The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Friday announced its updated debate guidelines, which essentially eliminate the chance of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) participating in the upcoming CNN/Univision debate.
In order to participate in the March 15 debate, a candidate must have earned at least 20 percent of the pledged delegates allotted up to that point. That effectively eliminates the chance of Gabbard, who remains in the race, participating, as she currently stands with two delegates.
The previous debate requirement allowed a candidate to participate if he or she had a single pledged delegate. If the DNC stuck to the previous rules, Gabbard, who did not qualify for any of the debates ahead of the caucuses in Iowa and Nevada or the primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, would have been able to participate.
Joe Biden (D), as of Friday, held the lion’s share of delegates — 664. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) easily surpasses the 20 percent threshold as well, with 573 delegates. According to Politico, “Biden had earned 48 percent of delegates awarded thus far, while Sanders had 41 percent. (Some delegates have not yet been awarded from states that held primaries this week on Super Tuesday.)
DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa signaled this week that a change in requirements was imminent.
“We have two more debates– of course the threshold will go up,” Hinojosa said on Tuesday.
“By the time we have the March debate, almost 2,000 delegates will be allocated. The threshold will reflect where we are in the race, as it always has,” she added:
We have two more debates– of course the threshold will go up. By the time we have the March debate, almost 2,000 delegates will be allocated. The threshold will reflect where we are in the race, as it always has.
— Xochitl Hinojosa (@XochitlHinojosa) March 4, 2020
Gabbard has repeatedly reminded members of the media that, despite a lack of coverage of her campaign, she remains in the race. On Tuesday, she highlighted a Fox News segement featuring Karl Rove, who suggested that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has since dropped out of the race, was the only woman left in the Democrat primary.
“.@DanaPerino I’m not quite sure why you’re telling FOX viewers that Elizabeth Warren is the last female candidate in the Dem primary,” Gabbard said. “Is it because you believe a fake indigenous woman of color is ‘real’ and the real indigenous woman of color in this race is fake?”:
.@DanaPerino I'm not quite sure why you're telling FOX viewers that Elizabeth Warren is the last female candidate in the Dem primary. Is it because you believe a fake indigenous woman of color is "real" and the real indigenous woman of color in this race is fake? pic.twitter.com/VKCxy2JzFe
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 3, 2020
Despite a different flavor in terms of their left-wing views, Gabbard has common ground with Sanders, whose supporters have also cried foul over what they say is a primary rigged against their candidate at the hands of both establishment Democrats and media.