All Got a Fair Shot to September’s Debate: Only 10 Made Enough of It

August 30, 2019

Complaints About the Process from Candidates Who Didn’t Qualify Are Predictable – and Hypocritical

Each Who Did Not Make the Cut Was Happy to Stand on Stage When Others Were Excluded Before Them

By Al Giordano

(Note: This is an excerpt from Issue #91 of the Al Giordano’s América newsletter, which subscribers received yesterday via email and can also read and comment on here once logged in. Not yet a subscriber? Do so via this link and then register your account to gain access to all the insider content here.)

To nobody’s surprise, US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is complaining that she didn’t make the cut for the September 12th Democratic presidential debate. Her supporters are even more toxic about it, many suggesting that the rules were made specifically to harm her chances. And, as always, others with their own axes to grind seek to amplify the complaint.

Lefty-activist-turned-Trump apologist Michael Tracey wrote a column last week on the conservative RealClearPolitics website, “Gabbard Victimized by DNC’s Dubious Debate Criteria.” Such spurious claims have been echoed by the Bernie-or-Bust (“and-by-bust-we-mean-Trump”) crowd on social media, many of whom claim that the Democratic National Committee targeted Gabbard for exclusion only after she attacked Kamala Harris at the July debate.

Cue narrator: “The debate rules were finalized months before that.”

The debate qualification rules established earlier this year were always going to cause roster cuts going into September – they were designed to do so – and every campaign agreed to participate governed by them.

The DNC made it possible for a whopping twenty-one candidates to grace a national stage during the June and July debates: 19 of them twice! Most of those that received that generous, golden opportunity never had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the nomination. But they each got one or two bites at the national audition mic, and benefited from record ratings in the process.

One of them, New York US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, showed the dignity and grace to express gratitude for that opportunity as she exited the race yesterday. She steps off one stage with her head held high and her honor intact. And that will open more paths for her going forward.

Also cut from the September debate stage were a US Senator (Michael Bennett of Colorado), a Governor (Steve Bullock of Montana), a billionaire-philanthropist-activist (Tom Steyer), a best-selling author (Marianne Williamson), the mayor of the capital city of the world (Bill de Blasio) and a US House peer of Gabbard (Tim Ryan of Ohio). The suggestion that the rules were “rigged” months ago specifically to exclude a marginal and ideological-fringe candidate like Gabbard are as delusional as they are narcissistic. Pro tip: People who think that events much larger than them are about them are the Democratic party’s own aspiring Trumps. Candidates like that needed to be weeded from this debate garden already so that we can get on with the business of comparing and contrasting those who really can win.

At least two candidates who few expected to outlast the Senator from New York did make the most of their debate and other opportunities, both of them Americans of color: Former Obama administration cabinet member Julian Castro and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. That they made the cut while others holding current major office did not disproves any claim that the process is designed to benefit establishment insiders…

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