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2020 Democrats: Who Will Make It to the Debate Stage Next Month?


A slew of recent polls tell a dismal story for any 2020 Democratic Party hopeful whose name isn’t Joe Biden. The former vice president may not have the street cred among young socialists, but he’s got some powerful name recognition driving him to the top slot. Complete with a not-to-be-underestimated sway with black voters thanks to his longtime association with Barack Obama, Biden could be poised to make mincemeat out of the rest of the clown car-esque field.

According to Monmouth’s latest, Biden leads the crowd with 33% of voter support. He’s followed by Bernie Sanders with 15 points, Kamala Harris with 11, Elizabeth Warren with 10, Pete Buttigieg with 6, Beto O’Rourke with 4, and Amy Klobuchar with 3 percent. The rest of the field, including Cory Booker, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, and a million others are languishing at either 1 percent or less.

The same story plays out in the latest survey from The Hill, with the only difference being that Warren is beating Harris.

With only a month to go before the Democrats take the stage for the first of many, many primary debates, these poll numbers could have a significant impact on who exactly gets to compete on television. To qualify for the debates, a candidate has to either have 1 percent of support according to a DNC poll or they must have raised money from at least 65,000 individual donors. If there are more than 20 candidates who meet one threshold or the other, the DNC has said they will give priority to those who reach both.

So, given that, who’s in and who’s out?

Guaranteed to make the stage are: Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Jay Inslee, O’Rourke, Sanders, Warren, and even little-known candidates like spiritualist Marianne Williamson and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. All of these candidates have met both of the DNC’s thresholds for inclusion.

Meanwhile, those who have only met the polling threshold include Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Eric Swalwell, Tim Ryan, and John Delaney.

No candidates have only met the monetary threshold without also meeting the polling one.

But that still leaves quite a few candidates out in the dark altogether: Sen. Michael Bennet, De Blasio, Mike Gravel, Rep. Seth Moulton, and Wayne Messam.  

Things could change over the next few weeks, but that gives us a pretty good idea of which candidates we’ll see on the first debate stage…and which ones are going to have to ask some pretty tough questions about their own viability sooner than later.

Written by Andrew

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