Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) expressed frustration on Friday that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) removed the donor requirements for upcoming debates — a move that opens the door for Michael Bloomberg (D) to participate.
The DNC is adjusting the requirements to qualify for upcoming debates, raising the polling threshold but ditching the donor requirements altogether. The move effectively opens the door for Bloomberg, who has been rising in the polls but has been unable to participate in Democrat debates due to the donor requirements and his decision to self-fund his campaign.
Warren, who has blasted the billionaire on the campaign trail, was incensed.
“The DNC didn’t change the rules to ensure good, diverse candidates could remain on the debate stage. They shouldn’t change the rules to let a billionaire on,” she said on Friday.
“Billionaires shouldn’t be allowed to play by different rules—on the debate stage, in our democracy, or in our government,” she added:
The DNC didn’t change the rules to ensure good, diverse candidates could remain on the debate stage. They shouldn’t change the rules to let a billionaire on. Billionaires shouldn't be allowed to play by different rules—on the debate stage, in our democracy, or in our government.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 31, 2020
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign also voiced frustration with the new rules.
“DNC changing the rules to benefit a billionaire,” Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir, who once criticized Bloomberg for not participating in the debates, said. “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
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) also responded to the DNC’s sudden rule change:
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) January 31, 2020
The DNC has defended its decision to modify the rules, contending that the criteria are no longer needed due to the capture of grassroots support in “real voting.”
DNC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson told 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.”
Bloomberg has reportedly spent more than $200 million in the last quarter on his presidential bid:
— Christopher Bedford (@CBedfordDC) January 31, 2020
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week showed Bloomberg surpassing Warren with 12 percent support.