After removing a previous Democratic debate requirement that paved the way for Michael Bloomberg, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has increased the debate rules for the next event in a way that only affects Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. In response, Gabbard has taken aim at the DNC and called on former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to back her call to take to the stage, The Hill reported.
“To keep me off the stage, the DNC again arbitrarily changed the debate qualifications,” she tweeted. “Previously they changed the qualifications in the OPPOSITE direction so Bloomberg could debate. I ask that you stand w/ me against the DNC’s transparent effort to exclude me from the debates.”
In another tweet, Gabbard asked Sanders and Biden to “have the courage” to stand up for her and call out the DNC’s purported effort to keep her from the public eye.
As reported by ABC News, the upcoming Arizona debate on March 15 requires candidates to earn at least 20 percent of delegates in the campaign thus far through the deadline. Both Biden and Sanders have met the requirements, while Gabbard has not. Notably, Gabbard earned two delegates from the U.S. territory American Samoa, which reached the previous debate requirements but not the new ones.
The DNC’s decision was not surprising to former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who took to Twitter on Friday to share his thoughts.
“Someone asked me what the qualifications for the next debate would be. I responded ‘whatever Tulsi has plus one.'”
Yesterday @TulsiGabbard won one delegate. By DNC rules, that gets her into the next two debates…So the DNC changed the rules!
— John Stossel (@JohnStossel) March 4, 2020
Gabbard has not been well-received by media outlets throughout the duration of her run. As reported by The Federalist, the congresswoman was previously excluded from the February CNN town halls with no explanation. Although Gabbard was polling higher nationally than then-candidate Deval Patrick, he was granted an appearance while she was not.
In response, Gabbard released a statement on CNN’s decision.
“You can call this by many names: Media bias. Election interference. Political gamesmanship by the Democratic establishment. But regardless of motive, the end-result is that the American people lose.”
Despite her clashes with the DNC and media networks, Gabbard is the only candidate left in the primary that has been a member of the Democratic party for the duration of her political career. Interestingly, she is also the only candidate in the race who was a superdelegate in 2016, voting for Sanders over Clinton. Others — such as Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — voted for Clinton.