Manchester, NH – It was a three-hour slog, which saw Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) putting up another solid debate performance which should allow her to tread water for a bit longer. This is how she’s been able to hit above her weight, but things could be getting shaken up once again now that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg could be on the Feb. 19 debate stage in Nevada. Bloomberg has no donors. He has really nothing, but a lot of money and a bunch of ads. That’s it. And now he could be given a spot to take jabs at the frontrunners for the 2020 Democratic nomination (via NPR):
The Democratic National Committee announced new rules for getting on stage for the party's Feb. 19 debate in Nevada — and they have the potential to shake up who is on the stage.
The new qualification standards scrap the grassroots funding support threshold that candidates have had to meet for prior debates. That means former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who is self-funding his campaign and is not soliciting donations, could make his first appearance on stage.
The DNC said Friday that candidates have three paths to the Nevada debate stage. They could reach 10% support in a combination of four national polls or state polls from Nevada or South Carolina; 12% support in two polls from Nevada or South Carolina or both; or get a convention delegate in Iowa and New Hampshire, which hold their respective caucus and primary earlier in February.
All of the party's previous debates had included a fundraising element, and candidates had been required to meet both a polling threshold and demonstrate grassroots fundraising support since September.
Sanders held his own. He didn’t do bad, but it was no performance that could clear the field. With the debate over, Jeff Weaver, a top adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign entered the spin room, calm, collected, and ready to answer questions from the slightly smaller horde of reporters. One of the questions was about Bloomberg being on the debate stage. Weaver was blunt and straightforward: the Sanders camp has zero problems with Bloomberg being on the debate stage, but he has to play by the rules—and this DNC switch isn’t sitting well at all with the Bernie folks [emphasis mine]:
Look, Mike Bloomberg on the stage is fine. The problem is that Mike Bloomberg got the rules changed for him because he couldn’t meet the qualifications to get onto the debate stage. We’ve had from the beginning a two-pronged test to get on the debate stage: grassroots donations and poll qualifications. And all along candidates who could only meet one and not the other were kept off the stage, primarily candidates of color, by the way, suddenly we get to the point where Mike Bloomberg wants to get on the stage. He can’t meet one of the two criteria and suddenly we change the criteria so he can get on the stage. Tom Steyer, who is largely self-funding, spent a lot of money getting the grassroots contributions to qualify for the debate stage. And that’s what should be done. Michael Bloomberg wants special treatment and that’s the problem with people like Michael Bloomberg: they think all of us work for them and we don’t. This is democracy and Mike Bloomberg can play by the rules like everyone else.
Well, this is certainly nicer than how Michael Moore voiced his anger in a rally prior to the Iowa Caucus; he blew a gasket. [Warning: some strong language]: