The Democratic National Committee (DNC) recently changed its debate requirements, which controversially opened the door for Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg to qualify for the February debates. The move sparked criticism from people that said Bloomberg was buying his way onto the debate stage, and a recent revelation supports this claim.
As pointed out by Ryan Grim, Washington, D.C. bureau chief of The Intercept, Bloomberg donated $325,000 to the DNC before he jumped into the presidential primary, shedding doubt on the nature of the relationship between the pair.
“Totally normal system,” Grim tweeted.
Aside from alleged financial influence, Politico reported allies of Elizabeth Warren reportedly approached the DNC about having Bloomberg appear in the debate. The move is allegedly a move intended to open Bloomberg up to criticism from the candidates to the left of him, as some people believe his absence on the debate stage thus far has shielded him from criticism.
Despite the alleged activities of Warren’s allies, the Massachusetts Sen. nevertheless took to Twitter to protest the DNC’s decision, suggesting that billionaires like Bloomberg should not be “allowed to play by different rules.”
Outside of Warren, the DNC’s decision has drawn criticism from other Democratic presidential candidates in the race.
“Let’s make one thing clear: @TheDemocrats decision to change the rules now to accommodate Mike Bloomberg and not changing them in the past to ensure a more diverse debate stage is just plain wrong,” businessman Tom Steyer tweeted.
Fellow businessman Andrew Yang had similar criticism.
“The DNC changing its debate criteria to ignore grassroots donations seems tailor-made to get Mike Bloomberg on the debate stage in February. Having Americans willing to invest in your campaign is a key sign of a successful campaign. The people will win out in the end.”
According to Politico reporter Holly Otterbein, Bernie Sanders’ senior adviser Jeff Weaver called the decision “wrong” and accused Bloomberg of attempting to buy his way into the Democratic nomination.”
“That’s the definition of a rigged system,” Weaver reportedly said.
The decision comes after the DNC chair Tom Perez made his initial appointments to the rules committee of this year’s Democrat Party nominating convention. The appointments — former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank and Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chairman John Podesta — sparked a backlash from supporters of Sanders, who viewed both as hostile to the Vermont Sen.
Sanders’ national co-chair Nina Turner took aim at the DNC and suggested that if they are trying to skew the election against Sanders as it allegedly did in 2016, they won’t get away with it again.