Who's made the cut for the July and September debates thus far:
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/ ... er-1398973
The first Democratic presidential debates illustrated just how important the national platform can be to presidential campaigns, shaking up the primary polls and reshuffling opinions of front-runners and lesser-known candidates alike. And Democrats are already scrambling to make sure they’re involved in the next rounds of televised debates later this summer and fall.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) tried to make a splash in June, urging former Vice President Joe Biden to “pass the torch” to younger Democrats — but the attack had little impact, and Swalwell is now in danger of missing the next round of debates in July and being replaced by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who missed out on the June debates.
Meanwhile, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro has been polling near the back of the primary pack, but his splash in last week’s debate has gone a long way toward ensuring he can make the September debate, when the qualification thresholds rise significantly, posing an existential threat to many campaigns. Castro told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday that he raised $1 million in the days following the debate, and that his campaign had around 116,000 donors — just shy of September’s 130,000-donor threshold with months still to go.
Currently, 21 candidates have passed a modest qualification threshold for the July debates, either hitting 1 percent in three qualifying polls or getting 65,000 donors. That’s one more candidate than the Democratic National Committee has said it will allow on stage across the two nights, meaning someone has to get cut.
The DNC’s tiebreakers prioritize candidates who hit both the polling and financial thresholds, followed by candidates who only have the polling benchmark, sorted by poll average, and then candidates who have hit only the donor mark
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Fourteen candidates have crossed both of the thresholds, according to a POLITICO analysis, virtually guaranteeing their spot on stage on either July 30 or July 31: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.
That leaves seven candidates who have only crossed the polling threshold without a secure grasp on a debate-stage lectern. Some are marginally better off than others: John Delaney, John Hickenlooper and Tim Ryan all have polling averages slightly above 1 percentage point, meaning they rank ahead of the other candidates.
But four Democrats sit at a polling average of just 1 percent, with only three slots to give to them: Michael Bennet, Bullock, Bill de Blasio and Swalwell.
Because they’re all tied in a polling average, the next tiebreaker is the number of qualified polls they’ve scored. Swalwell has only reached the 1 percent mark in three qualifying polls. Bullock, meanwhile, is at five polls, Bennet is at six polls and de Blasio has eight.
Seth Moulton, Wayne Messam, Mike Gravel and Joe Sestak have not crossed either threshold, and none appear poised to make the stage. But the roster for those debates is not yet locked in; surveys from qualifying pollsters that are released by July 16 will count.
It is also not clear how the debate stages will be set, once the 20 candidates who will be on stage are confirmed. NBC News, the DNC’s media partner for the first debate, randomly and evenly divided a group of high-polling candidates and a group of low-polling candidates between the two nights of their debates. CNN, the host of the July debates, did not respond to a request from POLITICO on how the stages will be set. The DNC declined to answer questions on the stages.
Those July debates might be the last, best chance for some lesser-known candidates to jump-start their campaigns and make the next round in September.
Qualification for a pair of fall debates in September and October features stepped-up requirements. Instead of hitting a donor threshold or a polling threshold, candidates will have to hit both — and both will be higher: 2 percent in four qualifying polls and 130,000 unique donors.
That is expected to sharply winnow the field, with some candidates stuck at 1 percent in polls and others currently struggling to amass even half of the 130,000-donor mark. But several candidates have locked up spots already by hitting both thresholds, according to POLITICO’s analysis: Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, Sanders and Warren.
The analysis includes an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Tuesday. Previously released ABC/Post polls were disallowed by the DNC from counting, because they asked an open-ended question on who respondents supported instead of reading off a list of candidates. But the new poll released Tuesday had both an open-ended question and one including a list of candidates, and POLITICO obtained a memo the DNC sent to campaigns confirming the ABC/Post poll question listing the candidates would count.
Other candidates, for now, are on the bubble, with no guarantees of making the stage. Both O’Rourke and Yang have passed the new donor threshold, but neither has hit four qualifying polls so far. O’Rourke currently is at two polls, while Yang has not yet picked up his first one.
Three other candidates — Castro, Booker and Klobuchar — have not publicly said they’ve hit the donor mark yet, but they indicated they are close to it, and they each have at least one poll. Booker and Klobuchar each have three polls, while Castro has one.
Gabbard is nearing 93,000 donors, but hasn’t hit 2 percent in any qualifying polls.
And as for everyone else? The remainder of the Democratic field faces a very steep climb to get to the fall debates — and many of them are counting on something big to change soon if they are going to make that stage.
September in particular has tighter entry requirements, so it should serve to narrow the field substantially, if somewhat artificially (I expect Iowa and New Hampshire to effectively cut it down to three or four, most likely). Biden, Warren, Harris, Sanders, and Buttigieg remain the prime contenders, even if what order they rank in is somewhat in flux.
Williamson's and Gabbard's continued viability (at least to remain in the race) disturbs me, as it suggests that the same disease that helped give us Trump could take root in the Democratic Party-backing anyone, regardless of qualifications or views, as long as they're "anti-establishment".