Next Democratic Debate, Who Might Be Missing Out?

Next Democratic Debate, Who Might Be Missing Out?

( – The number of candidates eligible to compete in the Democratic debates has been shrinking lately, and that trend is expected to continue for next week’s debate.

Five Candidates

So far, only five candidates have earned a position in the January 14 debate, which takes place in Iowa. Those are Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg.

Cory Booker, Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer only have one more day to qualify, and it doesn’t look like any of them will be able to make the cut.


In order to take part in the debate, the DNC set up thresholds that have gotten a lot of criticism. For the next debate, they determined that candidates need to hit 7% in two approved polls in early states or 5% in four DNC-approved polls between November 14 and January 10. The candidates must also have 225,000 unique donors.

Yang has one of the four polls needed to qualify while Steyer has two and Booker has none. Each of the candidates has met the donor minimum.

DNC spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, said this when asked about the strictness of the DNC thresholds for the debates:

“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.”

State Polls

Part of the complaint from both Yang and Booker is that due to the holidays, fewer polls were being conducted in early voting states. Yang sent a letter to the DNC Chair asking that they consider sponsoring polls in early states that weren’t currently holding any. The DNC did not respond positively.

DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa said:

“The DNC will not sponsor our own debate-qualifying polls of presidential candidates during a primary. The New York Times and the expansive list of 16 qualifying poll sponsors should conduct more independent polling.”

With only one day left to qualify, it looks like Yang, Booker and Steyer are out of luck.

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