Now that the Democrats have decided to raise the bar a little, we’re seeing the unfair playing card being used. I maybe alone on this one, but they need to start polling better and complain less. The most prominent of the whiners has been Tulsi Gabbard. She (and her supporters in the media) claims the process for third (and fourth) debates have not been transparent and there’s rigging going on here. But here’s the reality:
Pretty much every Presidential debate I have seen has featured up to 10 candidates on stage, and that’s it. Tom Perez, the head of the DNC, is doing something pretty unprecedented and generous – allowing debates to be split into two nights. Most debates have seen over the years, simply took the last five major polls and averaged them together.
The rules have been pretty transparent. For the third debate, you have to get at least 130k individual donors (1 dollar donations count btw) AND get at least 2% in four major polls between June 28th and August 28th. The DNC listed 16 news sources to be considered “major”. I get the concept that one man’s major poll is another man’s minor poll, but almost every single source they use has an A range rating via FiveThirtyEight.
In the major national polls – Fox News, Quinnipiac, Monmouth, CNN, and USA Today – for August, we had 11 candidates with at least a 1% on average.
Don’t get me wrong folks, I do like Tulsi Gabbard. As a right-of-center Republican and a swing voter, she is definitely a Democrat I could support. But objectively speaking, Gabbard needs to poll better in order to be debate stage worthy. She’s only registered at 2% in two qualifying polls. RealClearpolitics has her at 1.4% nationally, 0.5% in Iowa, 3% in New Hampshire, 1% in Nevada, and 0.7% in South Carolina.
I do have confidence that she and Steyer will make the October debate, but for now, I have no problem with her being left out. This may sound harsh, but we can’t all be on the debate stage. The DNC set a standard and those who cannot live up to that standard shouldn’t be asking to change the rules.