LOS ANGELES, California — The sixth Democrat debate Thursday evening at Loyola Marymount University will feature the least diverse group of candidates thus far in the contest for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
California is the most diverse state in the U.S., but six of the seven candidates onstage who have qualified are white, while one is Asian-American.
Fewer candidates than ever made the cut, thanks to the Democratic National Committee’s more stringent criteria.
Candidates were were required to earn 4% or higher in at least four “qualifying polls” — up from 3% in the last debate — and 6% or higher in two “qualifying polls” from any of the early primary states (in order: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina).
In addition, candidates had to recruit “(1) 200,00 [sic] unique donors; and (2) a minimum of 800 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states, U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia” more than six days before the debate — up from 165,000 and 600, respectively.
The only candidates to meet those criteria were: former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); left-wing donor Tom Steyer; and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Yang will be the only racial minority represented on the debate stage.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick all failed to qualify; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) announced in advance that she would campaign directly with voters rather than attending. California’s own Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) recently dropped out of the race.
Booker complained earlier this month that the debate would have “more billionaires than black people.”
The second Democrat debate, in Detroit, Michigan, in late July, had an all-white stage on the first night of the debate. However, the second night featured more diversity.
The debate will be co-hosted by PBS Newshour and Politico. It will begin at 5:00 p.m. PST.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.