Tomorrow will be my first Democratic Power Rankings of 2020, but before I get to them, something must be addressed — something that impacts those rankings and is getting a lot of attention from mid-tier candidates.
Two factors have combined to potentially keep the January 14 Des Moines, Iowa debate to just five candidates:
The DNC’s increasingly stringent debate qualifications, which now say debate-hopefuls need 225,000 donors and either four DNC-approved polls of five percent in early state and/or national polling or two polls of seven percent in early state polling.
The recent dearth of DNC-approved polls, particularly in the early states, of which we haven’t seen any since the last debate on December 19 and only one in the last six weeks. The last DNC-approved Iowa poll, for example, was on November 13, and the last New Hampshire poll finished three days before that.
The result: with so few polling opportunities and the polling window for debate qualifying ending this Friday, only five candidates have qualified for the Des Moines stage:
These factors have drawn ire from those on the outside looking in. Tom Steyer, Cory Booker, and especially Andrew Yang have complained about the recent lack of polling. They note that their campaigns focus a lot of energy on early states, which aren’t getting polled, and they highlight the lack of recency in polls, which they claim would be on their side with recent momentum. (Somehow, all mid-tier candidates are apparently surging at once.) The DNC has consequently felt a lot of heat from these candidates’ supporters and others, with some pushing conspiracy theories about party elites choosing winners and losers.
PPFA has some thoughts on all this, best shared in a post of their own than combined into a bloated Power Rankings tomorrow. Those thoughts are:
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