications that the massive clown car of candidates running for president must meet in order to participate in the party’s third televised debate, currently set for September 12 (with the possibility of extending to a second night, September 13, if enough candidates qualify) on ABC News and Univision.
According to Politico, the new rules will also extend to the fourth planned debate, set for October. Now candidates will need to hit 2 percent in four major polls conducted between June 28 and August 28 and receive at least 130,000 individual donors, with at least 400 in 20 states. That polling window falls after the first debate, meaning candidates’ performances that night could go a long way toward qualifying for future debates.
The barrier to entry for the first debate, announced months earlier, was low enough that well over a dozen candidates have already qualified, with the threshold at 1 percent in polling and 65,000 donors. Now, with double the polling requirement, Politico’s analysis found eight candidates would currently qualify under that metric: Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar, former Vice President Joe Biden, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke.
NBC reported that the September debates will still have 20 open spots—in itself a ludicrous number of candidates—but that the DNC won’t be letting in the riffraff if they don’t meet the polling and donor requirements. In other words, they’re clearly hoping to, you know, not have to put 20 people on stage. If fewer than 10 meet that mark, they may even get to have a single night debate instead of two! One can dream.