Faiz Shakir, campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), ripped the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Friday for the debate requirements for future debates, which effectively open the door for Michael Bloomberg (D) to participate.
The DNC modified the requirements for upcoming Democrat debates, increasing the polling threshold but ditching the donor requirements, giving Bloomberg the chance to qualify. Until this point, that has remained an impossibility due to the existing donor requirements and the billionaire’s decision to forgo outside donations and instead self-fund his campaign.
“Now that the grassroots support is actually captured in real voting, the criteria will no longer require a donor threshold,” DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said, according to Politico.
“The donor threshold was appropriate for the opening stages of the race, when candidates were building their organizations, and there were no metrics available outside of polling to distinguish those making progress from those who weren’t,” Watson added.
“DNC changing the rules to benefit a billionaire,” Shakir said in response to the news. “I much prefer Democrats being a grassroots party. And under Bernie Sanders, that’s the way it will be”:
DNC changing the rules to benefit a billionaire. I much prefer Democrats being a grassroots party. And under Bernie Sanders, that's the way it will be. https://t.co/D7cTi7ObVN
— Faiz (@fshakir) January 31, 2020
However, Shakir recently attacked Bloomberg, precisely for failing to participate in Democrat debates.
“When you have that much money, you have incredible power that comes with it. With that power, you’re able to shape the outcomes to tilt to your advantage,” Shakir said in remarks to Politico this month.
And that’s what he’s trying to do with this election, is say: “I’m going to swoop in late. I’m not going to do grassroots campaigning. I’m not going to come to these debates. I’m not going to do town halls. I’m not going to answer questions. What I am going to do is try to buy this damn thing.”
Indeed, Bloomberg made a late entry into the race and has spent millions on political advertising. Despite his decision to focus primarily on Super Tuesday states, he is rising in the polls.
A Morning Consult poll released this week showed Bloomberg garnering double-digit support, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday showed the billionaire leaping to third place with 12 percent support — two percent more than Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
In order to participate in the February 19 debate in Las Vegas, presidential hopefuls must garner at least ten percent support in four DNC-approved polls or 12 percent in two polls from Nevada or South Carolina between the period of January 15 and February 18.
“Any candidate who earns at least one delegate to the national convention in either the Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary will also qualify for the Nevada debate,” Politico reports.
Sanders, who has not welcomed the former mayor’s late entry into the race, said in a November statement that he is “disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any other billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy our elections.”
“If you can’t build grassroots support for your candidacy, you have no business running for president,” he continued. “The American people are sick and tired of the power of billionaires, and I suspect they won’t react well to someone trying to buy an election.”