Televised debates are one of the great mysteries of electoral politics. One major gaffe can sink a candidate, they say. But then they — by they Cockburn means the experts — also say that the TV showdowns don’t really matter.
What is certain is that the TV debates are a great source of intrigue. And muddle. With so many candidates, how will they all fit on the stage? How many actually qualified? Cockburn has the answers:
In order to meet the Democratic National Committee’s requirements for 2020 US presidential election debates, candidates must receive one percent in the polls or contributions from at least 65,000 unique donors across the United States.
There are only 20 spots in total, however, with 10 on each stage, and the candidates who end up filling those spots may need to meet both requirements to even be considered for a place.
The Hill recently published a list of qualifying candidates, with there nearly being more qualified candidates than places on the stage.
Those currently qualified for, but not guaranteed, a podium on the debate stage include poll frontrunner and former vice president Joe Biden, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders (currently number two in the polls), South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, California senator Kamala Harris, New Jersey senator Corey Booker, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, businessman Andrew Yang, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Washington governor Jay Inslee, and New York Times bestselling author Marianne Williamson.
Candidates who are only qualified via the polling requirement, and not the 65,000 unique donors, include New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, Montana governor Steve Bullock, Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, California congressman Eric Swalwell, and former Maryland congressman John Delaney.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, Colorado senator Michael Bennet, Massachusetts congressman Seth Moulton, Miramar mayor Wayne Messam,and former Alaska senator Mike Gravel have, as of writing, not reached either requirements.
Polls currently place Biden as the frontrunner of the 2020 Democratic Party candidates, followed by Sanders, Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, and O’Rourke.