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The 2020 Democratic field is the most diverse and qualified in history. It is also, by far, the largest in history. Unfortunately, these two things are mutually exclusive. Since the field is so large, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for many otherwise qualified candidates to break through ahead of the pack.
Since the Democratic National Committee (DNC) found out the hard way in 2016 that the mere appearance of picking sides can have unintended consequences that dominate the discussion within a party at a time it needs to be coalescing behind a nominee they came up with a strict set of rules governing the debates this election cycle. Every candidate was informed of and agreed to the new debate qualifications based off polling *and* the number of individual contributors to a campaign. Those standards started off reasonably low, but have been steadily raised as the debate season goes on in an attempt to have more substantive debates in the lead-up to the first caucus and primaries.
While all candidates initially agreed to these standards, there is now some push-back by not just the candidates who no longer qualify for the debates, but by the top-tier candidates, as well. Nine candidates, including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, wrote to the DNC asking them to reconsider the debate qualification rules arguing that the "unintended result does not live up to the values of our Democratic Party and it does not serve the best interest of Democratic voters, who deserve to hear from and be able to choose among the best our party has to offer." Not surprisingly, the DNC denied the request.
I honestly feel bad for the DNC and the number of otherwise wholly qualified candidates who just happened to run for President in a year two dozen other people decided to. In order to avoid being accused of tipping the scales, the DNC had to come up with a strict set of standards and stick to them. Unfortunately for a number of candidates, the DNC sticking to their strict set of standards is basically the death knell for their campaign.
So while I feel for many of the candidates who didn't qualify for the December debate, I have to admit that I agree with the DNC here. The only way we will have a genuine, substantive debate on the issues is by having more genuine, substantive debates. That requires giving fewer candidates more time to speak. We simply can't have that with a bakers dozen of candidates sharing the same stage.
What do you think? Do you agree that the DNC is making the right decision with gradually setting stricter and stricter debate qualifications or are they making a mistake by winnowing the field before a single vote is cast?