New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio just barely made the first debate stage in the 2020 Democratic primary, squeaking in with the requisite number of individual donors, but he’s already looking forward to failure in the second round.
According to De Blasio, the presumptive failure to make the second debate stage in September isn’t his, even though he has polled at or near 0% in at least 20 separate national and state level polls, and has scraped and groveled to procure the necessary 65,000 individual donors required to make up for what he lacks in popularity. The failure, De Blasio says, is with the Democratic National Committee, whose outrageous rules prevent “diversity” and “inclusivity” on the debate stage.
In an interview with New York City’s Errol Louis, De Blasio claimed that “a lot of candidates and a lot of people are concerned” that the DNC’s rules are designed to protect the privileged, especially the rules governing the second set of debates which require that candidates fundraise from 130,000 individual donors — twice what is required to make the June debate stage.
“[130,000] is a huge number, and I appreciate the impulse, but I think we have to ask the question, is this going to limit the debate and limit the diversity of the field and limit the options for voters in a way that’s unhelpful?” De Blasio complained.
“I’m going to look at that situation for that next round in the fall, but I do hope the DNC remembers that we’re always better off being inclusive,” he added.
Currently, the Democrats have a field of nearly 30 candidates running for president in 2020, and the DNC wants to cut that field down to less than ten by September so that candidates heading into the early primaries can spend more time attacking President Donald Trump than each other. The rules for June’s debate just aren’t enough; according to The New York Times, 20 Democratic candidates have already qualified for the 10-person debate, forcing the DNC to hold the contest over two nights.
The 20 candidates who appear to have qualified, in alphabetical order, are: Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado; former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; former housing secretary Julián Castro; Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York; former Representative John Delaney of Maryland; Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Senator Kamala Harris of California; former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado; Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington; Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio; Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Representative Eric Swalwell of California; Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; the self-help author Marianne Williamson; and the former tech executive Andrew Yang.
As for diversity, well, there should be plenty in the field, even if the 130,000 number kicks out some of the smaller-bore candidates. The top of the crop includes several minority and female candidates. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) will certainly remain, as will Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and, likely, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay. It’s also likely that upstarts like businessman Andrew Yang, who is reliant on small dollar donations, may also make the cut. Ideological diversity isn’t an issue, either. The remaining candidates will run the gamut from “moderate” (like former Vice President Joe Biden) to “shades of the Soviet Union (Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders).
That means, according to Bill de Blasio, “diversity” won’t be served by … failing to invite Bill de Blasio — a rich, white, male from a major U.S. city — to join the debate. But he’s prepared to fight for the rights of rich, white men everywhere.
“We have to be careful going forward because this is the most diverse field in every sense we’ve ever had in the history of the Democratic Party. That’s a beautiful thing. Every region of the country represented, people of all backgrounds represented. It’s really healthy for the party,” he concluded in his interview.